Cayman’s Friendly Skies About to Open Up
Friday, September 3, 2021
The Cayman Islands are just 5-days away from Phase 3 of reopening which will see the first wave of vaccinated tourists touchdown at Owen Roberts International (GCM) airport in over a year.
Tourists waiting on the sidelines for October’s Phase 4, which removes the 5-day quarantine requirement, got a jolt of good news yesterday from Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan.
Speaking on a local radio talk show, Bryan confirmed US airlines including American, United, Southwest, and Delta have all applied for authorization to resume flights to and from Cayman beginning in October.
Those airlines alone serve as hubs for the following gateway cities: Boston, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, and Denver.
Cayman Airways plans to expand routes into new gateway cities in September.
Bryan noted that WestJet, which provided service out of Canada before the pandemic, had not yet applied for authorization. Talks are ongoing with both WestJet and Air Canada to resume flights at pre-pandemic levels for Canadian tourists.
British Airways will increase its weekly service to the Cayman Islands as well. The airliner is resuming four flights a week from London with a brief layover in Nassau, Bahamas.
Premier is Resolute: Cayman is Reopening October 14
Thursday, August 26, 2021
In an impassioned 2-hour press conference yesterday, Premier Wayne Panton confirmed the Cayman Islands will reopen to vaccinated tourists without quarantine starting on October 14th. He did not mince words, we are reopening that day.
The primary message to the Cayman people was that after October 14th, the risk to unvaccinated residents would rise. He and his cabinet strongly encouraged any unvaccinated residents to get vaccinated straightaway.
He also announced his support for all private businesses that may mandate vaccination, or viral testing, after the FDA gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine.
Further, the Premier softened on the required 80% vaccination level in order to re-open, moving that target date to October 14th. Cayman’s current fully-vaccinated rate is almost 75%. In a separate interview with Travel Weekly this week, the Minister of Tourism used a target vaccination rate of 75-80%. We are there.
October 14 is the reopening “go live” date. It will happen.
The Minister of Tourism (MOT) announced that 5 major international airlines had confirmed they were ready to resume flights to and from Grand Cayman’s Owen Roberts International (GCM) airport.
The Minister said he is meeting next week with US airlines and the Cayman Airport Authority to set schedules and authorize flights within weeks.
Commercial flights will be permitted to resume beginning September 9th. However, most US carriers will not restart flights until October 14th when Phase 4 removes quarantine for all vaccinated adults.
A few airlines will not resume flights until November 18th when Phase 5 begins allowing unvaccinated children to travel with no quarantine.
With airlines restarting flights and vaccinated adults and families welcomed with relaxed travel restrictions, tourism should rebound nicely heading into winter and Spring Break 2022.
Safest Destination in the Caribbean
The Cayman Islands remain COVID-free. Strict mitigation efforts and a lockdown of the border, for well over a year, have proven successful in eradicating COVID from the local community.
Cayman’s fully-vaccinated rate leads all Caribbean nations. This additional layer of protection will ensure a safe reopening for both locals and vaccinated tourists alike.
UPDATE – US Flights to Cayman
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Following the announcement of the Cayman Islands’ reopening plan, attention has shifted to airlift. After all, the success of our reopening plan depends on the resumption of commercial flights.
The Cayman Minister of Tourism, Kenneth Bryan, announced that five (5) major international airlines had confirmed the resumption of flights to and from Cayman, most focusing on post-October 14 schedules. Delta Airlines had recently canceled flights until December 21. Tourism Minister is working with Delta (among others) next week to resume earlier service.
Currently, only Cayman Airways and British Airways are operating a regular schedule of flights to and from Grand Cayman (GCM). British Airways will stop in Nassau, Bahamas, to collect Air Canada travelers beginning in October.
American Airlines begins October 4th with flights through Miami. In early November, American brings on direct flights from Charlotte, Dallas, and Philadelphia. Earlier dates may be possible, given demand.
Jet Blue resumes service in early November direct from Boston and New York
United Airlines direct flights from Chicago, Houston, Newark, and Washington DC-Dulles (IAD) begin in early November as well.
The Minister is meeting next week with US Airlines and the Cayman Airport Authority to confirm additional schedules and get flights online for guest confirmation.
“I will provide further updates when the schedule has been finalized,” Bryan said. “The resumption of commercial flights is exciting news, and signals the restart of our tourism, and the return to normalcy within our industry.”
Cayman Islands Reopening Plan Announced
Thursday, July 8, 2021
It has been 475 days since the Cayman Islands closed its borders to stay over tourism. They emerge from the COVID pandemic victorious with no fatalities, a high vaccination rate of 68%, and recently marked a full year with no community transmission.
Today, the Cayman Islands announced a 5-phase border reopening strategy that will reintroduce tourism beginning on Thursday, September 9, 2021.
Each phase will ease travel restrictions for vaccinated travelers (at first). The immediate goal is to be open to vaccinated arrivals, without quarantine by mid-November, in time for the holidays.
The ultimate goal is to be fully open, regardless of vaccination status, by late January 2022.
Phase 2 – Effective August 9, 2021
- ∗ Entry into the Cayman Islands remains limited to local residents and property owners with a mandatory 5-day (vaccinated) or 14-day (unvaccinated) quarantine.
- ∗ GPS wristband monitoring will no longer be required for vaccinated travelers during 5-day self-quarantine.
- ∗ No on-arrival PCR test required for vaccinated travelers.
- ∗ 5-Day self-quarantine for vaccinated travelers. Exit PCR test required.
- ∗ Unvaccinated travelers must still comply with 14-day quarantine, multiple PCR tests, and GPS wristband monitoring.
Phase 3 – Effective September 9, 2021
- ∗ Borders will reopen to vaccinated tourists with a 5-day, self-quarantine upon arrival. Exit PCR test required.
- ∗ Tourists will be permitted to quarantine at all hotels, condos, or villas with periodic spot visits to enforce quarantine.
- ∗ Commercial flights will be coordinated by the Cayman Airport Authority.
- ∗ Cruise ship tourism will remain closed.
Phase 4 – Effective October 14, 2021
- ∗ The 5-day self-quarantine requirement is lifted for all vaccinated arrivals.
- ∗ Vaccinated tourists must pre-register their travel intent and vaccination status with Travel Cayman, Cayman’s online travel approval portal.
- ∗ All unvaccinated travelers must receive entry permission via Travel Cayman and comply with all current 14-day quarantine and entry protocols.
Phase 5 – Effective November 18, 2021
- ∗ Unvaccinated children, aged 11 or younger, will be allowed to travel and stay with vaccinated family without quarantine.
Full Reopen – Effective TBD
- ∗ The government will reassess the COVID-19 pandemic by January 27, 2022, to determine the feasibility of further relaxation of travel and entry restrictions.
- ∗ If the green light is given, quarantine restrictions may be eliminated for all arrivals, regardless of vaccination status.
- ∗ A reintroduction of limited cruise ship tourism may also be possible.
While there’s a lot of information to digest, we will provide all the pertinent details on our Island Reopening page.
If you have a reservation for arrival before February 2022 and all in your party will not be vaccinated, please contact our reservations team. We can either cancel and refund your reservation (per pandemic exception to cancellation policy), or defer your dates to 2022 when unvaccinated tourists may be allowed to visit.
All other guests are welcome to contact our reservations team via email or chat with any questions about reopening. Please visit our reopening page for more details.
June Reopening Update
Friday, June 18, 2021
At a June 16 press conference, Premier Wayne Panton announced changes to arrival protocols for incoming vaccinated travelers and hinted at a possible reopening date for tourism.
Effective June 23, 2021, the mandatory quarantine period for incoming vaccinated travelers will be reduced from 10 days to 5 days. Unvaccinated travelers must still quarantine for 14 days. On-arrival PCR testing has also been waived. However, all travelers must still provide a negative PCR test result taken 72 hours or less prior to travel, and undergo PCR testing before exiting quarantine.
When pressed, Premier Panton declined to give a specific reopening date but added his government is targeting “mid-September” for a reopening of the border for stay-over tourism. Details of a border-reopening framework will be released in the next few weeks.
Reopening Outlook for May
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
The Cayman Islands swore in a new Government & Cabinet in mid-April, made up of coalition Independents. Wayne Panton, the new Premier, is pro-business and has set a safe reopening of Grand Cayman as one of his top priorities. With the island being closed for over 14 months, there is no COVID in the general public and the new Government will make sure to protect the local population with a safe reopening.
The country of 65,000 people will reopen once they reach 70% of the total population vaccinated. Currently, 53% of the population has received full vaccination and 60% have received at least one dose. We anticipate reaching the 70% threshold between mid-June and early July.
Likely through the balance of 2021, vaccinated arrivals (proof required) will be subject to shorter (or no) quarantine(s) than unvaccinated arrivals.
Unvaccinated adults will still be required to complete a 14-night quarantine.
Non-vaccinated children, not yet eligible for vaccinations, MAY be exempted until vaccines are available, but that is a subject the Cayman Government will address when the 70% goal is met.
A Covid test will continue to be given to all arrivals upon touchdown at the airport in Cayman. Our expectations are that vaccinated arrivals will ultimately be permitted to proceed directly to their accommodations and await a negative test result (24-hour max) before release. When that will happen depends on meeting 70%.
The Cayman Government and airlines will likely require a negative Covid test within three days of travel to Grand Cayman. The US may also require a negative Covid test to return from abroad.
Much will change in the coming weeks and we will do our best to update new policies and procedures for Grand Cayman’s reopening. Visit and bookmark our Island Reopening page for the latest info.
We are accepting mid-July and later reservations with the understanding that our guests are covered by our flexible guest-friendly cancellation policies including pandemic/Covid coverage.
Our Island Reopening Page is Live!
Friday, April 9, 2021
The Cayman Islands is preparing to reopen. On the ground, in Grand Cayman, public support for reopening is growing. It’s just a matter of time now.
Next week, Caymanians head to the polls to elect a new government that will be tasked with forming a reopening plan. Discussions are taking place at all levels of government. Travel restrictions will change rapidly.
Cayman Vaccination Rate Leads the Caribbean.
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
We finally have some great news!
The Cayman Islands has reached the halfway point of its stated goal to vaccinate 75%-80% of its adult population over the age of 16.
Once that goal is reached, a reopening of the borders welcoming back stay-over tourism can commence without quarantine, at first, for vaccinated arrivals.
As of Tuesday, March 22nd, 42.5% of the estimated population, or 27,611 residents, have received at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Total vaccines delivered is approx. 63 doses per 100 residents and leads the Caribbean.
By April 7th, the Cayman government will have received over 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is enough to fully vaccinate all residents over the age of 16.
With ample vaccines on hand and residents lining up to get jabbed, a reopening is on target to begin within the May 15 to June 15 timeframe.
As of March 23, vaccinated arrivals will still be required to:
- * Provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken 72 hours prior to travel;
- * Undergo a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival in Cayman free of charge.
We encourage all travelers to get vaccinated as soon as possible if they wish to travel safely (and protect their fellow travelers!) in our post-COVID world.
Quarantine Period Reduced to 10-Days
Sunday, March 14, 2021
The Cayman Islands remains closed to tourists, but the Government is encouraged by increasing vaccination rates in the Cayman Islands and the United States, its largest source market.
Beginning March 22, all arrivals who have been fully vaccinated will need to quarantine for 10-days rather than the current 14-day period. Again, this only applies right now to returning residents and workers.
Travelers will still be required to present a negative PCR test taken within 72-hours of travel and also test negative upon arrival in Cayman.
Family members traveling with unvaccinated children will need to remain in isolation for 14-days, regardless if the adults are vaccinated.
Vaccines authorized for children should be available by mid-summer.
The government has targeted a full reopening of tourism to occur without a quarantine period once 75-80% of the adult population has been vaccinated. As of March 12, 30% of the entire population has received the first dose and almost 20% have received both doses.
With vaccinations open to all adult residents, the overall vaccination rate should climb rapidly.
Possible Late-Spring Reopening?
Monday, March 1, 2021
As a precondition to easing Cayman’s border controls—specifically reducing the quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days—Premier McLaughlin stated that 90% of the island’s over-60 population would need to get fully vaccinated.
We are within reach of that goal with 81% of Cayman’s over-60 population receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday, February 26.
Adequate supplies of the Pfizer vaccine have been arranged with the UK Foreign Office with two shipments scheduled to arrive in March.
We anticipate the 90% target for most at-risk ages will be reached by mid-March and we will see quarantine reduced to 10 days for all vaccinated arrivals.
Late-Spring Reopening Teased
In another sign of optimism, Premier McLaughlin announced that Cayman could reopen to stay-over tourism sooner than expected, without any quarantine.
“I’m even more excited at the prospect of us getting 70% of the overall [adult] population vaccinated, which would mean we can do away with quarantine periods altogether,” the Premier stated.
He added, “I’m still hopeful that perhaps by the end of April or early May, Cayman will be one of the few countries in the world that can reopen safely without having to quarantine people.”
Data released at the end of February revealed that 24% of Cayman’s entire population has been vaccinated. While there’s still a long way to go to reach that 70% threshold, the news was encouraging. Additional vaccination locations on-island will open to younger residents very soon.
We are still receiving and accepting reservations for late June or July. This will give the government and the airlines sufficient time to iron out all the airlift details as well as establishing reopening and arrival protocols.
Real Talk on Reopening
Thursday, February 11, 2021
The Cayman Islands remain closed to tourist arrivals.
January infection spikes in the UK and USA, followed by potentially vaccine-resistant COVID strains revealed in February, have derailed any plans the Cayman Islands Government (CIG) had on the drawing board and moved the goalposts once again.
Any reopen strategy depends on protecting the island’s population through vaccination and requiring initial arrivals to also be vaccinated.
So, Cayman can only control what is in their control.
The country has vaccinated over 70% of the population aged 60+ (the most vulnerable). The Premier stated he will not reopen the borders until 90% of the most vulnerable are vaccinated.
Once that 90% threshold is met, border controls will be updated reducing the quarantine period from 14-days to 10-days for all inbound travelers meeting the following conditions:
- * Submit a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival, and a second negative test upon arrival in Cayman
- * Complete a valid COVID-19 vaccination program and provide proof of vaccination
- * Reside in a household where all parties have received a full course of vaccination
- * Produce a negative PCR test on Day 10 before being released from quarantine
- * Adults traveling with children will have to quarantine for 14 days until children are eligible for vaccines.
Bottom line, if your 2021 travel plans include a vacation in Grand Cayman you will want to get vaccinated. For that matter, most of the Caribbean will reward vaccinated travelers going forward with lenient entry restrictions and protocols.
Our Travel Guidance for 2021
For guests looking to book in 2021, we recommend deferring arrival until late June or July.
Hopefully, by then vaccines will be more widely available, resulting in higher vaccination rates and an easing of border controls. Studies for effectiveness against new strains will also be completed. The Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine will also be available.
Guests may consider booking for 2022 to lock in prime high season dates, or Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years’ weeks.
No one is more disappointed to see another reopening date pushed back than ourselves. But, we understand that public health and safety are paramount and hope that local leaders will act in good faith in a politically charged election year. Caymanians head to the polls in late April.
Until the Cayman Islands reopens, we will continue to manage requests for both rescheduling and cancellation, per our contract terms.
Currently, the Global Citizen Concierge Program remains the only entry path to Grand Cayman. Visit our Global Citizen Concierge page for program details and eligibility requirements. All of our villas are pre-approved by the Department of Tourism for Global Citizen and quarantine stays.
Cayman remains one of very few countries in the world with no community transmission. The only COVID on the island arrives by airplanes, is identified, and neutralized through quarantine and retesting.
On-Target for March Reopening?
Sunday, January 17, 2021
The Cayman Premier has committed to reopening the Cayman Islands to tourists in March, provided the vaccination roll-out proceeds as planned. The Premier’s goal is to get 25% of the island’s 60,000 local population inoculated, including our most at-risk groups.
Early data and roll-out trends show efforts are on-target for the planned March reopening.
The UK government sent Cayman 10,000 doses on January 7th. Another 10,000 will arrive on January 28th, followed by another shipment of 10,00 doses by early February. That’s enough supply to achieve a 25% inoculation rate with just the Pfizer vaccine alone.
By February and March, new vaccines will hit the global market including additional supplies of the Pfizer vaccine. With vaccines readily available and administered the world can slowly get back to “normal”.
March Reopening: What to Expect
Looking towards March, vaccinated tourists will be the easiest to manage since they no longer pose a health risk. Therefore, arrival protocols for vaccinated tourists will be lenient:
- * Airlines now require proof of a negative PCR test, taken within 72 hours of departure (age 10 and above)
- * Cayman tests all passengers upon arrival for reference, plus surveillance testing on Days 5, 10, and 15, if staying that long.
The government is developing protocols for unvaccinated tourists, including those who cannot currently be vaccinated, that will include the rules above for vaccinated tourists, plus additional restrictions.
Initial protocols for unvaccinated tourists may include staying only in a private villa, where crowd density is lower and interaction with the local population less likely. A majority of the private villas and micro-resorts are located in the eastern districts where less interaction with the local population is easily achievable.
Until the rules are developed for unvaccinated tourists, the current 14-day quarantine period will apply. We do expect a shorter quarantine period announced by March. Any idea of quarantine dampens everyone’s enthusiasm for a vacation.
Options for Upcoming Arrivals
Unless all members of your party are vaccinated, March and April arrivals should consider rescheduling for a later date, or canceling altogether.
Late-April and May look more promising as over 50% of the island will have had the opportunity to get vaccinated. As that percentage rises, herd immunity follows and arrival protocols will likely ease.
We are encouraging bookings for June and afterward.