Removal of on-island COVID testing is a game changer

It was only 2 weeks ago that I outlined the details of Phase 5 of Cayman’s National Border Reopening plan. Since then, there have been some further developments that I wanted to share all of which are great news for visitors coming the Cayman Islands.

As of February 18, 2022, securely verified travellers are no longer required to do on-island testing on days 2, 5, and 7.

As we all know, traveling right now is not easy and requirements are changing on what feels like a daily basis. The reality is that most people don’t come down to visit for a month. Many are here on vacation for as little as a week. Having to interrupt what feels like a very short vacation to begin with by having to go to an approved location to get tested 3 times in 7 days was a lot to ask visitors and definitely impacted visitors when choosing a tropical destination to visit. Having this one requirement removed is, in my opinion, a huge game changer for people planning to visit the Cayman Islands.

Pre-arrival testing, which is required to be completed the day before departure, is still required for all travellers aged 5 and over, but in addition to the PCR test, can now be a certified rapid test that can be self-administered if video observed by a provider such as AZOVA.

In fact, the official Cayman Islands tourism site provides a link directly to AZOVA, which is touted as the easiest and quickest way to get tested for entry to the Cayman Islands. “AZOVA enables safe travel to the Cayman Islands by providing you with authorized testing solutions that provide results in under 24 hours. You’ll get a validated lab report PDF and a Simple Health Pass via secure SMS and email link as soon as your results are ready. All you need to do is show your lab report in the AZOVA app or print your PDF and show it at the gate or check-in counter when you arrive in Cayman.”

You can purchase a test with video observation for $32. The video observations are available 24-hours a day 7-days a week. The great thing is you can purchase tests and pre-book your video appointments for your return even before you leave for your trip to Cayman as these tests are now acceptable for return to the US, Canada, and the UK. For those of you travelling from Canada, the Canadian company, Acculab, offers similar services as does Expresstest in the UK.

Several other changes came into effect on February 18, 2022. Vaccinated travellers are no longer required to test prior to travel to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman and the quarantine period for unvaccinated travellers was reduced from 10 to 7 days.

Gathering limits were increased from 500 persons indoors and 1,000 persons outdoors, which is great news for the many companies who plan retreats and conferences in the Cayman Islands, and of course hotels on island. This is also great news for events like the Breast Cancer Foundation’s Light up the Night walk on March 5, 2022. I am proud to be a founding director of the foundation and as our second biggest fundraiser of the year this is great news.

As was outlined in my previous article, all visitors must apply to the Travel Cayman portal for an official Certificate to Travel by requesting a Travel Declaration, must be fully vaccinated by a WHO approved vaccine, and ensure medical and travel insurance policy includes COVID-19 coverage. Once a Travel Declaration has been issued is it valid for a period of 3 months from your travel eligibility date.

Almost every week the Cayman Islands is welcoming back new flights from new destinations, as outlined in my previous article and many of these flights are now at capacity. “Cayman Islands Tourism Association president Marc Langevin said the announcement [of the removal of on-island testing] removed one of the biggest barriers to bringing visitors back to the island. If the positive momentum around airlift continues, he predicts Cayman’s hotels could reach occupancy levels around 80% of what they were seeing prior to the pandemic this summer. By Christmas, he expects every hotel on island to be full.”[i]

In fact, “The Ritz-Carlton, the Kimpton Seafire Resort, the Marriott, and the Westin, are already over 50% booked for next Christmas.”[ii]

Visitors both new and returning want to visit the Cayman Islands, which is great news for almost every segment of our economy from hotels and restaurants to water sports operators to taxis and shops. Of course, as we’ve seen in the past, visitors come to our island, fall in love, and never want to leave or want to have a place to call their own in paradise, which of course boosts the real estate industry.

So, book your ticket, get your hotel, plan your adventure in the paradise we are lucky to call home and when you get here, fall in love, or fall in love all over again, give me a call at +1 345 945 4000 and let me find you your own slice of heaven as your new home, second home or investment property.

[i] Cayman Compass, February 18, 2022.
[ii] Cayman Compass, February 18, 2022.