Covid-19 and Cayman travel...

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caydiver

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Damselfish I agree. Also permission for the mooring and purchase, delivery and paperwork for the new boat would have all been started pre-Covid. Anyone planning a trip should definitely go directly to gov.ky for updates before booking anything. As has been said countless times by the Premier end of the year may be well be the time we open for tourism in general and that was before the current levels in the States.
 

Calmseas

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Gov't to keep border closed till October - Cayman Compass

Looks like Grand Cayman is now shut down until at least until October 1 to visitors. However, I anticipate this will be extended longer based upon the very conservative approach they are taking at this time. I would be surprised if any tourists are let into Grand Cayman this calendar year and probably into the spring. When visitors are allowed, will they then have to wear the bio sensor that tracks their vitals or requires them to self quarantine, making short term vacations impossible.

this is just another problem with this disease. While Cayman has it under control, if they don't allow visitors, I fear their economy and way of life may crumble. How many business in GC can survive until next spring with ZERO tourism?

Hopefully it works out.
 

tkaelin

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No surprise and I suspect you may be right on the timeframe. I don't think the bio sensors and related requirements will be part of the opening, at least for those who have been vaccinated or accurately tested before departure. Just a guess.
 

scubadada

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Clearly Cayman has just sent out notice that Little Cayman Beach Resort, Cayman Brac Beach Resort, and Cobalt Coast Grand Cayman are not planning on reopening until November 7.
 

mi000ke

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There is a government task force trying to figure out how to open the borders safely, but nothing useful has been made public yet. Meanwhile entry in October ("soft opening") will be limited to citizens, permanent residents, and property owners and require a 5 day quarantine with a biobutton (for 14 days) and a negative virus test after the 5 days. If the 4-week soft opening goes well (don't hold your breath, no pun intended) then it will be extended to tourists in November. Not to sound (too much) like a broken record, but as posted before, the Premier has said many times at his televised briefings, that he did not expect the borders to open to tourism until the end of the year at the earliest - primarily because of how other countries in general, and the US in particular, are (not) managing the virus. And that seems to be what's happening.

Meanwhile a few restaurants and dive shops have closed - not clear if all the closings will be permanent. The financial sector is holding its own, and the health care sector is down a bit. We try to get out to a restaurant once or twice a week just to give them business, and at least on the weekends the restaurants and bars have been packed (with mostly appropriate distancing). I worry about the dive shops. I'm diving twice a week and splitting that with two ops that are each running a boat once or twice a week (vs running multiple boats twice a day, 7 days a week). I know of one other op that is running and did see an additional op's boat moored at a dive site a few days ago, so there are maybe four ops running - and if there are more they have not publicized it and I've not seen their boats moored at SMB dive sites (where I live) or at any of the west, south and north sites we've been diving. But what worries me is that since the island opened for diving again, almost every outing has had only 2 - 4 divers. I don't know how long these operators can hang on with that little amount of business. I assume most of the locals are doing shore dives instead.
 

Calmseas

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I am talking with a resort on SMB about reserving for next July. I am wondering if they will be fully open by then with no Covid testing, quarantine requirement or bio button requirement. If those are still required, I will probably hold off but obviously no way to know.

Fortunately for most of the resorts I have been checking with they are starting to get booked up. That is a good sign.
 

schwinnfin

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I had a Cayman Aggressor trip booked this year that has been postponed to end of July 2021. I'm hoping they are open then.
 

Tienuts

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Right now, most dive employees are living off their pension contributions, which government allowed everyone to withdrawal. At some point this is going to end, and the dive sector for the most part will implode. The residents and locals have been quite good at supporting the dive ops, but in a recent CITA meeting, the question was asked, how much of your annual revenue are you bringing in now? Most answered less than 5%. That's obviously not sustainable. Work permits are not getting renewed, and many dive employees are forced to leave the island. There are companies who have let 80-90% of their staff go. If the borders were to open tomorrow, they'd take months to get back up to speed, just in recruiting new staff.

The Cayman Islands Government has sort of backed us into a corner. We are now COVID free, so well done. However if we open our borders, we will no longer be COVID free. If we remain shut, our economy will slowly grind back to the 1960's. I believe our only hope is some sort of rapid testing, but I'm not optimistic on that either. Think of how long the Saturday queues are (were) at the airport just for customs. Add a medical test onto that, it will be madness.

I worry about the dive shops. I'm diving twice a week and splitting that with two ops that are each running a boat once or twice a week (vs running multiple boats twice a day, 7 days a week). I know of one other op that is running and did see an additional op's boat moored at a dive site a few days ago, so there are maybe four ops running - and if there are more they have not publicized it and I've not seen their boats moored at SMB dive sites (where I live) or at any of the west, south and north sites we've been diving. But what worries me is that since the island opened for diving again, almost every outing has had only 2 - 4 divers. I don't know how long these operators can hang on with that little amount of business. I assume most of the locals are doing shore dives instead.

It seems from chatting around, there's about 5-6 dive ops on the island still running the odd trips. There are other dive ops who I see on FB posting they are out and about, but this is mostly the owners exercising the boats and doing some social media. I haven't seen them have actual customers aboard. The rest have literally shut the doors.
 

Saboteur

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Are LTD and CUD ops surviving? I sure hope so. I was supposed to be heading there for 3 weeks tonight.
 

mi000ke

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I am talking with a resort on SMB about reserving for next July. I am wondering if they will be fully open by then with no Covid testing, quarantine requirement or bio button requirement. If those are still required, I will probably hold off but obviously no way to know.

Fortunately for most of the resorts I have been checking with they are starting to get booked up. That is a good sign.

I'm guessing the government will have had to figure out some way to support stay-over tourism by then. The bio button is no longer on the menu (problems sourcing them), and the October soft opening will require a 14 day quarantine either at home or hotel with a wearable geofencing device (currently a wrist band that sends an alert if you venture too far from home/hotel or if you take it off) or living in a government managed facility (hotel) if you don't use the device. If you are not a citizen you pay for either option. The device will be much cheaper. As you can tell, at the moment the country is focusing on long-term visitors, essentially property owners plus trying to attract mobil workers who want to relocate to a covid-free country. Rapid testing and an effective vaccine are what's needed before things open up more.

As to dive shops, the only one that I am aware of that has been going out regularly twice a week is Red Sail. Up until about three weeks ago, we had only 2-4 people per trip (also same with another operator that was going 1/week but has not gone out for the last couple of weeks). But now we are getting about 10-12 per trip. Red Sail (along with their partner Tortuga Divers on the East side) seems to be the only outfit that is advertising. Some of the residents I dove with on Red Sail were surprised to hear that there were other operators going out. If you look at any of the dive op web sites except Red Sail, none have added any info about their current status. A few of us are on the call list for a couple of dive ops, and we have all agreed to let each other know if one of the ops is going out.
 
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