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Cayman Islands Will Stay Closed to Cruises Until September 1

Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell confirmed Thursday to the Cayman Compass that Cayman’s borders will remain officially closed until at least then, and no cruise ships will be docked in Grand Cayman despite several lines – most notably Carnival – advertising new sailings that include the Caymans as a stop.

Kirkconnell said the new expiration of the closure is 11:59 p.m. on August 31, and even that might be extended.

“I don’t think that we’re going to see cruise vessels back in Grand Cayman second (quarter), third quarter or fourth quarter, to be quite honest,” Kirkconnell said. “We will continue to dialogue and see what’s best for the tourism industry and product. We’ll have a good go-forward plan that will involve the total package of incentives, skill set, training, education and what the opportunity is for us as a small island nation to continue to lead this region.”

The Cayman Islands has been a leader in getting ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, including what it called a “hard curfew” of its residents and closing businesses except for supermarkets, banks and pharmacies. And it began turning away cruise ships from its port as early as February, not an easy call for a country that relies on tourism for 70 percent of its gross domestic product.

Kirkconnell, who is also deputy premier, said the measures that have been implemented by the government are not short-term fixes.

“This is a completely new way of doing business,” he said. “…The tourism industry is not going to be able to recover until the world recovers around us … We have to understand how the major airlines in the world get back into operation and start carrying people in them.”

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