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Cayman Islands drop mask mandate

Cayman Islands drop mask mandate

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GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands – The government of this British Overseas territory has removed the mandatory requirement for people to wear masks to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

According to the new regulations released on Friday, mask wearing is now voluntary, with the exception of visitors to hospitals, prisons and care homes.

In addition, bar and restaurant owners can require staff to wear masks when serving customers but the government is no longer compelling their use.

According to Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan, although the mask mandate is being lifted, individuals should remember they still have an obligation for personal responsibility.

“The action that we expect everybody to take is to remember COVID isn’t over, your freedoms may be coming back, but take caution,” he said.

The mandatory requirement to wear masks on aircraft bound for Cayman is also being lifted.

Bryan said this change was important, especially for the national flag carrier Cayman Airways, since the mandatory mask rule had placed it at a competitive disadvantage.

“Ever since the US airlines [removed the requirement of] wearing masks on their planes, it has been putting Cayman Airways at a disadvantage, one that affects the bottom line for Cayman Airways, because people will sometimes decide not to fly with our airline due to the fact that they were required to wear a mask on the plane, but not required to do so on other airlines.”

He also disclosed that the Government has also removed the requirement for unvaccinated Caymanians and residents returning the islands to isolate upon their arrival.

Previously, all unvaccinated arrivals – other than young children who could take on the vaccination status of their parents – were required to quarantine for seven days.

Under the new protocols, unvaccinated Caymanians and residents must submit an application for a travel authorisation from Travel Cayman no less than five days prior to departing for the islands.

They will also be required to comply with the written directions of the Medical Officer of Health, which may include a direction to carry out a COVID test.

Bryan said the removal of a quarantine restriction on unvaccinated Caymanians and residents meant those individuals could travel freely.

The amended regulations take effect on June 30 and expire on August 31. (CMC)