GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) – The Port Authority of the Cayman Islands has issued a notice to its cruise industry partners that the George Town port will remain closed to cruise ships until at least December 31.
While both premier Alden McLaughlin and tourism minister Moses Kirkconnell have stated on a number of occasions that they did not expect to see the return of cruise tourism until early next year, this is the first official confirmation of the harbour’s closure for the rest of 2020.
Acting Port director Joseph Woods issued the short notice Thursday, stating that government had decided not to restart the cruise sector.
“I wish to inform you that after careful consideration, the Cayman Islands government has taken the decision that in the current global environment with respect to the coronavirus pandemic, it cannot allow the resumption of cruise tourism in the Cayman Islands for the immediate future. The Cayman Islands will, therefore, be closed for cruise tourism until the December 31, 2020,” Woods stated.
Most cruise ships have volunteered to suspend sailing until at least the end of October after outbreaks on some ships that had recently returned to the sea this summer. The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) imposed a no sail order on ships based at American ports in March. This was extended in July until the end of September and maybe extended further, given the continued problems surrounding outbreaks on ships.
Here in Cayman, the tourism ministry has been focusing on how it can safely open the airport to overnight visitors. Plans to begin a soft opening on September 1 – were postponed recently until at least October 1. But officials told CNS that government is still reviewing the bio-button technology it was hoping to use to monitor visitors and returning residents.