Back in March 2020, the Cayman Islands Government took a very strong stance in the fight against the COVID19 pandemic and immediately closed the borders to the islands. Strict lockdowns and the fact that we are a small island nation got the COVID issue quickly in check and we've been essentially living a normal existence since June. No masks, no distancing, no issues aside from the fact that we can't travel. While residents and property owners may return to the island, they must first undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period. Of course, as a result, tourism to the Cayman Islands came to a grinding halt. The Cayman Islands does have a thriving financial & legal sector, a large construction industry, and the associated support business. As a result, there is a large ex-pat population here, many of whom dive. Divetech has been lucky enough to capture some of this business. While it's only a small fraction of the revenue we'd generate in a normal year, it's allowing us to limp along. Other businesses, including dive operators and restaurants, are not as lucky and have been forced to close up shop.
We here in Cayman Islands are going on our 14th month of border closure and no tourism. The single biggest question we get, over and over again, is “when will your borders open?” I see this question every day in our email inbox. I hear it when I talk to customers, and friends on the phone. I see it posted on social media daily and countless times.
This is a tough question to answer for 2 reasons. The first reason is that we simply don't know. There are lots of rumors and speculation and “I heard from a friend whose cousin's former roommate met the Premiere once at a gas station,” but none of this has any substance, as there has been no official policy. The answer depends on the policy of the Cayman Islands Government. As of April 14th, 2021, the Cayman Islands held their general elections for Parliament. A change in the makeup of the political parties has caused some changes to the Cabinet appointments and with it a “new government.” These new government members must get up to speed on the situation, and then figure out what to do with the information they have.
The second reason it's tough to answer is because the entire situation has been emotionally exhausting for most of us. This is by far the hardest. Watching your business and your savings slowly wither and die is gut-wrenching for even the most hardened individual. The uncertainty is even worse. If Divetech ownership knew the definite reopening date, this would allow for easier fiscal and logistical planning. The uncertainty of not knowing when exactly tourism will resume makes this impossible.
The situation affects some of us more than others. One of Divetech's owners – Joanna, gets up and attacks every day with the same ferocity. With me, every day I feel like someone adds another brick to my backpack. I had to apologize to a friend the other day when he asked me the dreaded question “when are you going to open up?” My response was not polite, and although this is no excuse, quite frankly I was tired of answering the question. So this blog post makes it easier for us to simply copy and paste a response rather than get more depressed answering the question.
The Cayman Island Government takes COVID seriously. The answer to when we will re-open to tourism will depend on so many factors, all of which are out of our control. Rest assured that when we do have substantial information to report, we will shout it from the rooftops. For a summary of our most recent factual information, visit our update page here.
In the meantime, sit tight and enjoy our social media photos. It's what keeps us sane in this crazy world.