Premier Panton notes strengthened investments to shore up public health and facilitate a safe reopening of the tourism industry
GEORGE TOWN, CAYMAN ISLANDS — The newly announced restart of tourism in the Cayman Islands is already having a ripple effect in the economy as 29 new employees have been engaged in the healthcare sector to shore up staffing in anticipation of the increased risk of COVID-19 spread that could accompany the increase in travelers.
Cayman Islands Premier Wayne Panton made the highly anticipated announcement yesterday that as of November 20, the country will move into Phase 4 of its tourism reopening, whereby international visitors to the country who are vaccinated will no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival.
While the move is expected to result in significant employment in the area of hospitality and tourism, the premier also noted that the government has bolstered healthcare accordingly.
“First and foremost, we have strengthened our investment in Public Health, a large part of this being the critical area of staffing,” said Panton at a press conference yesterday.
“As noted last week, we have already increased the staff complement to support the work of Public Health. The new staff members are employed over several different sections, including swabbing/testing, the Flu Hotline, administration, data input, registration and contact tracing.
“In total, we have extended 29 temporary offers of employment. Sixteen have already commenced employment and three more will start next week. Ten others will begin shortly thereafter once onboarding has been completed.”
In keeping with the government’s previously stated commitment to prioritize the hiring of Caymanians during this critical economic period, Premier Panton highlighted, “I am happy to say that we have been able to recruit Caymanians, with 22 of the new team members being Caymanian, while two are permanent residents married to Caymanians and five are non-Caymanians. All are employed with the clinical team.”
Efforts to fortify healthcare and virus prevention ahead of the reopening are being put to immediate use, with Panton noting that “as part of an ongoing collaboration with the private sector, Public Health will begin making presentations to the business community on the 28th of this month”.
“These sessions will aim to ensure that large and small business owners are clear on the necessary preparedness measures to assist us to move into the next phases of reopening our borders as safely as possible,” he explained.
Minister of Tourism Kenneth Bryan added that his ministry will work in tandem to ensure all sectors of the industry are well prepared.