The Cayman Islands is the latest Caribbean destination to be placed on the CDC's highest Level 4 Covid-19 alert.
The Level 4 category indicates a "very high" rate of transmission if there are 500 or more new Covid cases per 100,000 residents within a 28-day period.
The CDC also moved St. Maarten to Level 3, an improvement from its previous Level 4 status.
The Cayman Islands' Covid-19 numbers have increased since a local community spread began this fall, from 70 on Oct. 1 to 1,600 on Nov. 5, according to the Cayman Compass.
Cayman Islands tourism ministry responds
The Cayman Islands' Ministry of Tourism termed the CDC action "regrettable" but pointed out that the destination is one of 80 countries, including 15 in the Caribbean, that is on the CDC's list of Level 4 destinations.
"The CDC recommendation advising travelers to ensure they are vaccinated is in keeping with our phased border reopening policy, which takes effect on Nov. 20," the Ministry of Tourism said in a statement.
"Our policy stipulates that all visitors must be fully vaccinated and must present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of arrival. Travelers who arrive prior to our reopening must quarantine for seven, 10 or 14 days depending upon their vaccination status," the ministry said.
Although the CDC move has come close to the reopening date, "it does not automatically mean that our tourism industry will be negatively affected," the ministry continued, adding that other Caribbean destinations in the same Level 4 category seem not to have shown any long term or immediate negative impacts on their tourism products, nor has there been an indication that vacation bookings are being canceled due to the CDC rating.
"We do not expect visitors to be deterred, and the Department of Tourism stands by its projection that the Cayman Islands will remain on a path of slow and steady growth following our border reopening on Nov. 20," the ministry said.
According to the ministry's figures, 80% of the population has received at least one vaccination dose, 77% have completed the two-dose course and 9% of those over 50 have gotten a booster shot.
"We remain confident that stringent health and safety protocols implemented by Public Health will continue to keep residents and visitors safe," the ministry said.