Trunk Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands

USVI shuts its doors again to contain potential COVID-19 spread

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, USVI — With rising COVID-19 numbers the U.S. Virgin Islands says it will re-close its borders to leisure travellers for at least one month, in an effort to stem the tide.

The closure takes effect Aug. 19. The Caribbean destination’s hotels, villas, Airbnb accommodations, guest houses, temporary vacation housing and charter vessels and more have been ordered not to accept or book any new reservations for 30 days.

As of Aug. 19 accommodations providers are barred from admitting or checking-in any guests for 30 days unless the order is lifted sooner.

“We appreciate the concerns of our tourism partners and stakeholders, however, with the recent spike in cases we are seeing, especially in the St. Thomas-St. John district, we must reset, take stock, safeguard human life, and prepare for restarting our tourism economy at a later date,” said Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte.

USVI authorities say reservations can only be accepted for business travellers, flight crews, emergency personnel, and government workers with written authorization from the relevant government agency they are visiting.

As of Aug. 17 all non-essential businesses and churches will close and the public, including non-essential public sector workers, will be under orders to stay at home.

Meanwhile the USVI is reverting to the ‘Stay-at-Home’ (Orange Alert) phase of its COVID-19 response for the next two weeks at least.

“When we announced our COVID-19 alert system in May, I indicated at that time that we would retreat … to a more cautious state of alert if conditions warranted. Unfortunately, we have arrived at that point this week,” said USVI’s Governor, Albert Bryan Jr.

“The recent infiltration of the virus into our residential institutions that house vulnerable members of our population creates an alarming level of risk,” he said. “This adds to the stress of the ongoing pandemic response that seemingly has no end in sight and is wearing out our health care and public safety infrastructure.”

Anyone with tourism-related questions can email or call 1-800-372-USVI (8784).

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