The United States Virgin Islands is reopening for leisure visitors on June 1, USVI Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte announced.
That will make the US Virgin Islands the first Caribbean destination to officially reopen for tourism.
Boschulte said the USVI was finalizing its public health and tourism protocols for the return of visitors next week.
As the new protocols, which have been developed in partnership with the USVI’s Governor’s Office, along with tourism and health authorities and the private sector, a state of emergency due to COVID-19 “will remain in effect through July 11,” according to a statement.
“Over the past several weeks, we have been building COVID-19 mitigation and response capacity, and preparing protocols to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors alike,” said Commissioner Boschulte, who SAID the decision to reopen has not been made lightly. “We did not want to rush to reopen in reaction to what other destinations are doing. Instead, we have engaged in data-driven, risk-based analysis, in conjunction with the Virgin Islands Department of Health and federal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other stakeholders.”
The USVI Department of Tourism has also prepared a series of “Health and Safety Guidelines for the USVI Tourism Industry.”
It’s what officials are calling a “comprehensive master document” that offers guidance for all tourism stakeholders.
It includes everything from ways to operate reception and concierge facilities to housekeeping to special guidance for restaurants, bars and hotels.
“We are very pleased with the across-the-board approach so that key tourism subsectors now have specific guidelines,” Boschulte said. We are very pleased with the across-the-board approach so that key tourism sub-sectors now have specific guidelines.”
The Commissioner said that demand for the destination continued to be strong amid the pandemic.
“Throughout the pandemic, we were greatly encouraged by the outpouring of support and expressions of desire from friends around the world to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Even though COVID-19 caused us to temporarily close our doors, our hearts remained open. We now look forward to welcoming travelers back to their home away from home.”
When it reopens on June 1, the USVI will be the first tourism destination to officially reopen.
That will be followed by the island of Saint Lucia, which is planning to reopen for tourists on June 4.
For more, visit USVI.