The US Virgin Islands is “putting the brakes” on tourism, closing its doors to leisure visitors beginning Aug. 19 for a period of at least one month.
US Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr announced the move, reverting the territory to a “Stay-at-Home” phase of its COVID-19 response for the next two weeks.
“The recent infiltration of the virus into our residential institutions that house vulnerable members of our population creates an alarming level of risk,” the Governor 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.”
Effective immediately, all hotels, villas, Airbnb accommodations and guest houses, charter vessels and similar businesses have been ordered not to accept or book any new reservations for a month.
Reservations are only being accepted for business travelers, flight crews, emergency personnel and government workers with written authorization from the government agency they are visiting.
Beginning Aug. 17 through Aug. 31, all restaurants can only offer takeout, delivery or drive-through, with all bars, nightclubs and cabarets closed.
“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, as he spoke about the “difficult but necessary decision.”
All visitors or residents with tourism questions should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 372-USVI (8784).