US Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr is calling for pre-departure testing at U.S. airports in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Bryan, who was speaking during a Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association discussion, said mandatory pre-flight testing would make travel to the Caribbean “healthier and easier.”
Bryan said that he and Saint Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet had agreed on the “need for the rollout of rapid test technology to protect Caribbean visitors and residents.”
Earlier this month, the USVI implemented a one-month shutdown of tourism to the territory; recent COVID-19 increases in the territory that led to the shutdown are being attributed to “asymptomatic Virgin Islanders who live and work abroad returning for family events and unknowingly infecting friends and family members in close-knit communities, particularly on St. Thomas,” Bryan said.
Bryan said the tourism pause and earlier lockdown during the pandemic have given properties in the US Virgin Islands time to “upgrade, refresh and refurbish” their properties.
Prior to the pandemic, Bryan said the territory’s tourism sector had been surging, with hotel, villa and charter rental reservations “going through the roof.”