Today’s Update from Governor Bryan

The Governor’s weekly press conference focused largely on domestic, non-COVID related issues.  There are currently two active cases on St. John, nine of which were traced to community contact, three from close contact, and five travel-related.  No new restrictions on visitors were issued this week, and there was no mention of when the current conditions will be lifted or amended.

The Virgin Islands Port Authority encourages all travelers to complete their health travel forms prior to their trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The form is available on the  USVI Travel Portal website and can be downloaded here.  

Read moreToday’s Update from Governor Bryan

Curfew lifted, ports remain closed

Good morning!  As of 6:00 am, the roads are clear and the curfew has been lifted.   The ports are closed until further notice; we will let you know when they re-open.  The airports remain open.

According to the Governor, the ocean is not safe for swimming today due to remaining swells, but there are many other enjoyable ways to spend your day!  Help support our local economy with some shopping, go for a hike on one of our many trails, or learn about some of the fascinating and important St. Johnian history at Annaberg Sugar Plantation.

 

Curfew implemented for Tropical Cyclone 9

A tropical storm warning has been issued for St. John and the surrounding Caribbean islands.  Invest 92L has crossed the Leeward Islands and is now called ‘Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine’.

According to VITEMA director Daryl Jaschen, this large storm has been difficult to define and track.  We anticipate winds at 45-50 miles per hour throughout most of the evening and tapering off around 1:00 am, with three to six inches of rain.  It is not expected to develop into a hurricane at this time, but given that it is a possibility, please be prepared with your your supplies and plans in place.

The Governor has issued a mandatory curfew from midnight tonight until 12:00 pm tomorrow, and another update will be given tomorrow morning around 7:00 am to determine whether the curfew order can be safely lifted.

Read moreCurfew implemented for Tropical Cyclone 9

Storm-related ferry and port closure this morning

Good morning!  A tropical storm warning is in effect for St. John.  We will bring you the latest update regarding the storm shortly after the Governor’s press conference at 10:00 am.  In the meantime, if you are leaving the island today, the last passenger ferries to Red Hook and Crowne Bay will depart at 11:00 am before the ports shut down entirely for the day.  If anything changes we will let you know!

Keeping our doors open for “safe tourism”

According to Governor Bryan, the regulations we have put into place regarding our efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 continue to appear to be working, as our active number of cases in the territory has decreased from last week.   There are currently five active cases on St. John at this time, and no new cases this week.

Location of positive COVID-19 cases on St. John

The Governor assured our local residents that he is listening to their comments and concerns about tourism, and said that our governmental agencies are working as hard as possible to ensure that we have the resources needed to protect all of our entry points in an effort to keep our residents and guests as safe as possible.  We have requested additional testing supplies – especially for St. John – and recently added four testing machines that produce same-day results in the territory.

Read moreKeeping our doors open for “safe tourism”

USVI Travel Screening Update

The US Virgin Islands launched an online travel portal in an effort to increase the safety of residents and visitors, and to clarify the screening process for travelers.  This portal will allow travelers to upload their COVID-19 test results to expedite the screening process at the airport, and to increase the efficiency of the policy.

Effective July 24, 2020:

  • Any traveler aged 15 and older whose home state (state of residence) has a Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) positivity rate greater than 10 percent will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 antigen (molecular/PCR/rapid) test result received within five days prior to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands OR a positive COVID-19 antibody test result received within four months prior to travel to the territory. Currently, residents of Puerto Rico are also subject to this requirement.
  • COVID-19 test results are also required from travelers aged 15 and older who have spent more than seven days in and are traveling from a state with a positivity rate greater than 10 percent.
  • COVID-19 test are recommended, but not required for travelers aged 15 and older whose home states have positivity rates greater than 7.5 percent.  This is to ensure travelers are prepared for possible “spikes” in rates while preparing for travel.
  • COVID-19 test result are not required from travelers transiting impacted states en route to the USVI.

Read moreUSVI Travel Screening Update

Underwater photo editing tips

Now that you’re back at the villa and out of the direct sun, the first thing you will likely want to do is review your photos to find out if you actually captured all of the exciting sea life you saw while underwater.

Step 1:  Editing software

The editing software that comes pre-installed on your computer or camera will allow you to make a majority of the basic corrections.  You can purchase advanced editing software, like Adobe’s Lightroom package, but rather than spending hours in your villa instead of the beach, I suggest taking advantage of the free editing software available to you.  Be sure to save a copy of your original photos while learning the editing software so that you can go back to the original photo and start over if necessary.

Don’t be afraid to be creative.  Photos that might otherwise seem unexciting can become artsy with just a click of a different editing filter.

Read moreUnderwater photo editing tips

The last round of restrictions is having a positive effect

There are currently seven active cases on St. John – five traced to community contact, five travel related, and two under investigation.  Five others who previously tested positive have recovered.  On a positive note, twenty-nine people on St. John were tested over the weekend, and all of the tests were negative!

The Governor said he has received many calls from the community asking what more can be done for the safety of our residents and guests, and expressing concerns that the current policies and restrictions have not gone far enough.  The Governor stressed that we have measures in place, but we need to give them time to work, and said that the last round of restrictions is having an effect.

According to the Governor, our numbers reflect that our efforts are having an impact on slowing the spread of the virus, and we have to see what the numbers reveal this coming week before taking more drastic steps, such as another shut down.

Steps we have taken to keep the community safe

Read moreThe last round of restrictions is having a positive effect

Two States Added to Travel Testing Requirement

The Governor’s press conference was a long one today, folks – kudos to anyone who hung in there with me during the live broadcast!

The recent surge of COVID-19 in the US Virgin Islands caught the attention of several stateside media outlets this week.  While it is true that we’ve seen an overall increase in cases in the territory, they failed to report that a significant majority are based in St. Croix – specifically within the Limetree Bay Refinery community.  On a positive note, over the last few days we have seen a substantial reduction in positive tests.  Out of 400 refinery workers tested yesterday, only one was positive!

In furtherance of our effort to minimize exposure of the virus to our residents and guests, on Wednesday, July 15, 2020, the Governor’s travel testing policy went into effect for any states testing at 10% positive or higher for that state. Residents in these target states ages 15 and over must either be tested within five days prior to their arrival into the territory and produce a negative test result or positive antibodies test result, or self-quarantine until test results are received.  If you have not been tested, you will be asked to quarantine for 14 days, or the entire duration of your vacation if fewer than 14 days. As of today, two additional states – Arkansas and Louisiana – have been added to the John Hopkins University list:

The Virgin Islands Port Authority issued a statement on their Facebook page clarifying the Governor’s brief mention in a previous press conference that the testing requirement also applies to anyone who has spent a “substantial amount of time” in one of the target states.  The Port Authority stated that this restriction does not apply to travelers with layovers in these states but does apply to “passengers who have spent more than seven days in and are traveling from impacted states.”

Read moreTwo States Added to Travel Testing Requirement