Good Morning Everyone! We have a few updates from the BVI this morning. There have been a few adjustments made to their re-opening regulations and some exciting news from White Bay on Jost Van Dyke.
Last weekend, The Soggy Dollar Bar opened their doors to residents of the British Virgin Islands and poured their first Painkller since March 17! On Sunday, March 22, the territory went into a major COVID-19 shut down in order to protect their residents. But, this time has obviously made a huge impact on local businesses in the territory. On March 18, this iconic slice of paradise, named #1 Best Caribbean Beach Bar by USA Today in 2020, decided to close their doors “until further notice.”
Only last month were bars and restaurants allowed to re-open their doors to patrons. And the Soggy Dollar Bar followed suit this past weekend by opening up the bar and boutique to welcome residents of Jost and Tortola. Here’s a little tease of what we missed courtesy of SDB’s Facebook page:
I sure wish I was sitting under the rainbow at that bar with gallons of Painkillers being poured right in front of me! Hopefully, soon come, we will be. But, for now, let’s take a look at those updates to the re-opening regulations….
On November 6, we posted the latest update from the BVI government in regards to some stringent protocols that visitors must follow in order to enter the territory following the re-opening on December 1. On November 10, Premier Andrew Fahie updated residents and visitors in a public press conference with the following changes to those initial regulations.
A few notable changes are as follows:
- All travelers into the territory will now only have to take three PCR tests. The first test is required to enter the territory and only those with negative test results issued within five days of arrival will be allowed into the BVI. The second test is issued upon arrival at the airport. The third after four days of quarantine at a”Gold Seal Certified” approved accommodation (see below). There is no longer a requirement for a fourth test on the eighth day of your visit.
- The cost has dropped significantly as well. The initial costs released by the BVI government for three COVID-19 tests, the travel app and a tracking device was in the $400 range. Now, for two tests, the app and the monitor the cost is just $175. If you need a test to exit the territory, the government will supply one for $70 per test.
- You can absolutely spend your quarantine time on an approved vessel. The vessel must be “Gold Seal Certified” and may only use certain approved mooring areas during the four day quarantine.
- If a traveler tests positive while they are in the territory, they are required to quarantine until a negative test result is issued. IF that traveler is a citizen, resident, work permit holder or belonger, the cost of quarantine in a government approved property will be covered by the BVI government.
So, that’s all positive news and some steps in the right direction. It definitely seems a bit more friendly to your wallet and those of you who are in the market for a week or two vacation rather than a longer period of time.
Accommodations, vessels and businesses must all be “Gold Seal Certified” in order to accept guests. This certification is issued via an online course for all tourism industry workers to ensure they are trained in sanitation and other safety protocols. In an October 28 release, the Premiere said, “HLSCC, Culinary and Hospitality Studies Department has designed a programme to prepare workers to re-enter the Tourism Industry with health and safety at its core in the New Regular of living and working with COVID-19. Participants must attend all online sessions of the programme to be eligible to receive internationally recognised certification.”
In addition to the certification, businesses must also be certified by the Environmental Health Department, and must obtain permission for reopening from the Premier’s Office, through the BVI Tourist Board.
He urges that these certifications are not only to keep the BVI residents and belongers safe, but also to give travelers some peace of mind about the businesses they frequent while in the territory during these uncertain times. To date, the territory has 3,278 registered participants in the program. If you are interested in the details on this certification program, the entirety of the re-opening guidelines manual is available online.