The Bar Is (Soon) Open!

The Bar Is (Soon) Open! 1

Governor Albert Bryan Jr. delivered several bits of optimistic news today.  In no particular order (although we are certain you will have your favorites):

COVID-19 statistics
Last week, we shared the fantastic news that our positivity rate was under 1% (you can read about that here), and although we have seen an increase in the number of guests arriving at our airports, our Covid positivity rate continues to remain under 1% for the second week in a row!

There are currently three active cases of COVID-19 on St. John, with only 16 total positive cases in the territory.  As such, Governor Bryan expressed his optimism about lifting some of the restrictions that have been in place for the past few months, and said we will see several changes in the 18th Executive Order issued this week, adding that “We are slowly getting there, but we can’t get there without your cooperation.”

The Bar Is (Soon) Open! 2

Hospitals and medical facilities
Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated our territory’s hospitals and medical facilities that were already in need of some TLC.  After receiving almost 13 million in grant funding for the repairs – and in some cases, entire rebuilds – our Governor announced that the designers have been selected for the various projects, and the design phase – estimated to take  6 to 18 months – will soon commence.  The Myrah Keating Medical Center on St. John was granted 1.5 million of the funds for the rebuild.

The Governor’s goal is to ensure that our residents and our visitors ultimately receive any and all medical care they may need while in the territory.

Several months ago, the Governor issued an order stating that all restaurants must suspend the use of regular dining ware, and only disposable glasses, plates, silverware, and napkins were allowed until further notice.  In August, the Department of Health relaxed this restriction for restaurants that could prove they were able to adequately sanitize their dining ware.  Over the following weeks, most of the restaurant owners and managers on St. John were granted a special use permit, allowing them an exception to the disposable mandate.

Today, the Governor announced that as of Wednesday, October 14, 2020, all restaurants are allowed to make the switch back to regular dining ware.  This is welcomed news for the restaurant owners and staff, the patrons, and the environment!

Churches and Houses of Worship
Effective immediately, churches and houses of worship are allowed to accommodate 50% of their capacity, or a maximum 100 persons, whichever is less.  This is an increase from the previous 50-person maximum mandate.

The Bar Is (Soon) Open! 3

Mass gatherings
Starting next month on November 9, 2020, mass gatherings will increase to 50% of the capacity, with no more than 100 persons for indoor and outdoor activities.

The Bar Is (Soon) Open! 4

(Note:  For these purposes, and for the sake of clarity, a bar is defined as the overall establishment, and not the bar counter).
Last but certainly not least, effective November 9, 2020, all bars and nightclubs with the capacity to offer table service will be allowed to reopen!  Previously, bars that did not serve food were ordered closed.  However, all of our bars are allowed to reopen as long as they can provide table service in lieu of counter service.  Per the Governor’s statement at the press conference, restaurant and bar guests must be seated at a table, served by wait staff, and must not be allowed to stand around the bar counter, order from the bar, or congregate around the bar or outside of the venue.  Seated patrons may order food, alcohol, or both, as long as they are seated at a designated table with adequate social distancing. Restaurants with bars are no longer mandated to sell and serve food simultaneously with alcoholic beverages.

The Bar Is (Soon) Open! 5

Live Music and DJs
The atmosphere at a bar is complete with the addition of live music.  When the bars reopen, live music and DJs will be allowed in licensed establishments until midnight.

The Bar Is (Soon) Open! 6

I think most would agree this is exciting news, and indicative of the progression to our ‘new normal’.  If we all continue to do our part, and if our Covid-19 positivity rate remains low, the Governor anticipates lifting more of our restrictions over the coming weeks!


USVI Covid Rates Plummet to the Lowest in the US

USVI Covid Rates Plummet to the Lowest in the US 8

Dr. Brett Ellis, US Virgin Islands Territorial Laboratory Director, shared some incredible statistics at today’s press conference regarding our Covid-19 numbers.  From the figures provided, it appears that the course of action taken by our Government has had the exact impact we have all worked so hard – and sacrificed so much – to achieve.  Not only have we met our goal of a 3 to 5 % positivity rate (the number of positive tests in relation to the total number of tests conducted in any given period), WE HAVE EXCEEDED OUR GOAL!

Read moreUSVI Covid Rates Plummet to the Lowest in the US



This is the day many of us have been anticipating all month –

Today we start welcoming back our valued guests!

Ordinarily this time of year, we see a noticeable decrease in the number of visitors given that August and September are peak hurricane months; however, the past four weeks have been unusually quiet given that our hotels, Airbnbs, villas, and other guest-lodging resources were ordered closed by Governor Bryan for four weeks, starting on August 19, 2020.


All Travelers Arriving to the VI Must Show Proof of Negative COVID Test Results

All Travelers Arriving to the VI Must Show Proof of Negative COVID Test Results 12

The territory reverted back to the Safer at Home phase today, and most non-essential businesses are allowed to reopen!  According to Governor Albert Bryan, his decision to move our territory back to this phase was largely due to the increase of testing and decrease in positive cases, which has moved us below the 5% positivity rate threshold.

We have quite a few updates to share with you regarding our hotel reopening date, visitor testing requirements, restaurants, and beach hours from today’s press conference:

Hotels, Airbnbs, villas, and guest houses can begin checking in guests on Saturday, September 19, 2020.  US Virgin Island residents who would like a staycation are allowed to stay in local hotels beginning today if they provide a local identification card.

All Travelers Arriving to the VI Must Show Proof of Negative COVID Test Results 13

One of the most significant changes announced at today’s press conference is that ALL travelers (residents and guests) entering the territory must present a negative COVID test result when arriving at one of the USVI airports.  Every traveler 15 years of age or older is required to produce either:

  1. A negative COVID-19 antigen (molecular/PCR/rapid) test result received within five days prior to travel to the USVI (the five day window is related to receiving your test results, not taking the test), or
  2. A positive COVID-19 antibody test result received within four months prior to travel to the USVI.

To expedite the arrival process at the airport, please register and upload your test results in advance of arrival on the USVI Travel Portal, which can be accessed here.

According to Governor Bryan, the government is working toward making rapid testing available at the airport so that guests who are unable to be tested prior to travel can be tested upon their arrival in the territory.  They anticipate that this system will be in place by the end of the month.  In the meantime, those who arrive without test results can be tested at one of our facilities on St. John or St. Thomas, or quarantine for up to 14 days while in the territory.

All Travelers Arriving to the VI Must Show Proof of Negative COVID Test Results 14

Restaurants are allowed to reopen for dining in, with the following conditions:

  • No serving alcohol at bar counters;
  • Restaurants are prohibited from seating more than six persons per table;
  • Tables must be at least six feet apart;
  • Patrons must wear masks upon entering the restaurant and while walking around, but may remove them at all times while seated; and
  • Employees must wear facial coverings at all times.

All bars that do not serve food will continue to remain closed.

All Travelers Arriving to the VI Must Show Proof of Negative COVID Test Results 15

Beaches will remain open until 4:00 pm on weekends and holidays, opening at 6:00 am the following day.  There are no restrictions on beach hours during the week.

No greater than 50 persons may gather in any given place, and social distancing of six feet is required.  Churches and other places of worship may reopen today, subject to the maximum person mandate, and attendees can partake in communion.

Casinos and gaming facilities are allowed to reopen on September 19, 2020.  Nursing homes and senior living facilities will remain closed.

All Travelers Arriving to the VI Must Show Proof of Negative COVID Test Results 16

We will keep you posted on any further updates, and we can’t wait to welcome you back!

Safer at Home, and Leisure Travel Guest Policy Update

Governor Albert Bryan announced that the Stay at Home order will be downgraded to Safer at Home starting Tuesday, September 8, 2020.  Additionally, the hotel check-in system will be reopened for guests on Friday, September 18, 2020.

The guidelines under the Safer at Home phase include:

  • Non-essential businesses open, bars remain closed, hotel reservations system closed;
  • Indoor/Outdoor recreation facilities open, no food or drink;
  • No gathering greater than 50, facial coverings and social distancing required;
  • Nursing homes closed to visitation;
  • Beaches closed at 4:00 pm on weekends and holidays.

The Governor also announced that starting on September 8, 2020, restaurants may once again resume dine-in services, with the following restrictions:

  • No serving of alcohol at the bar counters;
  • No seating of more than 6 persons per table;
  • Tables must be 6 feet apart; and
  • Patrons must wear masks at all times when not eating or drinking.

Finally, the news many of you have been anticipating – hotels may resume checking in guests on Friday, September 18, 2020, and may once again accept travel reservations starting on Saturday, September 12, 2020.

Be sure to watch for our summary of the next press conference on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 for additional announcements!

Governor Confirms Stay at Home Extension

Governor Confirms Stay at Home Extension 17

Governor Bryan confirmed at today’s press conference the extension of the Stay at Home order, which expires at 8:00 am on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.   Under this policy, non-essential businesses and schools will remain closed, and restaurants will remain open for take-out only.  There was no discussion regarding an extension of the visitor ban which is currently set to expire on September 18, 2020.

Governor Confirms Stay at Home Extension 18

According to Governor Bryan, we need to get the community spread down to an acceptable number.  Given that we are seeing a reduction in our positivity rate, he believes the Stay at Home order is working, and the government looks forward to relaxing the current policies if this trend continues.

“We are doing all of this just to keep people safe, and we ask that you do the right thing,” said the Governor, adding that he feels we are doing a tremendous job in complying with the guidelines, and asked that we continue to be smart and responsible.

Governor Confirms Stay at Home Extension 19
There are currently 9 COVID-19 positive patients in the hospital on St. Thomas, and 2 on St. Croix.

The government will be distributing free masks on St. John next week.   We will keep you posted as information is released about the mask distribution date and location.