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COVID Update: Restaurant Closures, States Added to Mandatory Testing List

COVID Update: Restaurant Closures, States Added to Mandatory Testing List 1

Last night the territory reported an additional 11 positive COVID tests.  One of which was on St. John.  Bringing the Love City total cases during the pandemic to seven.  Three of these seven are currently active.

COVID Update: Restaurant Closures, States Added to Mandatory Testing List 2

 

Breakdown for the territory:

Tested:  4,395

Positive:  217

Negative:  4,084

Pending: 94

Active:  105

Recovered:  106

Deaths: 6

Three active cases on St. John doesn’t seem like a lot, right?  BUT, it is enough to close down a few of our favorite local businesses temporarily.  Both Skinny Legs and High Tide announced on Monday that they would be responsibly closing their doors temporarily “for the safety of our staff, our community and our guests.”

***Note:  No staff members for any of the listed businesses have tested positive for COVID.  The businesses are responsibly exercising caution based on POSSIBLE contact.

COVID Update: Restaurant Closures, States Added to Mandatory Testing List 3

COVID Update: Restaurant Closures, States Added to Mandatory Testing List 4

Sam and Jack’s Deli posted a similar message this morning and will be closed temporarily for a second time due to possible COVID-19 contact.  All three restaurants reported that employees may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are closed until test results are in.

COVID Update: Restaurant Closures, States Added to Mandatory Testing List 5

Additionally, the local veterinarian office and pet supply store, Canines, Cats and Critters, is closed for a short time today for the same reasons and will be open for regular hours tomorrow.  Emergency visits are available at any time.

COVID Update: Restaurant Closures, States Added to Mandatory Testing List 6

I know there have been a ton of questions and concerns in regards to the new travel policy.  I’ve recapped all that I can find on it below as well as the toll free number for the Dept of Tourism.

In light of the recent surge in positive test results in the territory, the Governor has implemented travel restrictions for those traveling from the following states and territories:

  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Puerto Rico
  • Utah
  • Kansas
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Texas

The above states are those with a positive testing rate greater than 10% of the population based on John Hopkins University data (updated July 13).  Travelers arriving in the territory from the above states as their ORIGIN – Not layover, will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test that was administered within FIVE DAYS OF ARRIVAL in the territory.

COVID Update: Restaurant Closures, States Added to Mandatory Testing List 7

Travelers under the age of 15 will not be required to provide a test result.  If travelers do not have a test result upon arrival, they will be required to quarantine for 14 days.  The above regulations apply to visitors and residents alike and they go into effect tomorrow – WEDNESDAY, JULY 15, 2020.

If you have questions, please call the Department of Tourism at 800-372-8784.

 

Two New St John Positive Tests: Governor Bryan Speaking at 1pm Today

Two New St John Positive Tests: Governor Bryan Speaking at 1pm Today 9

It was only a matter to time.

There has been a surge in cases of COVID on St Croix and St Thomas, and in last nights update from the Department of Health that uptick also made its way to St John.  There are two new positive tests on St John, bringing the total number of positive tests to six.  Both cases were travel related rather than spread in the community, which is a positive sign. Six total cases, and two new cases, is a very small number relative to what is happening across the country, but any new cases is a cause for caution and concern.

Read moreTwo New St John Positive Tests: Governor Bryan Speaking at 1pm Today

Governor Clarifies (lack of) Travel Policy

Governor Clarifies (lack of) Travel Policy 11

The Governor has done an excellent job keeping the virus off of the island of St John.  There have been only 4 positive tests to date.

However, his office issued a clarification to his statements at the press conference yesterday.  It turns out there is NOT yet a policy regarding limiting travel from certain states.  There is no need to cancel your flights yet.  That said, usually when he mentions that something could be coming in the future, it eventually does.  So we should keep a close eye on his weekly statements.

 

Governor Clarifies (lack of) Travel Policy 12

COVID 4th of July Weekend Update

COVID 4th of July Weekend Update 13

We have been lucky.  The reality is that St John still has only four positive COVID tests in total, and hasn’t had any in more than two weeks.  The last positive test was on June 17th, and there have been 70 negative test since that date.

 

COVID 4th of July Weekend Update 14

This is truly remarkable, especially considering the surge that is happening in hot spots across the country.  Many people on the island were concerned in mid-June about whether the virus would come to St John in a significant way now that the doors were open.  It hasn’t happened…..yet.

The bad news is that St Croix seems to be having a surge in positive tests that are mostly due to traveling workers at the Limetree Bay Refinery.

As a result of those positive tests, the various government agencies are aggressively enforcing all aspects of the Governor’s Executive Orders, including on St John.  Please remember that when a restaurant stays open, they due so at the risk of being held responsible for the actions of its customers.  If people are in the establishment without a mask when they go to the restroom, or while standing in line to be seated, then the restaurant is held responsible.  So please wear a mask and use the disinfectant even if you don’t like the policy.

The good news is we have all done an excellent job in keeping the virus off the island of St John.  We are all in this together.  If we can continue to be vigilant, we can continue to enjoy this wonderful island into the summer months.

First Results from Surge in St John COVID Testing……..

First Results from Surge in St John COVID Testing........ 15

There were two positive COVID tests last week and the first positive test from community transmission.  As a result, some people on island have been a little on edge as their friends and relatives swarmed the health department to get tested, and patiently waited in quarantine for the results.

The first two rounds of results are in, and the results are fantastic so far:

  • One June 22nd, the Health Department reported that 14 tests came back negative, and zero positive.
  • On June 23rd, the Health Department reported another 28 tests came back negative!  That is a huge number considering only 112 people on St John have been tested in total.  Two results are TBD.

This essentially means that the contact tracing that was implemented in the aftermath of the positive tests last week have so far come back negative.  This is a hopeful sign that there was not significant community spread following the two positive tests.

It is likely that a significant number of people will continue to get tested this week.  It is quite possible/probable that new positive tests will still be found in the coming days and weeks.  But 42 negative tests and zero positive tests this week is a very positive sign that the Governor’s policies are working and that community spread is very limited.

Please continue to be vigilant on island about wearing your mask around other people.  Our testing numbers are very good but we are all in this together to keep it that way.

Here is a link to the previous COVID update.

Virtual St. John Carnival

Virtual St. John Carnival 16

The COVID-19 pandemic became a real thing in the Virgin Islands just before the St. Thomas Carnival this spring.  The annual celebrations on each island have always been a time for our communities to come together and the cancellation of both St. Thomas and St. John’s carnivals was a hard pill to swallow for everyone.

The St. John Festival always ends on the 4th of July with a 24 hour celebration of Emancipation Day on the third (We will be doing a piece on the history behind Carnival around the first of the month!).

To say that this gathering is needed this year is an understatement.  With 1 new travel related COVID case on St. John this week and the extension of the State of Emergency to July 12th, the St. John Festival has been cancelled.  But, the show must go on!

The USVI Department of Tourism and its Division of Festivals will host a virtual carnival, complete with local bands and DJ’s, virtual food fair and culture pop-ups!  Tune in between June 27 and July 4 for a little slice of St. John culture on the USVI Festivals website or Facebook page.  Here is the full schedule:

Virtual St. John Carnival 17

 

 

 

New Ferry Schedule – June 10, 2020

New Ferry Schedule - June 10, 2020 18

The passenger ferry has expanded their service as of today!

New Ferry Schedule - June 10, 2020 19

 

Notice the weekday service is a bit more “back to normal” than the weekends, but they are still making their last trip to Red Hook from Cruz Bay at 8PM instead of Midnight.   If you’re coming in on a later flight, make sure to make other arrangements!  We posted some guidance about private transportation as well as the Crown Bay ferry schedule last week.

We will keep you up to date about the schedules as they evolve!

 

Live Music is Back!

Live Music is Back! 20

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Live Music is Back!  And here’s who is doing what this week>>>>

We are slowly rolling our way back into a regular momentum here on St. John.  I went out for take-out last night and it was great seeing one of my favorite restaurants as full as they could be by current capacity restrictions.  Employees busy and smiling behind their masks.  Unfamiliar faces at tables and the bar.  Tourism has trickled back in.  And, as scary as moving forward may seem, it was good to see my friends behind a busy bar again!

Live music was one of the very first things to be restricted.  And that’s reasonable.  People tend to gather and stay in places longer when there is live entertainment.  Just prior to the stay at home orders, we had VI Jam Fest, several nationally touring acts at different venues around St. John, St. Thomas Carnival around the corner.  Bars and restaurants were testing the live music game for the first time.  Most of the long-standing ones were doing seven days a week with a lot of really fun things on the horizon.  And then, just like everything else, it stopped dead in its tracks.

Well, the first to stop and the last to get started.  Thank you Governor Bryan for bringing live music back!  Beginning on Monday June 8, 2020, in the Virgin Islands, the show can go on!  With restrictions…

From the Office of the Governor – Issued and Effective on June 1, 2020:

Live Music is Back! 21
Pam and Broheem at Cruz Bay Landing
  • No live bands or DJ’s in open public areas
  • Event centers and banquet halls must comply with mass gathering mandates of less than 50 people or 50% of their occupancy capacity (Whatever is less)
  • No live music or DJ’s permitted after 12 midnight
  • Live band shall be set up with space of ten (10) feet between the band and patrons using social distancing principles.
  • A clear barrier between live music and patrons may be considered but is not required.

Now that we all know the expectations and regulations, who is doing what?

A few of the staples for live music are taking their time on figuring out how to manage performances with the current regulations.  Once again, I want to remind you that the government will shut down and/or fine these businesses if they are caught being non-compliant so, let’s bear with ALL of small businesses while we get through the beginnings of this blue phase.

But, a couple of our favorite venues are jumping right back in!  The following restaurants have scheduled performances, but be sure to check their Facebook pages and websites for additional updates.

  • Miss Lucy’s – Thursday night open mic starts again on June 25th.  Every Thursday at 5:30-?
  • Lovango Rum Bar –  Evening and Sunset music regularly beginning this weekend.
  • Cruz Bay Landing – Starting up this week 6-9PM
    Live Music is Back! 22
    Live music is back at Maho Crossroads starting this weekend
    • Fridays – IslandGirlMusic- Erin Hart
    • Saturdays –  Artist TBA
    • Sundays – Pam and Broheem (Start date on the Sunday shows TBD)
  • Maho Crossroads – Starting Sunday
    • Ital and Echo People – Sunday 2-3PM
    • Mermaid Monday – 2-4PM – IslandGirlMusic- Erin Hart
    • Regular afternoon music beginning next week.

If you are not here to check out the tunes this week, Lauren and Bo Magnie will host one more virtual open mic live from St. John this Thursday at 5:30!