It has been nine months since the US Virgin Islands first took an active role in our response to the world-wide Covid-19 pandemic. After temporarily halting many of our services and shutting down the island for incoming guests in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus and to keep our residents and guests safe, the USVI Government and Covid-19 Task Force implemented a gradual, multi-phased approach for our re-opening in a safe and practical way.
At today’s weekly press conference, Richard Motta Jr., the Governor’s Director of Communications reminded us that effective today, we take another step forward in our re-opening process – and bars (the establishment itself, to be distinguished from the counters at the bars) and nightclubs are allowed to re-open today subject to a few restrictions:
- Patrons are not allowed to congregate, sit, or stand around the bar counter or surrounding area, and alcohol may only be ordered by guests and served by staff at specifically designated table seating areas.
- No alcohol shall be ordered or served at the bar counter.
- To comply with social distancing guidelines, tables must be at least 6 feet apart, and there may not be more than 6 guests per table.
- Bars must stop selling and serving alcohol at 11:00 pm, and must close for patrons by 12:00 am.
- Masks and facial coverings are required at all bars and restaurants except while guests are seated at their designated area.
Live music & Disc Jockeys
One of the most enjoyable activities on St. John is our endless supply of live music. On any given pre-Covid night, one could find at least two or three venues featuring one of our popular island musicians or bands. Starting tonight, we are excited to share that entertainment and live music is allowed again, also subject to a few restrictions:
- Live music and DJ’s are allowed to perform in licensed establishments.
- All entertainment must end at midnight, as the establishments must be closed at that time.
- Live bands and performers must keep at least a 10 feet distance between themselves and the patrons. A clear barrier between patrons and musicians may be considered, but is not required.
Mass gathering restrictions
All restaurants, bars, and other establishments with the exception of grocery stores are limited to 50% (or half) of the regular occupancy as established by the venue’s business license – or 100 customers, whichever is less.
In other promising news, Monife Stout, VI Department of Health Director of Immunization announced that our local residents can expect to see a Covid-19 vaccination offered to residents in the territory as early as this month. The vaccine is expected to be administered in phases, with the first phase for the most vulnerable in our community, including our first responders, individuals with pre-existing illnesses or chronic diseases, and the elderly, followed by the second phase which includes incarcerated individuals, and the homeless, followed by the third phase which will include the general public, and children. The vaccine will be federally funded, so it sounds like it will be free for all USVI residents who wish to participate!