Governor Announces Big Changes to Pre-Travel Testing, Bars, Restaurants

Governor Announces Big Changes to Pre-Travel Testing, Bars, Restaurants

The Governor’s Update as recapped by contributor Keri LaMar:
THE CURRENT TRAVEL POLICY HAS CHANGED:

The 72-hour testing requirement has been extended to FIVE DAYS and now includes TEN STATES.
EFFECTIVE WEDNESDAY, JULY 15, 2020, all travelers ages 15 and older who are residents of the following ten states must be tested within FIVE DAYS of travel to the territory. If a traveler does not arrive with test results (either a negative virus test or a positive antibody test), they must self-quarantine for 14 days.
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY:
• All bars are in the territory are ordered closed. Restaurants can continue to serve drinks, but no counter service is allowed.
• The prohibition on sale of alcohol after 11:00 pm remains in effect.
• All beaches will close at 4:00 pm on weekends and holidays until further notice.
• Gaming and casinos closed immediately
If cases continue to rise, if we don’t see our numbers decreasing by next week, we will close down the hotel reservation system as before.
FOR QUESTIONS ABOUT TRAVEL, please call the Department of Tourism: (800) 372-8784
It is always best to get the information first hand, so please watch the recorded press conference on the Government House – US Virgin Islands Facebook page.

38 thoughts on “Governor Announces Big Changes to Pre-Travel Testing, Bars, Restaurants”

  1. Huge overreaction in my mind. Knee jerk reactions like this, based on expected slight increases, may leave your beautiful island in a sorry state. You have to balance the overall impact of this virus (extremely low in your territory) with the impact of closing down your economy again. Be smart and think this through or you will set your territory back worse than the hurricanes. Good luck.

    • The governor is protecting the island residents with this order. The islands have practically no healthcare system, how are they going to deal with a big number of cases there? I am sure they don’t have many ventilators or large stock piles of PPE. Too many places are burying their heads in the sand pretending this isn’t an issue … I always appreciate when I see a Governor actually choosing to protect lives.

      • I am also Paul, just from New Jersey. I agree with you that the Governor’s first responsibility is to protect the lives of USVI citizens. You are correct that health care facilities in the USVI are fragile, and an outbreak of coronavirus would be devastating. An economy can always bounce back; dead people can’t.

        Paul Newell

  2. Thanks for the update. I have travels planned to St John in Mid-Aug and will keep an eye on this. (Not in one of the listed States, at the moment.)

    • Barry, nobody is going to spend an hour or more out of their day to find out about your test questions (especially when they already posted the number: FOR QUESTIONS ABOUT TRAVEL, please call the Department of Tourism: (800) 372-8784)

    • Barry there’s rapid testing in almost every state now. Make an appointment for a rapid test 4-5 days before your flight . Google rapid covid tests in your area.

  3. Paul,

    You may not understand how small the islands are, or how close-knit and interactive our island’s people are. We had kept a lid on the number of cases, thinking there is no such thing as expendable people when it comes to the sake of our economy.

    We are accustomed to “tightening our belts” when necessary. We believe we are safer to not introduce more virus than we would be if tourism brought it along with the income.

    Patience and concern for our fellow man tops money here. We prefer to open when it’s safe. You cannot fault us for that.

    • You must test if your flight originates in a state with a 10% or greater positivity rate. However, I’d play it safe and get tested before going just because you don’t want to make anyone sick.. and, just in case your state is added while on the island.

  4. “You’re just overreacting,” said Columbus who brought dread diseases to natives of the Americas. Do what you need to do, sir, to keep the Virgin Islands safe. The economy may suffer in the short run, but those who truly love and respect your islands will be back in droves as soon as it’s safe for everyone.

    • Look at Vaulthealth.com. We are in GA and just ordered tests for our family. It’s a 2-3 day turnaround max with their tests. We travel 7/21 so will do test on 16th and should have results in time.

    • He is protecting his citizens- many of whom may not be able to fight Covid. Anyone who claims he is overreacting or making a knee jerk decision is likely from a state where the majority of people think the virus isn’t real and would argue wearing a mask. That kind of mindset is WHY your states will be under scrutiny. It’s completely pompous and self serving. Im sorry your vacation plans are interrupted- some people would prefer to liver versus profit. We have learned that unless swift action is taken as signs point to a rise is cases it will eventually be too late. I applaud his good decisions. Have some compassion for others people! Stay home until this is over.

    • I live in Dallas and have family and dear friends on St. John and St. Thomas. Please do not visit until Texas shows some overall success in dealing with this.

    • I’m certain most states ,especially with high rates of infections , have rapid testing available. Call around to urgent cares. Google rapid covid tests near you. I’m in Alabama and found several places.

  5. It appears from the CDC that the test results can be positive (you currently have the virus), negative (you had the virus and are over it) or not detected ( you don’t have the virus and have not had the virus). Is he saying that the only travelers can be those who have had the virus and now test negative (they are over it)?

  6. I would venture to guess that having proof of a negative test result within five days of arriving to the USVI would be sufficient and acceptable proof. We may not be able to control how long it takes for the test results to be provided by the lab to the test taker.

  7. Looks like we’ll going to be using our travel insurance . With our flight scheduled to leave on a Monday July 20, it won’t be possible to get tested on a Thursday and get the results back in time.

    • Do you have travel insurance that will cover covid ? Any insurance I looked up said that it would cover medical for contracting covid, but not flights because of closure or anything related to covid . They say if it’s reasonably expected then it’s not covered. ):

  8. Christopher Columbus? Really? Sad that science is being ignored by the Gov. but go ahead ruin the economy. For those under 70, the fatality rate is 0.05%, as much as or lower than the flu, which is transmitted the same way. protect the elderly. wash your hands wear a mask and don’t sneeze at people. evryting going to be irie, Gov.

  9. Angela is absolutely right, I’m a physician in Arizona who’s traveling to St John for 2 weeks in August, and our turn around times are up to 2 weeks for non-hospitalized patients. The only states with the bandwidth to provide 5 day turn around testing are the states not in crisis right now, any state on that list of >10% positive cases is greater than 5 days turn around time.

    My strategy is to get a test done 10-14 days before I travel, and that way I at least show up with a negative test, and if I’m questioned on the timing of it, explain that 5 day turn around tests are physically impossible to obtain in the states listed as high risk, and my choice was to have a 10 day old test or no test at all.

    It’s not the job of the USVI government to know turn around tests in each individual state, but hopefully this information will disseminate to them so that they know their current guidelines are impractical and impossible to implement.

    • I would be fine also, if those from hotspots were restricted from coming here entirely, until their state numbers are corralled.

      The medical community here would be overwhelmed by any sizable wave of new cases. Please keep this walking disaster where you live. Our community health is worth more than your vacation. Thank you

    • Jonathan, your strategy will require that you get testing when you arrive and you quarantine until you get your results back. So I urge you to make arrangements now with a private taxi company to transport you all the way to your villa/accommodations and be prepared to stay there until your test results are back. Don’t forget to disclose to the taxi driver/company that you will be arriving without the proper testing in place. Also, arrange for your villa provisioned ahead of time. Landlubber Logistics can do this for you for a minimal fee. Testing has been coming back in about 72 hours. And hopefully, at that point you all have the negative testing you need to go out and enjoy the beaches and other things St. John has to offer.

    • I’m in Alabama and we have several places with rapid testing. I called and made a Monday morning appointment for a Thursday morning flight. I asked what would happen if they ran out of tests. They said they get shipments early Monday mornings, so that’s not likely… but, if that did happen they’d send me to another clinic with rapid testing. Results in 15 minutes. I’d be afraid to show up with a negative result 7-10 days prior because they will probably have you tested there. I read they will escort you to your facilities where you will remain until the results are back. I wish they could just test everyone at customs or even before getting on the plane with a rapid test. Anyway, I’d hope Arizona would have the rapid test available. If not maybe you could drive to a nearby state that does.

    • Jonathan, your strategy will require that you get testing when you arrive and you quarantine until you get your results back. So I urge you to make arrangements now with a private taxi company to transport you all the way to your villa/accommodations and be prepared to stay there until your test results are back. Don’t forget to disclose to the taxi driver/company that you will be arriving without the proper testing in place. Also, arrange for your villa provisioned ahead of time. Landlubber Logistics can do this for you for a minimal fee. Testing has been coming back in about 72 hours. And hopefully, at that point you all have the negative testing you need to go out and enjoy the beaches and other things St. John has to offer.

  10. I have a three week vacation in St John beginning August 5th. Have been coming for over 20 years, and it is the highlight of my year
    But I would never want to put anyone in St John at risk, so will follow the news and see what the Governor has to say. I am not in one of the 10 states where a test is mandated before arriving. But knowing that could change, I contacted my primary care doc and explained the situation. He said he could schedule me as soon as it seemed necessary and I would have the results in 1.5 days I know that may not be so in other places but you might try calling your primary care doc if you haven’t already. Let’s pray for few cases in the USVI.
    Mary. NC

  11. Let’s obey the law of the land. Keep people safe and we will always be able to continue to visit.
    Respect, Peace and Love to All

  12. You know this order has no real bite. If you have the virus you must self-quarantine. Who monitors that? In Australia, they actually take you from the airport to a hotel and keep you there for 14 days. There is a guard on each floor to make sure you go nowhere and they bring you all your meals. Many states had this same “self-quarantine” requirement. I can guarantee few followed it.

  13. St John, St Thomas as well as the surrounding islands have been successful so far at keeping COVID-19 numbers down. We love these islands and the people who live there. Everyone needs to do their part to keep these beautiful islands and the people who live there safe, healthy and well.

  14. I would be fine also, if those from hotspots were restricted from coming here entirely, until their state numbers are corralled.

    The medical community here would be overwhelmed by any sizable wave of new cases. Please keep this walking disaster where you live. Our community health is worth more than your vacation. Thank you

  15. We live in Pennsylvania and they really are not testing anyone who does not have symptoms and it can takes weeks to get the results back. This is not feasible where we live. Also, even if I were able to get tested and the results back within five days before my trip, who is to say I will not test positive in that five day turnaround time? Our trip is not until May of 2021. Hope this slows down by then, but I do not see this going away anytime soon.

  16. If you are from one of those states you should be staying home. Not getting on a plane and not going anywhere. Be smart. If you don’t have access to results within the timeframe required stay home. Do you want to risk being quarantined on vacation. You can easily contract COVID within that timeframe and risk infecting a lot of people. If you decide to go anyway, wear your mask and wash your hands. And wear it properly all the time. That includes covering your nose!

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