Happy Hump Day! And, we are halfway through the week! How’s everyone doing out there? Things seem to have calmed down a WEE bit on St. John this past week. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still super busy, but it doesn’t feel like we are bursting at the seams anymore. And, seemingly, the government imposed mandates in regards to COVID-19 have remained effective through the Winter and Spring Break booms. On Monday, Governor Bryan announced a few more small steps to loosen some of the current COVID restrictions in light of positive cases remaining low and vaccination distribution remaining high in the USVI.
First things first, let me stress that there have been NO CHANGES at all to mask mandates (required in ALL public areas where social distancing is not possible) and testing for travel. Even if you are fully vaccinated, you still need a negative COVID-19 test or a positive antibody test in order to travel into the USVI.
The following test results are accepted for entry via the USVI Travel Portal:
- A negative COVID-19 Molecular (PCR) or Antigen (Rapid) test administered within five days of commencement of travel.
- A positive COVID-19 Antibody test administered within four months of commencement of travel.
For more information on testing, please check out the last update we did in March. Nothing has changed since then but I am following along and will let you know as soon as anything does!
While we are talking about testing, another arrest was made last week on St. Thomas under the charges of “Fradulent Charges Upon the Government” for falsification of COVID-19 test results for travel (among other charges…read the full report here). This particular woman, Breanna K. Ward, 34, of Kingwood, TX, tested positive for COVID and then falsified her documents in order to enter the territory. There have been four arrests that I can count based on the VIPD logs, three on St. Croix and one on St. Thomas. Bottom line is, buy travel insurance, take the test and don’t break the law. If adjusting your travel plans in order to protect other people doesn’t mesh well with you…Well, maybe go somewhere else? I’d imagine being arrested at the airport probably puts a larger damper on vacation plans then having to reschedule due to a positive test result. 🙂
Ok, now the bad news is out of the way…Ready for some positive stuff?
On Monday, Governor Bryan announced that, effective Friday, April 23, there will be no more beach curfew on weekends and holidays! Very exciting stuff with Memorial Day and the Fourth of July right around the corner 🙂
He did say that big parties on the beach will not be tolerated. However, we can now enjoy lazy afternoons dwindling into sunset on the beaches any day of the week.
Governor Bryan also announced the loosening of social distancing regulations in restaurants on Monday. If you have tried to get a table at just about any restaurant over the past few months, you may agree that this is a great step in the right direction. Many places still cannot seat at the approved 75% capacity because their dining areas can’t accommodate that many people while still keeping tables six feet apart. But, also effective on Friday, April 23, tables will only need to be placed four feet apart,which should open up some space for additional seating at many establishments.
Just to recap, these are the current rules to pay attention to if you are dining out while visiting:
- MASK UP: Masks must be worn at all times within an establishment unless you are seated at a table. Go to the bathroom? Put your mask on. Approaching the host stand? Mask up. Going to chat with a friend at a neighboring table? Yup, you guessed it…Mask on. Sitting down and enjoying a great meal and cocktails? Mask off and enjoy!
- No restrictions on party size for dining.
- Establishments are operating at 75% capacity.
- Tables must be spaced four feet apart (As of Friday, April 23).
- No bar service. Take out window and table service only.
- This is not a rule, but a firm recommendation- Call ahead to your dining establishment of choice. Make reservations if you are able. Even with the loosening of this restriction, it’s likely still going to be difficult for some time to walk-in to The Terrace, Extra Virgin, etc. in the middle of dinner service and score a table.
These are the current rules but, please, be patient. Eight months ago the entire territory was closed to visitors. Now, we have our doors wide open and are able to enjoy evenings out without much restriction. I have high hopes that by the Fourth of July we will be bellied up to the bar with a fete happening in town. Fingers crossed for Carnival vibes!
As of Monday, the USVI marked 51 active COVID cases with only one on St. John.
We do grieve the loss of an elderly man on St. Thomas earlier this month, marking the 27th Virgin Islander to lose their life to the effects of COVID-19. That may not seem like a very high number to you. But, in a community as tightly knit as the Virgin Islands, every single one of those lives lost caused a territory wide impact. Our thoughts go out to all of the families who have experienced the loss of a loved one during this pandemic.