How the USVI is Addressing COVID-19

How the USVI is Addressing COVID-19 1
Cruz Bay, March 16, 2020

Hi all, our governor and several senior government officials just held a press conference and addressed the way the US Virgin Islands – St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix – is handling the COVID-19 crisis. Here is what they said:

  1. As of this afternoon (March 16, 2020 at 1:30 p.m.), the US Virgin Islands only has one confirmed case of COVID-19. The government will not release which island the infected person lives on. The Governor stated he would not release the specific island because we live in a small community, and he wants to respect the individual’s privacy.
  2. Following the lead of many states, the US Virgin Islands will limit the number of people gathering to 50. This applies to bars and restaurants as well. Because of this, St. Thomas carnival has been postponed. If people and businesses do not adhere to the less than 50 rule, the Governor will consider a curfew. The Governor emphasized that he preferred not to implement a curfew but would if people did not comply.
  3. All public schools in the US Virgin Islands will close for at least three weeks beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
  4. The Governor asked that people avoid using public ferries unless absolutely necessary for the time being. He plans to continue discussions with the ferry operators to determine how to best reduce density to ensure the safety of passengers and crew.
  5. The director of VITEMA, the Territory’s emergency management agency, stated that there has not been any impact to our supply chain thus far, and none is anticipated. As you know, the majority of our food and supplies is brought into the Territory via ship.
  6. The director of the Port Authority stated that the airports on St. Thomas and St. Croix are open and will remain operational. He added that the airports are controlled by the FAA and that the federal government would have to make the decision to close the ports, which would include the airports and seaports. He did say that the situation is fluid and can change at anytime. But to reiterate, the airport on St. Thomas is open and will remain open.
  7. The Governor stated that all cruise ship activity has stopped for 30 days. As of today, travel between the US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands continues. The Governor stated he planned to speak with the Premier of the British Virgin Islands later today and will discuss best practices to keep travelers between the two countries safe.
  8. The Governor echoed the director of VITEMA’s statement and said there is not a shortage of food in the Territory.
  9. The Governor did not say that tourism should temporarily cease. He did not say to visit, and he did not say not to visit. We’re going to follow his lead on this one. If you cancel your trip, please come back and see us someday. If you do visit, please know that we are open, and you will be welcomed and treated kindly.
  10. And finally, the government officials stated that we all need to continue to be smart about this. We need to wash our hands. We need to practice social distancing. We need to self quarantine if we are feeling sick.

I would like to thank everyone who provided feedback today regarding how you would like News of St. John to continue. I was overwhelmed by the response. We will continue to share tidbits on island happenings. We will also continue to share information on COVID-19, its effects in the US Virgin Islands and our government’s response.

Thanks all. Be well. -Jenn xoxo


19 thoughts on “How the USVI is Addressing COVID-19”

  1. Hi Jenn,

    I read that BVI were implementing 14 day quarantine on folks arriving. USA was not on the list, but it also said the list was not exhaustive. Could you advise of how they are handling US visitors right now?

  2. Thank you Jen:). please keep all your news coming. I look forward to reading about “all things STJ” on your page. Supposed to visit over Easter but doesn’t look good. We will be back as soon as possible. xoxo

  3. My (now) wife and I planned to visit St. John in December of 2017 but were saddened to watch Irma unfold – not for us but the island. So in 2019 when we got engaged it became a quick decision to set St. John as our wedding destination in March of 2020.

    In the weeks as the Corona virus news untangled, our will got stronger every day that this trip would happen – even if we had to swim to the island!

    Two days into our marriage and four days into our vacation I can’t be any happier we made the trip. I am especially proud of the resolve of everyone from the hotel staff to the bartenders, waiters, and store clerks who have made our trip not just possible but truly memorable.

    Thank you St. John for not just welcoming us for our nupuals but keeping calm and islanding-on among this craziness. We look forward to many anniversaries here in the coming years. You will always be special to us!

  4. Jenn – Thank you so very much for the continued updates! Not only on the COVID-19 but our beloved STJ as well! Stay healthy and safe.
    Our prayers for the health and safety of the USVI.

  5. So how exactly are people supposed to come visit if gatherings of 50 or more are discouraged pretty much everywhere? Will there be less than 50 people at airports or on planes? How do you get to STJ if non-essential ferry travel is discouraged? Is vacation suddenly essential? STJ is paradise but we’re not immune to the effects of this pandemic. It’s global. If so many aspects of public life are being shut down in the states and around the world (at staggering cost) in the interest of public health, why should STJ be different?

  6. Our party of 4 still plans to keep our reservations for the first week of April in St John. We are keeping positive that domestic air travel will not be banned. Now our annual boat trip to the BVI looks as though wont happen due to the ban on international travel…. Really dont want a 2 week extended vacation due to going to the BVI.
    We really want the Islands to stay open!

  7. 11. The Governor reported a shortage of medical supplies in the territory. There are only 7 ventilators between STX and STT. STX has 40 one time use ventilators. STT has 0.

    12 There have been samples taken from 12 people and sent to CDC. 3 negative, 1 positive, and 8 waiting for results.

    • He also stated that they are set up to transport people out of the Territory. I was very confident watching his press conference Joan.

      • I think it important that the bad news be shared along with the good. People need to know what is really happening. The numbers this morning are 21 samples sent to CDC, 2 positive, 3 neg and still waiting for results on the rest. The second confirmed case is STT-STJ district. Lack of medical care is a real issue here. On this mornings radio talk show (15 minutes ago). The director of Health said they are working on a MOU for air evacuation. Not set up to go yet. Just like not having the test kits yet. This is a real place where real people live. Many of us old. PLEASE don’t encourage people to visit now.

  8. Hi thank you for the update. We are scheduled to fly to Saint Thomas and ferry over to Saint John on Friday 3/20. We also had a trip planned via ferry from Saint John to Virgin Gorda on 3/22. We are both US citizens. So far we are not being offered refunds for our travel or reschedule options. We love the island and are curious if we should be concerned about being turned away.

      • THe governor encourage people to NOT use the ferry unless “absolutely necessary. Is vacation travel necessary. It’s a day by day decision. No way of knowing. THe ferries may not be running by March 20

  9. We are looking for our 25th! visit, in 58days (May).. but it’s looking like we’ll have to wait unit November..
    I expect the impact on StJ economy is going to be worst than Irma and Maria! Jenn, you’ve been so successful at fund drives, start one for (our) St John family – ”Pay Forward to StJ”.


  10. Hi Jenn! In case I missed the survey, I would still love to submit my opinion…thank you for all of your posts. For year 30 coming up, I know (hopefully) that I’ll be there again, and you have kept me informed (thus ‘there’) throughout the rest of the year, so still close, with all of your posts. Maybe this year we’ll meet—and I can thank you personally! Keep up your treasures!

  11. Don’t know if you just heard today. Government briefing said to not travel to Mexico or Caribbean and is recommending all Americans postpone or cancel their leisure travel and stay home. Hope everyone takes heed We WILL get through this for sure and our little but great island and it’s people will back back bigger than ever if people don’t come in and expose more and more people.

  12. Hi just cancelled trip in April also cancelled after hurricane. Miss St John but firmly believe visitors should not tax your healthcare resources and possibly food supply. Will try again soon. Wishing you all well.

Leave a Comment