Good Monday Morning! Normally I would wait until after the Monday Government House Press Conference to update you on COVID-19 information and changes to regulations. But, this weekend, Lieutenant Governor Roach signed an Executive Order making some somewhat immediate changes to travel testing protocol. So for those of you with upcoming travel plans to the USVI, I wanted to get this out immediately.
OK, so first and foremost, if you are traveling to the USVI after August 12, 2021:
The USVI Travel Portal will no longer be accepting ANTIBODY TESTS for travel into the territory.
I’m going to get into the nitty gritty of the Executive Order here in a minute, but this is important if you are traveling this week! As of Friday, August 13, 2021, there are two ways to be cleared for travel into the USVI.
- Those who have been vaccinated IN THE USVI, may upload their vaccination information into the PolarisKey Digital Vax Pass for registration and into the USVI Travel Portal for approval to travel into the territory.
- If you were vaccinated elsewhere or are currently unvaccinated, all travelers aged five and older must submit a negative COVID-19 Molecular (PCR) or Antigen (Rapid) test administered within five days of commencement of travel. The test results must be uploaded to the USVI Travel Portal and a green QR code of approval must be awarded in order for travel to be approved.
The digital vax pass for those vaccinated within the USVI only went live a few weeks ago (July 28) and I would imagine that eventually they will work to open this up for those of you who have been vaccinated elsewhere. But, for now, these are the travel requirements. I do apologize profusely on behalf of this last minute change to those of you who now need to scramble to get a test this week or who have already paid for a antibody test in preparation for upcoming travel (I did the same!). With this new Delta variant, things are, once again, ever changing as will be the policies in the USVI.
On August 7, 2021, the USVI Department of Health reported 336 active cases of COVID-19…FOURTEEN of which are on St. John! Those of you who have been following know that this is a HUGE number for our little island! Based on the charts provided by the DOH, this is an all-time high on all three islands since the beginning of all of this in March of 2020.
Two weeks ago, Governor Bryan rolled back the decision for kids to go back to school in person and that they would start this next school year, once again, with virtual learning. With the Governor’s announcement last week that “nothing has changed” in regards to restaurant and bar rules, I guess Lt. Governor Roach’s Executive Order (dated August 6,2021) which supplements the “Safer at Home Order” from March 13, 2020, comes with no surprise.
Additional regulations being put into place AS OF AUGUST 13, 2021 are as follows:
- Mass gatherings capacity maximum lowered from 100 people to no more than fifty people. Mass gatherings of FULLY VACCINATED individuals may exceed fifty people up to 100 but must be approved by the DOH
- A beach curfew will be in effect from 4PM to 5AM on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. So, beaches are closed at 4PM on weekends and on holidays until September 7, 2021.
And, as always, the mask mandates stands: Wear a mask in ALL PUBLIC SPACES!
Like I said, I apologize for the abrupt changes early on a Monday morning, but I wanted to get the travel info out there ASAP. I’ll be watching the Governor’s Press Conference later today and will update you later this week with any additional changes if necessary. Right now, our beaches, trails, bars, shops and restaurants are open. The USVI is still greeting tourism with enthusiasm, but we must take care of our people and our frontline workers. So, please, respect the mandates and regulations in the territory even if there are none in your homes state. This new variant has all of us scrambling once again to figure out how to do what’s right….let’s push through this next phase together so we can keep those doors open to incoming visitors!
Otherwise, I hope you have a beautiful start to your week…I promise I have some fun and uplifting posts prepared for the coming days that will give all of the good feels!