Governor Bryan began today’s press conference by addressing rumors regarding various closures in the territory. This afternoon, he released the latest mandates regarding restaurants, boaters, masks, and funerals:
While the COVID-19 task force entertained the concept of limiting restaurants to take-out only, they decided against penalizing a majority of the restaurants as a result of the violations of a few. Instead, starting immediately, restaurants are on notice that DLCA officers will be strictly enforcing all applicable restaurant policies currently in place, and violators will be subject to complete closure of their restaurant for thirty days without an opportunity for a hearing during that time. The task force will also be reviewing the data to determine if certain restaurants can increase their outdoor-seating capacity, and whether restaurants with proper sanitization equipment can resume the use of glass and silverware.
Effective immediately, boaters are prohibited from ‘rafting’ (tying vessels together) in all bays and anchorages in the territory. Additionally, vessels must maintain at least 12 feet between them at all times, except in the case of emergency, and vessels cannot anchor in designated swim areas. Violators may be assessed up to $10,000.00 per incident.
Anyone in violation of the current mask policy will be subject to a $50.00 fine for the first offense, and $100.00 for any additional violation(s).
Attendance at funerals is limited to immediate family only, and no more than 10 family members at one time.
No new mandates were given regarding beach closures. Beaches will remain open on weekdays, with weekend closures continuing at 4:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday, and re-opening at 6:00 am the following day.
There have been 19 positive cases to date on St. John, with four currently active cases.
The Governor stated that in a pandemic situation, it is important to rely on data instead of hunches. According to the most current data gathered by our government, out of the three categories in which the virus can spread (travel, close contact, and community), travel has yielded the least number of positive infections.
The authority to close our borders lies with the President and Congress, but our local government continues to review all of the latest data in an effort to create mandates to keep our residents and visitors safe. According to our government’s interpretation of the data, our main vulnerability for the virus stems from social gatherings, such as small house parties and family get-togethers where participants aren’t adhering to the guidelines established by the CDC and Department of Health. As such, Governor Bryan pleaded for everyone to to take personal responsibility in an effort to reduce the positive number of cases and surges in the territory.
“We all want to get our lives back – but let me tell you that’s not going to happen any time soon,” said the Governor, further cautioning that “We will be enforcing these mandates today and will be unforgiving and brutal – no exceptions.”
He ended his message on a more uplifting note, saying, “This too shall pass, and we will get back to a new normal. And when we do, I want you back there healthy, living your best lives. All of us, together.”