Good morning! I wanted to take some time today to update you all on a few things that I had specific requests about. Some of it is good, some not so much…
I’m afraid I have a bit of not so great news this morning. As of yesterday, Friday June 19, St. John has two new cases of COVID-19. As of June 12, there had only been two cases in Love City and both were travel related. Tuesday we were informed of an additional travel related case and yesterday our first community transmission was announced.
I think the thing to remember about St. John is that, while this doesn’t seem to be a high number, we have had ZERO cases reported here since the beginning of April. And now there are two in one week. One of which is a resident who has not traveled outside of the territory. Additionally, STJ is unique in the fact that you can hop around from business to business in just a few hours time (in Cruz Bay or Coral Bay). So, it gets a bit scary when people who are infected could be moving around so quickly, unaware that they are carrying and spreading the disease.
If you’re traveling to St. John in the coming weeks, please exercise caution and be aware of the current limitations, social distancing and regulations. Monitor your temperature and if you are feeling ANY irregularities with your health, call the Department of Health COVID hotline immediately (340-776-1519). For both your own safety and for that of the Love City community.
Staff members in shops and restaurants have been given the overwhelming task of being the messenger on some of these regulations. Please be patient with them! Yes, they are glad to be back to work and open, but wearing a mask for an eight hour shift with the temperature and humidity index rising every day is not an easy task! BIG LOVE to our service staff on island! Buy them a drink, throw a little extra on that tip and/or kick them a little extra kindness while you’re here!
- Capacity Restrictions
- All businesses may only operate at half capacity or up to 50 people, whatever is less. Restaurants are restricted to parties no more than 6 people and must keep tables and bar stools spaced six feet apart.
- No Mask – No Service
- ALL businesses in the territory require their staff to wear masks. They also require their guests and customers to wear masks. The exception to this rule is if you are seated at your table or the bar in a restaurant. When entering the establishment, going to the lavatory or otherwise walking about, you are required to wear a mask. All stores and public transportation; grocery, taxi, ferry, boutiques, jewelry, gas stations, etc., require their patrons and guests to wear masks at all times. For now, this is a government mandated policy and businesses are at risk of being fined and/or closed if they are not compliant.
- Monday June 22- Single Use Plates, Cups and Flatware in all Restaurants and Bars
- As of Monday, June 22, ALL restaurants will be required to use single use, disposable plates, cups and flatware. This is a huge impact on both the bottom line for the restaurants AND for our environment. I will update you with more detailed information on this in Monday morning’s Restaurant Report. In the meantime, if you are coming down, start looking around for reusable cutlery sets (I love my bamboo set!). This is an easy pre-vacay purchase that can lighten your footprint a little! As far as cups go, I personally carry an insulated cup with me everywhere. Many shops and restaurants on island carry them. Its a great souvenir, a way to support a local business AND it keeps your drink cold! So, before you go for the plastic cup, ask about purchasing a reusable one to use and then take home.
- Temperature scans are being conducted for each visitor and resident arriving at the STT airport. Masks are required upon disembarking the plane, while in the airport and in all modes of public transportation. Details about that were outlined in Safe Travels and Comfortable Arrivals.
- If you suspect that you may have any symptoms but you must travel, PLEASE arrange private transportation and quarantine immediately upon arrival. This is not just for the community’s protection, but also for your own. Our health care system is…well, it’s on an island. They don’t have the medical resources to care for all of our residents sometimes so the impact of a lot of travel related cases that need hospitalization could make things a bit tricky.
All of this being said (And I’m sorry about the blunt nature of it) we are definitely seeing a lot of new smiling faces running around and everyone is back to work and pretty busy. So that’s all great! These pointers are basically to help you to help us show you a great time and an amazing vacation!
The Westin is back in full swing, almost. Cruz Bay Watersports is offering sailing and power boat excursions as well as dinghy rentals. The pool and the beach are open with social distancing guidelines in place as well as limited seating in the pool area. Additionally, you need to call housekeeping ahead of time for pool towels to be delivered to your room. The poolside towel rental booth is currently closed.
Snorkel’s restaurant and bar is offering takeout only from noon-6PM and the Deli is open from 6AM-6PM. The spa is currently closed but the gym is open from 7AM-6PM. Housekeeping is not operating at present but you can call the front desk to replenish any items that you need!
Live music is currently back in business at a number of different venues! You can catch local players at the following venues right now!
- Miss Lucy’s – Thursday night open mic
- Cruz Bay Landing – Friday-Sunday 6-9PM
- Maho Crossroads – Afternoon music on the weekends
- Bikin’s on the Beach at Honeymoon
- Lovango Rum Bar – Tuesday-Saturday music from 6-8PM
Schedules vary but check the venues’ websites and Facebook pages to see what’s going on while you’re here!
There’s a pretty big wave of Sahara Dust rolling this way from Africa! This is great news for a few reasons and not so great for some others. For one….The most important one…dust inhibits the formation of tropical storms. So the more dust, the less chance of another named storm while it’s hangin’ out! On the flip side of that, it also means no rain…and things are a bit brown right now. But, the Bougainvillea and Flamboyant trees are popping with color and I’ll take a brown hillside with flowers over the chance of a tropical storm any day of the week!
The Sahara Dust also makes for AMAZING sunsets. So if it’s hazy, hot and not so pretty by day…Just wait til 6:30 or so. I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised!— Anna Marie is going to do a more in depth post about this phenomenon of nature next week….so stay tuned!
That’s all I’ve got for today. But I appreciate you all reaching out and asking me for specific news! There’s a lot to cover and a lot of amazing stories to tell so keep your positivity and feedback coming! We are listening! And have a GREAT weekend!
19 thoughts on “STJ Weekend Update – COVID-19, The Westin and More!”
Please remind restaurant goers that it is also VERY important to wear your mask while waiting for food. Our island can not afford an enormous outbreak nor can the residents absorb the cost of uninsured healthcare.
It has been 15 years since I gave my heart to St John as my refuge for times of quiet peace and pensive thought especially in difficult times. There is nothing I do not love but it is truly the spirit of the island and the love of the people which call me to return.
Every word of this newsletter speaks to me. St. John is a gift to the world with its own people and their culture which provide the kindness that welcomes all.
We are grateful for its existence and as visitors we have an obligation to leave only footprints in the sand . To visitors, I beg you , do the right thing for yourselves , your families and the people of St John . At the very least we can do for them for sharing a bit of paradise with us. ❤️
Since the very beginning, I have been supporting St John by shopping for masks and buffs @ http://www.hibiscusjazz.com. They ate cloth masks with turtles and St John on them . Sent from St John, it takes roughly three days to the US mainland!!!
Most of all, do the right thing! Follow the rules or honestly find a place in Florida to go but you might need to wear a mask there, too ! Some people didn’t follow the rules here! #nomorecovid.
Reusable cups are a great idea! That being said, would it be safe to assume that we could use our own refillable cups in a restaurant, bar etc.., and carry it with you and purchase a beverage wherever your where abouts take you, which in turn would eliminate using plastic cups? (Sounds like a win-win! Eliminating plastic cups whenever possible would lessen the burden for business owners expenses & also lessen the burden on environmental and waste issues!) Thanks! Great publication as always!
Thank you for the update. Praying there are no more people on the island that are affected by this terrible virus.
Hillary, Thanks for this update on all the news good and not so good!
Stay safe and healthy! We will be on our favorite place (fingers crossed) for New Year’s!
Thanks for the the update. Glad to hear that things are opening up despite 2 new cases.
Thank you for the detailed update- much appreciated! Y’all stay safe. We are hoping to get back down there in February- and hope things are much more back to normal by then!
Thank you! We will be on island July 16th. We will be so happy to observe all restrictions and infact appreciate them! See you soon!
Sorry to hear about the new cases. Wish there was an instant test that could tell if you had it. Love St. John. Wass there for four days in October 2019. I stayed at the Westin. Guess I’ll have to wait a while to come back. We need the vaccine for Covid soon.
Wishing all down there well. What a piece of paradise you have.
Great news to hear that the wearing of masks inside commercial establishment by both operators and guests is now MANDATORY and fines are being given.I have not seen that published, as was requested. How is that working out?
Thanks for all the updates! We live to be on STJ a couple times a year. Stay healthy stay safe and we hope one day to me you while on island! Keep up the great work!!!!
You’re doing a great job. My stomach dropped when I read about the recurrence of COVID. You’ll all be in my prayers and I hope there will be no more cases! Love the bamboo table setting idea.
Awesome job covering these topics! Thank you!
Please be aware that not all carriers of the coronavirus that causes CoV-19 get a fever. About 1/3 of the infected population does not. Makes things a bit tricky.
Please wear a mask. Inconvenient? Yes. But no one wants to be sick. Studies show that masks do reduce transmission of this virus, and many other ones too. You don’t need to wear one if you are outside and at least, at least 6 feet apart. Even that may not be enough.
Let’s all keep each other safe. Respect.
I would like to take exception with the oft-repeated meme that the Sahara dust produces spectacular sunsets. I’ve never seen that, quite the opposite has always been the case in my experience. Great sunsets call for clear air, and just the right cast of supporting clouds to light up in vivid yellows and red. The sun vanished yesterday into this grey-brown murk an hour before sunset. Ughh…
I hope the precautions and many steps that you are taking can keep COVID in check. I was very impressed with this newsletter, and it is apparent that you are doing more than most places to keep yourselves and patrons safe.
I love reading your articles. I visit your beautiful island annually from PA and have been since 1978.
How long does the Sahara Dust storm usually last? This is our first time visiting in August. I know we are taking a chance.