Good Afternoon and Happy Monday! I’ve got lots of restaurant related info and some updates from the Governor for you today.
So, today is the day that many restaurant owners have been dreading. Today, all restaurants in the territory are required by the Government of the Virgin Islands to switch over to disposable dishes, utensils, napkins and drink containers in an effort to further limit the spread of COVID-19 to employees.
The original order, issued on June 1, 2020 from the Office of the Governor set the original deadline for this order for June 8. They then moved it back to the 15th and then to the 22nd in order to allow establishments to make accommodations and stock up on supplies. So, it’s upon us now. What does it mean for restaurants and their guests?
Over the past few years, the Virgin Islands government has been receptive to concerns about the environment and ways that we can lighten our carbon footprint. Since 2017, rulings in favor of bans on plastic bags, plastic straws and non-reef safe sunscreens have been celebrated as the territory moved into a more sustainable future. Reusable cups and straws are seen more and more frequently in stores and restaurants and in the hands of residents and visitors as they move through town. Now, we go back to disposable everything….temporarily…
Some restaurants on St. John rely heavily on takeout containers already and many serve drinks exclusively in plastic cups. However, the impact of this ruling on fine dining establishments is an inflated cost and endeavor. They have had to source and pay for disposable items in order to accommodate their clientele. Additional costs associated with increase in frequency and amount of trash removal will likely further affect the small businesses.
In light of the recent closures and then transition to take-out only, the absence of tourism during some of our busiest months AND limited capacity regulations, these additional costs could issue a huge blow to the bottom line of some of our favorite establishments.
Governor Bryan has been diligent in both actions and updates in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. He and his administration have worked tirelessly to walk the line between protecting and informing the community and keeping the economy afloat.
In his address to the territory today, Governor Bryan stressed that “We are at an interesting place in community response to the pandemic.” It’s important that both residents and visitors alike practice safe measures in order to keep the doors of the territory open.
On June 2, we informed you about restaurant re-openings and hours. I have a few updates for you in regards to that list. But, in light of the two new positive COVID cases on St. John last week, things are changing daily.
Similar to reports from businesses in the States, two beloved establishments on island have announced closing their doors for an unsure amount of time due to possible COVID contact with employees. In an extremely small community with an even smaller labor pool, ONE community transmitted case can affect dozens of businesses immediately. Sam and Jack’s Deli and The Longboard have both responsibly closed their doors while essential staff members quarantine and await COVID testing results.
Below are additional updates to the original report:
Miss Lucy’s opened yesterday for Father’s Day Brunch and will continue with regular hours as follows: Tuesday-Saturday Lunch – 11:30-4, Sunday Brunch 10-2, Thursday Open Mic – 5:30-9
Rhumb Lines is open for takeout only Thursday-Tuesday 3-8PM
Extra Virgin Bistro is open for dinner service Tuesday-Sunday from 5:30-9
1864 the Restaurant is open for dine in Monday-Saturday from 3-8
Joe’s Rum Hut is open Weds-Sunday from noon-8PM
Pizzabar in Paradise is open Weds-Saturday from 4-8
Quiet Mon Pub open 2:30PM-12:30AM Mon-Saturday
Phew—that was a lot, but I hope it’s all helpful! I will continue to keep you all in the loop on developments in the restaurant world as more information presents itself.