Good Morning! And a happy Thursday to you all. We received some updates from the BVI and from Governor Bryan this week and I wanted to get you all up to date. I have also been continuing to receive a ton of messages in regards to COVID testing for travel. So, let’s get to that first.
The update to COVID-19 testing requirements for travel into the USVI is that there is not one. Nothing has changed. You still must provide a positive Antibody test administered within four months of travel OR a negative PCR or Rapid test within 5 days of commencement of travel in order to successfully gain clearance through the USVI travel portal to board your flight to the territory. Please see current testing requirements for travel to the USVI here.
A few testing FAQ’s-
- If you are fully vaccinated, you STILL need to provide a test result in order to enter the territory. However, Governor Bryan said in his update on Tuesday that you should have the antibodies beginning two-three weeks after your second shot. So, get your positive antibody test and you can come and go as your please into the USVI for four months before having to re-test.
- You do not need to test in order to return to the United States UNLESS your state requires it for re-entry. We are a territory of the US…Not an international destination. So, check this article from USA Today in order to stay up to date on your home state’s testing and quarantine requirements.
While we are on the subject of COVID testing, Governor Bryan also stated on Tuesday that two arrests have been made in regards to visitors submitting falsified COVID-19 test results in order to enter the territory! What???
The Virgin Islands Consortium reported on one of the arrests on Tuesday afternoon, citing that Clifford H. Mattson submitted false documents so that he and his wife would be able to board their flight to St. Croix on Saturday, April 3.
The police report states that evidence found concluded Mattson uploaded falsified negative Covid-19 test results to the U.S. Virgin Islands Travel Screening Portal so he and his wife could board a flight from Miami to St. Croix. Mattson and his wife were intercepted at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, where they were taken into custody. Mattson stated to officers that his wife did not know that he falsified the documents, and she was not charged. The arrest was executed by the Covid-19 Task Force and the V.I. Port Authority. – VI Consortium – 4/6/2021
So…Maybe just get the test? The suspect in question paid $5500 in bail money and is awaiting his advisement hearing, according to the Consortium. He may face up to two years jail time for “making fraudulent claims upon the government and sending or delivering false messages.” Governor Bryan and his team are dedicated to keeping us open and safe and their measures have been effective thus far. The territory is currently reporting a seven day average of a 1.5% positivity rate and just 62 current active cases with only two of those on St. John.
In addition to imposing restrictions on travel via required testing, a territory wide mask mandate requiring masks in all public spaces, social distancing guidelines and capacity restrictions on establishments and taxis, the USVI Government and Department of Health have also been very active in providing free community vaccination clinics for anyone ages 16 and up and free COVID-19 testing pop-ups. If you do need to test before you return to your home state, or you experience symptoms while traveling and would like to get a test, the following schedule is current as of April 5, 2021:
Trust me when I say, the results are FAST and the process is streamlined. The health care workers who conduct the gravel lot pop-up testing on St. John are always in good spirits and expedite the testing process. Last time we tested (we do so weekly because we work with the public…even though we are vaccinated!), we received our results via email within 20 minutes! Big ups to the DOH and their staff for doing such an amazing job! Governor Bryan stated that 3,194 individuals were tested last week. That’s an average of about 450 people per day…And a far cry from the 50 tests per day average that we were at about one year ago.
The DOH also reported on Tuesday that 17,102 people have been fully vaccinated in the territory and 28,933 have received the first shot. Only about 6% of that number did not provide a local address which means that the USVI is tracking pretty well on getting half of the population vaccinated by the goal date of July 4.
Many of you may have seen that the British Virgin Islands will be re-opening the seaport in Tortola on April 15. For those of you who have been planning to fly into St. Thomas and take the ferry to Road Town for your minimum stay of five days in the BVI, this is great news. As of next Thursday, you will be able to do just that! However, this still does not open the BVI for day trips. The same testing process and four day mandatory quarantine in an approved accommodation still applies to ferry passengers.
April 15 marks the first time in over a year that a seaport in the BVI will welcome international visitors. The Beef Island Airport re-opened on December 1, 2020 and the BVI government ambitiously aimed for the eighth of that month to open the Road Island Ferry Port to incoming traffic from St. Thomas. The date has been postponed three times since then, but it seems that they are ready for next week! I know, I know…we are ALL anxiously awaiting our beloved day and term charter trips to the BVI. And I’m sure the businesses over there miss us as well. But this is all slow and steady forward progress and my hopes are high that we will see some more announcements soon.
Initially, the ferry will depart once daily (4PM) from Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas and once daily (10AM) from Road Town in Tortola. The schedule will rotate between local providers in order to make sure each ferry company gets their piece of the pie 🙂
- All ferries will depart Road Town, Tortola for Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas at 10:00 a.m.
- All ferries will depart Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas for Road Town, Tortola at 4:00 p.m.
Monday Smiths Ferry www.smithsferry.com
Tuesday Road Town Fast Ferry www.roadtownfastferry.com
Wednesday Native Son Ferry www.nativesonferry.com
Thursday Smith’s Ferry www.smithsferry.com
Friday Native Son Ferry www.smithsferry.com
Saturday Road Town Fast Ferry www.roadtownfastferry.com
Sunday (Ferry operator will alternate)
If you are traveling to the BVI, go to their travel authorisation page to get the information and register to travel.