This is the day many of us have been anticipating all month –
Today we start welcoming back our valued guests!
Ordinarily this time of year, we see a noticeable decrease in the number of visitors given that August and September are peak hurricane months; however, the past four weeks have been unusually quiet given that our hotels, Airbnbs, villas, and other guest-lodging resources were ordered closed by Governor Bryan for four weeks, starting on August 19, 2020.
According to the Virgin Islands Department of Health, the closure seems to have significantly helped with our recovery, as our COVID-19 positivity rate (the number of positive cases in the US Virgin Islands) has remained below 5% over the past few weeks, and the number of residents requesting testing has also decreased. This is fantastic news for the territory, as well as the safety of our residents and guests.
We’ve also noticed a striking difference in our ocean waters. Many residents have been reporting a boom in the number of fish observed while snorkeling, and an increase in octopus-sightings. And the sea fans and coral look healthier than they have in months!
We know the month-long closure has been difficult on our guests given the uncertainty of your vacation, the refunds or credits you’ve had to request for your villas, car rentals and other excursions, and the disappointment of cancelled trips – and even some weddings – that have been planned for the past year. We empathize with you. We are feeling it on our end too, as a majority of us earn our living taking care of you in some way while you’re here, whether in the retail, hotel, or food and beverage industries. As such, we are grateful for your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time.
Our hospitality staff is well rested from the break and excited to help make your vacation extra special, and we hope you take advantage of all the fabulous opportunities available to you while you’re here. After spending the day at one of our beaches, relaxing at the villa pool, or on the ocean on a charter, make your way to town and browse through some of our shops, followed by dinner at one of our many restaurants for dinner or take-out. We also encourage you to learn about our local culture and rich island history. Before you arrive, an internet search will add a tremendous amount of value to your vacation, and you will likely return home with an even greater love for this little island we all want to call “home”.
Although we are technically ‘opening our doors’ to visitors, we haven’t yet moved into the ‘Open Doors’ phase of our plan to manage the virus in the territory, and remain in the ‘Safer at Home’ phase until further order by our Governor. Therefore, a few restrictions remain in place regarding our beaches, restaurants, and social distancing requirements. The following are a few reminders regarding this phase and the current polices in place:
Masks are required by law in all public indoor spaces, and all outdoor spaces if social distancing (6 feet from the next person) is not possible. Masks are not required at our beaches, but if you order food from any beach concession stands such as those at Trunk, Honeymoon, or Maho, please be aware that masks are mandatory while ordering. Please help us keep our residents and other visitors safe and wear your mask.
All of our beaches are open with unlimited hours on weekdays, and open on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays until 4:00 pm, reopening at 6:00 am the following day.
ALL travelers entering the territory from ANY destination must present a COVID test result when arriving at the St. Thomas Airport. Every traveler age 5 years or older (a recent change from the previous age of 15), regardless of the positivity rate in your state of residence, is required to produce a negative COVID-19 antigen (molecular/PCR/rapid) test result received within five days prior to travel to the USVI (the five day window is related to receiving your test results, not taking the test).
To expedite the arrival process at the airport, please register and upload your test results in advance of arrival on the USVI Travel Portal, which can be accessed here.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Given that we are still observing social distancing in all of our restaurants, reservations are highly recommended.
All restaurants are currently allowed to provide in-dining options, with the following conditions:
- Alcohol must be served at tables only, and not at bar counters;
- Restaurants are prohibited from seating more than six persons per table;
- Tables must be at least six feet apart;
- Patrons must wear masks upon entering the restaurant and while walking around, but may remove them at all times while seated; and
- Employees must wear facial coverings at all times.
All bars that do not serve food will continue to remain closed.
SOCIAL DISTANCING AND MASS GATHERINGS
Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between you and another person who is not a member of your immediate family when possible. Retail shops and other businesses (with the exception of grocery stores) are limited to 10 persons at a time, including employees.
No greater than 50 persons may gather in any given place, and social distancing of six feet is required.
CHURCHES, CASINOS, AND GAMING FACILITIES
Churches, casinos, and gaming facilities are allowed to reopen today subject to the maximum person mandate.
GENERAL CUSTOM REMINDERS
Please limit bathing suits to the beaches only. Cover-ups are mandatory in town, on public streets, and in our restaurants and shops.
It is local custom to greet everyone with a “good morning,” “good day,” or “good night” before engaging in further conversation.
Remember, you’re on ‘island time’, so relax and ENJOY! And WELCOME BACK!