Welcome Back to the U.S. Virgin Islands
“Even though COVID-19 caused us to temporarily close our doors, our hearts remained open. We now look forward to welcoming travelers back to their home away from home.”
These are the words of Joseph Boschulte, U.S. Virgin Islands Tourism Commissioner, and they are music to the ears of many potential travelers seeking to escape from what has been a very stressful few months. Mr. Boschulte had made the announcement last week that the U.S. Virgin Islands, which include St Thomas, St Croix, and St John, will be the first tourist destination to reopen for leisure visitors on June 1. St. Croix has the most hotels currently open, and it is the only destination in the Caribbean that can boast more hotels opened than closed.
The decision to reopen was made only after comprehensive research and analysis across multiple agencies were conducted, emphasizing the importance to resist rushing the process. The Covid-19 mitigation protocols are securely in place and authorities are confident that their guests will be extremely satisfied and feel safe.
The USVI Department of Tourism enhanced mitigation protocols for the following:
- Hotel reception and concierge facilities, cleaning and housekeeping, managing dining rooms, and providing technical and maintenance services.
- Sub-sector guidance for airports/airlines, taxi, van, safari and limo services, restaurants and bars, and accommodations.
Relatively speaking, the U.S. Virgin Islands was not hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Current statistics from the CDC and WHO (updated June 7) are as follows:
71 Total Positive Cases | 62 Recovered | 6 Deaths
Even with these numbers, the Covid-19 state of emergency order will remain in place until at least July 17. So, as you might expect, some of the typical tourist activities will have restrictions or be banned altogether. Here are just a few of the examples mentioned: No buffets or live music at restaurants or bars, and a maximum of 50% capacity; recreational areas for children will not be accessible; gatherings limited to 10 people; hotel mini-bars shut down.
At the airport, temperature checks (via thermal imaging) of arriving passengers will be part of the procedure. Compulsory quarantines will only be enforced when an individual is exhibiting symptoms of the virus. Employees are tested every day before the beginning of their shift. Also, masks are required for employees and guests while in public areas.
The hospitality and tourism industry of USVI is cautiously optimistic about re-opening the territory to visitors from abroad. Expect to see more airlines reinstate flights to the territory in June. Recently, Carnival Cruises reported a 600% increase in bookings compared to the previous 3 days. This is also a 200% increase over the same time period last year. USVI is poised to accommodate the increased flow of tourism that comes their way. This, along with other encouraging travel indicators, is creating excitement among the islands.
While they do not anticipate seeing the typical volume of visitors, the U.S. Virgin Islands as a whole is looking forward to extending their hospitality to everyone who chooses to make that journey and share in the beautiful island experience this summer season and beyond.
We Remain Committed to our Customers
Things are changing rapidly, and Airport Assistance Worldwide remains committed to staying on top of your needs. When you’re ready, contact us to book our essential Safe Assist services. You deserve to travel with peace of mind. Let us help you navigate the airports safely.
Coronavirus and Travel Resources
- Department of Health – US Virgin Islands
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- The Centers for Disease Control – Traveler’s Health
- The World Health Organization (WHO)
- U.S. Department of State – Travel Advisories
- Government Response to Coronavirus
- To contact the CDC directly, please call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636)