Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie has announced that the Territory’s borders will be re-opened to visitors on December 1st.
December 1st marks the anniversary of the first known case of Covid-19 in China.
The Premier while addressing the launch of the BVILOVE Launch Tourism Campaign yesterday, September 21st, stated that the Virgin Islands will open to visitors on December 1st.
He said that the Government is optimistic and is vigorously preparing for the re-opening of the Territory to welcome back tourists among others.
Premier Fahie said, “The Territory has two full months to prepare and we as a people must get it right and we must get it done by all working together, both the Government and the private sector.”
The Premier said that the Government intends to reopen the Territory in the safest way possible using science and technology as a guide.
“This next phase also comes with a risk factor, where if a case of COVID-19 gets into our Territory, then it can go through the whole community very quickly.”
That is why we must use technology,” he said, adding, “the concentration must be to use the technology through a simulation prior, to demonstrate that the technology will complement the science to greatly assist us in re-opening in the safest way, humanly possible.”
This use of technology possibly means that the BVI will be screening arriving tourists with thermal scanners, although Fahie did not reveals details of the plan.
The Premier said, “Please note that we who are in the Virgin Islands must also play our part and play it well to ensure that we adhere to all approved social distancing measures. This will also reduce or eliminate any possible spread of the virus.”
Fahie further added, “By each of us, from now, holding each other accountable thereby ensuring that we wear our masks, staying six feet apart, washing our hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds minimum, sanitizing, along with adhering to all other approved social measure protocol for us individually and for each business we can successfully operate in this “New Regular” of the COVID-19 era.”
The Government of the Virgin Islands is using a phased approach to the Territory’s borders amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Phase 1 of the Controlled Border reentry process commenced on June 2nd for Virgin Islands, Belongers, Naturalized citizens and Permanent Residents.
Phase two of the reentry process which commenced on September 1 allowed for several new categories to be permitted into the Territory including Work Permit Holders; Existing Work Permit Exemption Holders; Residing Entry Permits such as Retirees and Home owners; students of locally based Medical Schools and the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College; persons employed by the Government of the Virgin Islands Bodies, Agencies, Boards and teachers whether public and private; Dependents of Belongers, Permanent Residents, Work Permit Holders and Work Permit Exemption Holders, persons desirous of conducting business in the Territory; and diplomats deemed as Business Visitors.
Phase 2 also allows for the entry of aviation crew, maritime crew, healthcare practitioners/medical staff, emergency maintenance, repair and other technical personnel; and other essential specialized workers in the Territory for no longer than 5 days.