According to Governor Bryan, islanders must prepare to hunker down for at least a month of lockdown and stay at home measures. Releasing lockdown restriction related movement, and travel would come only when case counts drop, and the cases which do remain are those which do not require “acute medical care”.
Hotels and other lodging businesses are barred from accepting any new reservations, and all non essential businesses will be shuttered. Reservation exceptions will be made for essential business travel, as well as government and emergency workers.
Just over a month ago the state of US Virgin Islands travel included important precautions for arrivals and island activities. The USVI did not however require negative COVID-19 tests prior to departure for most arrivals, a move required by many Caribbean nations which remain open.
Will tourists get refunds? If their flight is cancelled, yes, but otherwise maybe not, though many hotels will likely close entirely, which would trigger refund options.
With each border closed, opened again and then closed once again, more and more consensus is building behind universal standards for COVID-19 testing prior to departure as the only way to create sustainable international travel in the near future.
“We cannot risk being in the midst of a surge while responding to the fallout of a hurricane,” Bryan said. “We would much rather see a slowdown in August than in November or December, when the holiday season is picking up.”
The sudden lockdown seems to have been triggered by an increase in COVID-19 infections in institutions in the US Virgin Islands.
Earlier this week, the V.I. Bureau of Corrections reported that the St. Thomas jail went into lockdown after 17 inmates and three staff members tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, 10 residents and six staff members of the Queen Louise Home for the Aged who tested positive for COVID-19 have been “separated, isolated and quarantined” from the other residents of the facility.