The US Virgin Islands, including our very own island of St. Croix, has returned to the ‘Safer At Home’ phase of the Governor’s COVID-19 response plan. Governor Bryan has issued the executive order detailing the phased reopening of non-essential businesses and the guidelines to which they will be subject. The transition will be managed according to a five-tiered system as follows:
Safer At Home Phase
The territory is currently in the ‘Safer At Home’ phase, and the following restrictions will be observed throughout the US Virgin Islands:
- Facial coverings are required in all businesses and commercial entities
- People not residing in the same household must maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from others
- Mass gatherings are limited to no more than 100 people or 50% of their capacity set by their business license or the Fire Marshal, whichever is less
- Restaurants and bars may offer dine-in or seated service, but social distancing must be observed and patrons must wear masks at all times when not eating or drinking. No alcohol may be sold after 11pm and all establishments must close by midnight.
- Starting December 17th, all nightclubs in the USVI will be closed until further notice.
- All beaches in the Territory have been reopened, but social distancing is still required. Beaches close at 4pm on weekends and holidays and parties, mass gatherings, DJs/large speakers, picnics, bonfires, and camping are prohibited.
- Tours, attractions, and activities are operating with social distancing and facial covering restrictions as noted above.
- Boutiques and stores are open and operating with social distancing and facial covering restrictions. Many stores are also offering online shopping, see our Shop St. Croix Online page for more information.
- Hotels, villas, Airbnb accommodations, guest houses, temporary vacation housing, charter vessels and similar businesses may accept new reservations and check in new guests.
- Taxis, safari buses and limos are limited to 50% capacity and will be operating under strict safety and sanitation protocols created by the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Health in cooperation with the USVI Department of Tourism.
- The Virgin Islands Department of Health and the Virgin Islands National Guard will be conducting screening of all travelers to the Territory. Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) will continue to work closely to ensure a safe experience at the territory’s airports for the traveling public and the airports’ tenants and employees. For a list of the current flight schedules please see the USVI Department of Tourism list here.
- All vessels currently anchoring, or seeking to anchor, in the waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands, for any length of time in any bay, are required to obtain a long-term anchoring permit, and will be required to pay long-term anchoring fees. The application is available here. Questions regarding anchoring may be directed to email@example.com.
- Public school and daycare campuses closed; Virtual learning implemented. Nursing homes are also closed to visitation.
Visiting St. Croix Soon?
Every traveler (visitors AND residents) age five and older who enters the U.S. Virgin Islands is required to use the USVI Travel Screening Portal AND to submit a COVID-19 test result prior to travel to avoid being denied boarding of their flight, enhanced health screenings and/or mandatory self-quarantine. The secure portal can be found at www.usviupdate.com/travelportal.
ALL travelers ages 5 and up coming to St. Croix, by air or sea, including residents returning home, must come with the following:
- A travel certification from the USVI Travel Screening Portal (starting January 18, 20201); AND one of the following,
- A COVID-19 molecular test (e.g., RT-PCR, viral or nucleic acid amplification) from a nasal or throat or oral rinse and/or saliva sample taken and a NEGATIVE result received within five days of commencement of travel to the Territory; OR
- A COVID-19 antigen (rapid) test taken from a nasal or throat swab sample taken and a NEGATIVE result received within five days of commencement of travel to the Territory; OR
- A COVID-19 antibody finger stick or blood draw test taken and a POSITIVE result received within four months of commencement of travel to the Territory
- Note: At this time, there is no exemption to the COVID-19 test requirements listed above for those who have been vaccinated.
For a complete and up-to-date list of the COVID-19 testing and travel requirements, visit usviupdate.com.
The USVI Department of Health and the USVI Department of Tourism have partnered to provide a hotline with answers to all COVID-19 related questions for those travelling to the United States Virgin Islands: (800) 372-8784.
If you are planning a trip to St. Croix or the USVI soon, please read our Healthy Travel Practices blog for more information on what to expect here on St. Croix and how you can stay healthy while traveling.
The official website for COVID-19 in the territory is the US Virgin Islands Department of Public Health. We recommend staying up-to-date by checking this website regularly, as well as signing up for local text alerts by texting COVID19USVI to 888777. Our local Plessen Healthcare has also put a protocol in place for anyone who thinks they may have contracted the coronavirus, which you can read more about below. You can also see how COVID-19 is impacting the territory by visiting the USVI Deprtament of Tourism’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 Updates page.
We also recommend following these national and global health organizations who provide the most reliable information and updates regarding the coronavirus:
- USVI Department of Health
- USVI Department of Tourism
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- World Health Organization
- U.S. Department of State
Plessen Healthcare Protocol & Testing
If you are here on St. Croix, Plessen Healthcare has established a special protocol at their Orange Grove Medical Campus to protect both patients and healthcare professionals in light of the current outbreak. All patients are strongly encouraged to utilize Plessen Healthcare’s Telemedicine option instead of visiting the office when possible. To make an appointment please call (340) 715-7720, contact Plessen via their website at www.plessenhealthcare.com/contact. Plessen also offers COVID-19 PCR testing and Antibody testing by appointment. Click here to read more about COVID-19, how Plessen is combating this virus, and what you can do to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
The GoToStCroix Team would like to remind you that the best thing you can do during this outbreak (besides not panicking) is to clean your hands often, avoid close contact, and take basic steps to protect others as recommended by the CDC. Also, please be sure to get your coronavirus news and updates from reputable sources like the CDC, WHO, and the Department of Health. Stay healthy!
-Jennie Ogden, Editor