Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: US Virgin Islands extend stay-at-home order until 0600 May 4. Easing of restrictions on nonessential business begins May 4.

This alert affects US Virgin Islands

This alert began 30 Apr 2020 09:47 GMT and is scheduled to expire 05 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Territorywide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Summary
Officials in US Virgin Islands (USVI) extended the stay-at-home order and closure of nonessential businesses until 0600 May 4. The restrictions were due to expire April 30 and are part of the territory's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Residents can leave their homes only to obtain basic goods, attend a medical issue, or go to work at an essential business or service. Grocery stores, pharmacies, healthcare facilities, banks, and energy, media, security, and transport companies will continue to remain open. Restaurants can operate for deliveries and take-out only, while bars are to remain closed. Hotels and other lodging places may not receive new clients through at least June 1, except for emergency personnel, flight crews, or government guests. All arriving international travelers will be subject to health screenings and a 14-day quarantine.

Beginning at 0600 May 4, officials will enforce a safer-at-home order involving a phased reopening of nonessential businesses. All schools and childcare services will remain closed. Restaurants will continue to be restricted to take-out and delivery service, and bars will stay closed. Business restrictions will be eased as follows:

  • Retail stores, except grocery stores and other exempted businesses, may not allow more than 10 individuals into the establishment at any time.
  • Private offices may reopen; employees not critical to in-person services should work from home.
  • Private health care facilities may resume procedures.
  • Personal services, such as barbers, massage therapists, and hair salons, may operate by appointment only and under additional protocols.
  • Recreational facilities such as gymnasiums and other sports facilities can reopen under additional protocols. Contact sport is prohibited.
  • Bowling alleys and movie theaters may reopen if they practice social distancing, but they may not sell food and drink or host parties.
  • Churches may conduct services with a maximum capacity of 50 individuals.


All employees and individuals are required to wear a face mask when entering a business or when in any gathering of people. Strict hygiene and sanitation protocols must be enforced at all businesses, establishments, and recreational facilities in order for a business to resume. Businesses and facilities are required to ensure that customers maintain a distance of 1.8 meters (six feet) from one another when not conducting service.

Severe business and transport disruptions are likely under the stay-at-home order; however, some disruptions are likely to continue even after nonessential business restrictions are eased from May 4. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in the USVI are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11. The USVI's decision to ease restrictions takes place within the framework of a five-tiered color system geared at gradually reopening the economy. The safer-at-home (yellow) order, is the third highest in terms of the degree of the restrictions. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, the relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in further relaxation of restrictions.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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