Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: US Virgin Islands extends stay-at-home orders and tighter movement restrictions through Sept. 8 due to spike in COVID-19 activity.

Alert Begins 01 Sep 2020 09:53 AM UTC
Alert Expires 08 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

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

Summary
Governor Albert Bryan has stated that the stay-at-home orders in the US Virgin Islands (USVI) will be extended through Sept. 8. The decision to reimpose stricter business and movement restrictions in mid-August was made in response to a spike in local confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. As of Sept. 1, the following existing measures are in place:

 

  • All nonessential businesses and service providers must close. The edict excludes food stores, food production operations, pharmacies, fuel stations, banks, hardware stores, laundromats, maintenance and sanitation services, office supplies, media outlets, essential transportation, and childcare for essential workers.

 

  • Hotels and other places of accommodation may not accept any new reservations until at least Sept. 12, except for business travelers, government workers, and emergency personnel.

 

  • Hotels and other places of accommodation may not receive or check-in any guests until at least Sept. 12, except for business travelers, government workers, and emergency personnel.

 

  • Restaurants, which reopened previously, will now be limited to take-out, delivery, or drive-through services and must adhere to industry-specific sanitation protocols.

 

  • All schools and churches must close.

 

  • All beaches will close 1200-0600 on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, except for fishermen.

 

  • Gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people instead of 50.

 

  • Individuals are required to wear face coverings during any gathering of people or at any commercial location.

 

  • All approved businesses and facilities are required to ensure that customers maintain a distance of 1.8 meters (six feet) from one another.

 


Some international travel restrictions are also in place. Although the prohibition on leisure travel was previously lifted, the new orders severely restrict all leisure travel to the USVI. Travelers from countries, territories, and other regions assessed to be high-risk, including some states in the US, will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within five days of arrival or be subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. All travelers will be subject to mandatory temperature testing upon arrival. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11. While several governments globally have implemented recovery plans to lift restrictive measures introduced in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, authorities have also at times imposed highly targeted measures in localized areas or across territories, depending on local case numbers. The new orders in USVI highlight that relaxed restrictions may be reapplied if the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increases. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Avoid all nonessential operations 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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