In an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19, the United States Virgin Islands is closing its doors once again to leisure visitors.
From Wednesday, arrivals will be suspended for at least one month.
Governor Albert Bryan announced the territory will revert to the ‘stay-at-home’ phase of its Covid-19 response, for the next two weeks, at which time it will be re-evaluated.
As such, all non-essential businesses and churches are ordered to cease operations and the public, including non-essential public sector workers, are ordered to stay at home.
Effective immediately, hotels, villas, Airbnb accommodations, guest houses, temporary vacation housing and charter vessels and similar businesses have been ordered not to accept or book any new reservations for 30 days.
As of Wednesday, accommodations providers are barred from admitting or checking-in any guests for 30 days unless the order is lifted sooner.
Reservations may only be accepted for business travellers, flight crews, emergency personnel and government workers with written authorisation from the relevant government agency they are visiting.
All restaurants in the territory can offer only takeout, delivery or drive-thru service.
All bars, nightclubs and cabarets are to remain closed as long as the territory remains in a state of emergency.
“When we announced our Covid-19 alert system in May, I indicated at that time that we would retreat to a more cautious state of alert if conditions warranted.
“Unfortunately, we have arrived at that point this week,” governor Bryan said during a press conference.
“The recent infiltration of the virus into our residential institutions that house vulnerable members of our population creates an alarming level of risk.
“This adds to the stress of the ongoing pandemic response that seemingly has no end in sight and is wearing out our health care and public safety infrastructure.”
St. Thomas residents who recently tested positive at a seniors’ residential facility have been reported to be asymptomatic or displaying only mild symptoms.
As of Thursday, there were 682 positive cases in the destination, 197 of which were active and 476 recovered.
Nine deaths have been reported since the start of the pandemic.