Scratch the US Virgin Islands off the list of places for your next getaway, at least for the immediate future. The island paradise is reverting to stay at home orders and closing to all leisure travelers, in an attempt to curb new spreads of covid-19.
The US Virgin Islands are always stunning, but have been a popular choice in recent months, particularly with Americans facing few other travel options. New concerns for community spread have forced Governor Albert Bryan to ban all leisure travel, from all points of departure, effective Wednesday, August 19th.
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”.
Basically, if you were planning a trip for in the month(s), nothing will be open, hotels can’t take you, and it would be irresponsible to visit, given the delicate health care systems in place.
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, GSTP featured the state of US Virgin Islands travel, which 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.
For those with affected reservations, the answers depend on a variety of factors. As to flights, it’s all about whether airlines actually cancel a flight, which would trigger refund rights, or whether the fly anyway, in which case any travellers may only be eligible for a voucher. Hotel bookings would also be subject to the cancellation policy in place, 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.
Over the weekend, Iceland was forced to modify entry procedures, moving from a test on arrival to two tests, with 4-5 days of isolation in between. Travellers now face concerns not only over a virus, but changing measures which may put their trips in jeopardy, or their ability to get back to work upon return at risk.
For now, that USVI trip is on hold, and it may be for some time…