The US Virgin Islands are all kinds of wonderful, and for the last few months, that’s made things all kinds of complicated. Travelers flocked to the Caribbean islands during the height of the pandemic to escape the horrors of future Zoom calls, creating unique tension between visitors, locals and government as the balance between economic opportunity and epidemiological risk came to a head.
Eventually, a small spike in covid-19 cases and fear for local health resources forced the US Virgin Islands to abruptly close its doors to tourism in August, for a period of at least one month. That month is now over, and the Caribbean paradise is reopening, right about now.
US Virgin Islands Reopens To Tourists
On August 16th, the US Virgin Islands shuttered its doors to tourists, and instructed all resorts and tourism businesses to stop accepting bookings. The islands were to hunker down and isolate, and if progress was made with the pandemic, the situation would be reevaluated.
Just over a month from the abrupt closure, the US Virgin Islands will reopen to leisure travel and all tourism from Saturday, September 19th, 2020.
With the news, flights are scheduled to resume from many US gateways, welcoming all the same visitors as before. Hotels, flights charters and sea vessels are all able to take bookings once again, with immediate effect.
Potential visitors however should be prepared for a variety of measures aimed at balancing travel and covid-19 safety, before they dive in to any unchangeable plans. Namely, a covid-19 test.
For starters, starting from September 19th, all visitors to the US Virgin Islands must carry a recent negative covid-19 test result taken within the previous 5 days before arrival, or be denied boarding or entry to the islands.
Five days is a more reasonable testing time frame than many destinations require, which makes the prospect of a last minute trip much more feasible. In addition to covid-19 testing, all visitors must fill out an online health form in advance of arrival to the islands.
Many hotels on the island have responded to the news with plans to open between October and November, in hopes of catching some of the lucrative winter sun season. If you’ve got a favorite, be sure to check their reopening plans before booking anything you can’t cancel.
GSTP experienced a quiet, but lovely St. Thomas in July, before the islands were placed into lockdown, with excellent protocols for heath at the time. Under the new measures from the US Virgin Islands, travel should be more secure than before, with more time to improve, thanks to the pause in travel.
As autumn sets in, sun, fun, and probably a little rum in the US Virgin Islands doesn’t sound too shabby. And yes, now you’re officially ok to go, once again.