a beach with a hat and a bag on a blanket on a beach

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.

a group of boats in a body of water

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.

a beach with a hat and a bag on a blanket on a beach

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.

a pool with palm trees and a body of water

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.

US Virgin Islands - Caribbean

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Why would anyone risk their lives going there given the current crime situation? I’d rather have to deal with Covid then getting shot. You only have to read the local news to know it’s lawless…on St Croix at least.

    1. Yes, St Croix has had crime problems, always has, however its local targeted gang violence, how many tourists have been targeted, ZERO. St Thomas and St John are very safe, unless of course you’re out looking for drugs in the projects in the middle of the night.

    2. Jon Watts, Perhaps you should know a little more about a subject prior to spouting out inaccurate information. I live in the USVI. I feel safer here than anywhere else I have lived or visited in the world.

    3. You need to stay the hell away and not risk locals. You statesiders are self-centered and ignorant when it comes to matters there but love to be loud about the crime situation meanwhile The states is a lawless wasteland of police brutality and corruption. Stay home and focus on fixing the country.

    4. Per capita crime is very bad on St. Croix. However as stated it is really only targeted gang violence and doesn’t affect those who aren’t involved. That said, the island doesn’t have a working hospital so I wouldn’t recommend visiting as any illness or injury is very dangerous here.

  2. Definitely not taking a COVID to visit anyplace, sorry. And they’re going to find most people aren’t going to want to visit because that. Plus who wants to risk going with all the open close, open close nonsense. Thanks but no thanks. Went to Mexico the end of August, was in/out drama free with out the extra nonsense. Traveling as, it is, Especially international is already stressful enough. No one wants to deal with not only paying for a COVID test but enduring taking one to travel. Plus, I’ve read stories where some of these countries change their policies last minute and reject people when they land EVEN with a negative COVID test. Yea no!

  3. When everything is open on the boardwalk and there is security from the casino at the Caravel, crime is rarely a problem on STX in Christiansted. When everything was closed and police and security were not out, that is when there were problems. As long as Christiansted stays open and active, the violence will stay away.

  4. Please DO NOT come to the USVI. Neither island has a functioning hospital and our numbers are not being accurately reflected by local government. They are creating a false sense of safety because the economy here depends so much on tourism. Coming here would be irresponsible to your loved ones and those on the island. We will still be here later when COVID is under control.

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