There’s good news from one of America’s most popular tourist destinations! The U.S. Virgin Islands will reopen its doors to leisure travelers on Monday, June 1, 2020. Though the island is reopening, Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte is still urging people to take personal responsibility when it comes to preventing the spread of disease.
The U.S. Virgin Island include the islands of St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix and around 50 smaller surrounding islands in the Caribbean Sea.
New Protocols for Safety
Commissioner Boschulte declared that the popular vacation destination consisting of three main islands and 50 smaller ones is finalizing public health and tourism protocols for the return of visitors in less than a week’s time.
As the new protocols developed with input from the Office of the Governor, tourism and health authorities, and the private sector, are rolled out, a state of emergency due to COVID-19 will remain in effect through July 11, 2020.
“Over the past several weeks, we have been building COVID-19 mitigation and response capacity, and preparing protocols to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors alike,” said Commissioner Boschulte, who explained that the decision to reopen has not been made lightly. “We did not want to rush to reopen in reaction to what other destinations are doing. Instead, we have engaged in data-driven, risk-based analysis, in conjunction with the Virgin Islands Department of Health and federal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other stakeholders.”
Health and Safety Guidelines for the USVI Tourism Industry
In preparation for the reopening of the islands, the Department of Tourism had developed a set of guidelines called “Health and Safety Guidelines for the USVI Tourism Industry”. This document provides specific guidance to all tourism-related companies on the best practices for keeping guests and staff happy and healthy while things ramp back up.
“The response and collaboration of various departments and agencies are to be commended,” Commissioner Boschulte said, indicating that the document will be frequently updated to reflect what is a fluid situation.
“We are very pleased with the across-the-board approach so that key tourism subsectors now have specific guidelines,” he added.
Guidance includes procedures for operating reception and concierge facilities; cleaning and housekeeping; managing dining rooms; and providing technical and maintenance services. There is also specific subsector guidance for taxi, van, safari and limo services, restaurants and bars, and accommodations.
Exclusive Interview with Commissioner Boschulte
Commissioner Boschulte stated that despite COVID-19 halting travel globally, interest in travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands remained strong.
“Throughout the pandemic, we were greatly encouraged by the outpouring of support and expressions of desire from friends around the world to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Even though COVID-19 caused us to temporarily close our doors, our hearts remained open. We now look forward to welcoming travelers back to their home away from home.”
Which U.S. Virgin Islands have you visited? Let us know your favorites in the comments below!