The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a Level 3 advisory on September 1 warning Americans to “reconsider” travel to the British Virgin Islands (B.V.I.) saying travelers to the Caribbean territory are at “increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19” as new cases of the illness have increased over the last 14 days.
“Newly identified cases of COVID-19 within the territory” have raised the total number of cases to 38, leading J. U Jaspert, the territory’s governor, to issue a two-week curfew order Tuesday that includes a daily “hard lock-down” from 1:01 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. A “limited number of essential businesses” will be allowed to open between 5:00 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Restrictions on the movement of vessels within territorial waters remain in place, with no movement permitted excluding authorized operators, Jaspert said. Beaches will close at 12 noon to ensure individuals can return home by 1:00 p.m. in compliance with the curfew; visitors can only visit beaches for exercise, with group meetings or parties forbidden.
The B.V.I. is not yet accepting international travelers, yet the latest CDC information is “concerning” to tourism stakeholders in the territory and will likely delay the government’s efforts to reopen the destination to visitors in the short term, Sharon Flax-Brutus, the territory’s former tourism director, said Wednesday.
B.V.I. borders are currently open only to returning British Virgin Island citizens, permanent residents and naturalized citizens. Travelers to the territory are required to register through an online portal. Under Phase II of the territory’s Restricted Border Reopening Plan beginning this week, work permit holders, students and other specified groups will be permitted to re-enter the country.
Proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test will be required for entry, and health screening procedures are in place at airports and other ports of entry. Commercial flights are not operating to the territory.
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