US Virgin Islands welcoming tourists again next week
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U.S. Virgin Islands set to reopen
The U.S. Virgin Islands is becoming the latest to announce it will welcome tourists again. There will be no quarantine required for healthy visitors and people will be free to leave their hotel or resort and explore.
The U.S. Virgin Islands which includes St. Thomas and St. Croix is under a state of emergency until July 11, but it is welcoming back tourists as of June 1 with restrictions.
Related Coverage: State-by-state guide to coronavirus reopening
Although the U.S. Virgin Islands are part of United States territory, the islands have been limiting incoming travel even for domestic travelers. The only passengers allowed to enter the USVI had been residents, medical personnel, business travelers and property owners. Furthermore, the local government had implemented rigorous “safer at home” protocols, resulting in closed restaurants and similar non-essential businesses. Local beaches were also closed.
Open with some restrictions
Beginning next week, the government will allow flights, and hotel reservations will begin to be honored. Restaurants will also reopen though they will be restricted to 50% capacity.
Masks will be mandatory when going into businesses and attractions, beaches will also be open but social distancing is required. Large gatherings remain prohibited. Hotels, guesthouses, villas, timeshares and Airbnb accommodations are all accepting bookings. COVID-19 guidelines are in place for retail businesses and attractions; taxi vans, safari and limo services.
Arriving in the Virgin Islands
Flights are resuming, but there are some things to know if you decide to book. A spokeswoman for the USVI tourism board told TPG, “There are routine temperature checks and health screenings at the ports of entry and public places. There is no quarantine required if travelers are healthy. Testing, quarantine, and isolation protocols are in place for suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 and also for contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases.”
A toolkit for travelers and other updates are available at www.usviupdate.com.
How to get there and where to stay
Many major carriers fly to the U.S. Virgin Islands including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Spirit and United Airlines. I found flights in July from New York in July beginning at $312 roundtrip on United Airlines with one stop. American Airlines flies direct from Miami for $330 roundtrip in basic economy or $380 in main cabin. American wanted 35,000 AAdvantage miles for the flight (and apparently they consider it a “web special”).
Spirit also flies to Henry E Rohlsen Airport St. Croix (STX). Delta has flights in August non-stop from Atlanta beginning at $430 in basic economy or $480 in main cabin to Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas (STT). Delta wants 39,000 Skymiles for main cabin redemptions.
Many hotels are accepting reservations.
Keisha Nelson from the tourism department said, “The U.S. Virgin Islands offer a variety of accommodation options based on travelers’ preferences and budget. Travelers looking for a larger resort experience can opt for The Buccaneer on St. Croix, The Hills Saint John or The Ritz-Carlton on St. Thomas. For a smaller boutique option, there is The Fred on St. Croix and Gallows Point on St. John.”
The Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham had rooms in St. Thomas for $215 a night in mid-July.
If you are looking for chain hotels where you can redeem your points there’s the Westin St. John Resort Villas for $379 a night or 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.
There are also two new Marriott properties that are set to open in June of 2022. So stay tuned for details on those.
A reminder that this tourism-dependent country is still vulnerable to coronavirus exposure from outsiders as travel is one of the biggest factors in spreading COVID-19 disease. TPG recommends you speak to your doctor about the risks to yourself and others around you, and research destinations before you plan nonessential travel.
Where else in the Caribbean can you go?
Meantime Antigua, St Lucia, Aruba, and the Bahamas have also announced they are beginning to accept foreign tourists after June 1.
You can see our stories on those destinations here:
Additional reporting by Katherine Fan.
Featured image of Carambola Beach St Croix US Virgin Islands by cdwheatley/Getty Images.
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