U.S. Virgin Islands Shorten Testing Window for Tourists
In a recent press release, the U.S. Virgin Islands announced that they’ve made changes to their COVID-19 testing protocols for visitors to the islands which reduces the time frame for pre-travel testing. All domestic air travelers to the U.S. Virgin Islands are required to present a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel. Previously the time frame for COVID-19 testing gave a five day window prior to travel.
According to Governor Albert Bryan Jr., the shortened window for testing is due to the rapid spread of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant. Earlier this week, USVI Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion announced that the islands had turned away two cruise ships recently as they had surpassed the 1% threshold for COVID-19 cases.
“We have an agreement with them, if their numbers cross that threshold there’s no compromise, no conversation, they just can’t come,” the Governor said. “The cruise ships have been shut down for a year and a half, they’ve taken a tremendous hit to their business, they are one of their crucial tourism partners, and I want to make sure we give them a fair shake. They are under considerable pressure as it is with the Omicron variant. I’m praying for them and hoping they can get their situation under control on board so they don’t have to stop sailing again.”
International travelers to the United States must show proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 test (either antigen or PCR) taken within one calendar day of departure to the U.S. if they are arriving in the USVI via air from a foreign location, such as the British Virgin Islands or Antigua.
Strong Tourism Comeback for the Virgin Islands
USVI Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte urged patience for travelers as his team tries to find a balance between allowing tourism and keeping locals safe. Boschulte reported that the winter season was off to a strong start with more than 100,000 submissions to the Travel Screening Portal.
Have you been to the Virgin Islands? Let us know in the comments!