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USVI Working With Partners to Maintain Vital Aerial Links

Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte (Photo by Barry Leerdam, courtesy of the V.I. Legislature)

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism has assured stakeholders that it is working closely with airline partners to ensure the territory has ample airlift during and after the current restriction on leisure travel.

Effective today, accommodations providers are barred from admitting or checking-in leisure guests for 30 days, unless Governor Albert Bryan Jr.’s order is lifted sooner. This is a part of the territory’s firm public health response to the recent spike in positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte explained that even though the territory was currently in the “Stay-at-Home” (Orange alert) phase of its COVID-19 response, airlift connectivity remains critical for travel to and from the territory as residents, business travelers, flight crews, emergency personnel and government guests with written authorization from the relevant government agency are still permitted to travel.

All travelers, aged 15 and older, must complete the questionnaire at the USVI Travel Screening portal at www.usviupdate.com/travelportal, and those who meet the testing criteria are required to upload a COVID-19 test result.

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Boschulte said he was hopeful for a smooth reopening to leisure travelers when the latest 30-day “leisure lockdown” is suspended.

“We are hoping for another swift and seamless reopening to leisure visitors provided we can flatten the current curve,” said the commissioner, adding that observing strict protocols, such as wearing masks and physical distancing, was critical in containing the community spread of COVID-19.

“We must work together to avoid further shutdowns, which will help to restart economic activity and generate important revenues and income for our government and our residents,” said Boschulte, who voiced his appreciation of the airlines serving the territory.

“We are blessed to work with some wonderful partners, who at a difficult time for us, continue to transport passengers to and from our islands and maintain critically important links to the U.S. mainland,” said the commissioner.

Commissioner Boschulte declared that in these uncertain times, residents should not let their guards down “for one minute” and had to recognize the fact that “only together are we stronger and able to overcome the enormous challenges thrust up by this pandemic of biblical proportions.”

During the temporary lockdown, productive efforts are being channeled to review fall and winter schedules to and from the USVI.

The Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands does not have the authority to open or close the territory’s airports, because that control falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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