Governor Albert Bryan took bold action on Thursday to push back the rise of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which quickly spread throughout the community – seeping into Queen Louise Home for the Elderly and the Alexander A. Farrelly Criminal Complex – who are both in Saint-Thomas. Mr Bryan said that by announcing for the first time that the territory would move to its open door phase on June 1, he said at the time that his administration would revert to a more restrictive phase if cases of the virus increased.
“Unfortunately, we got to the point this week,” the governor said during his press briefing.
From wednesday, 682 people have tested positive for the virus: 346 in Saint-Thomas, 314 in Sainte-Croix and 22 in Saint-Jean. The DOH said it was following 197 active cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday: 165 in Saint-Thomas, 27 in Sainte-Croix and 5 in Saint-Jean.
[Read: Governor Bryan’s 13th Supplemental Executive Order, which returns the Territory to “Stay at Home” status.]
Here’s what you need to know
As of Monday, August 17, the territory will return to the stay-at-home or orange alert phase of the administration’s Covid-19 response. “This means that starting at 6 am Monday all non-essential businesses are closed,” Bryan said. “Non-essential public sector workers also need to stay at home. This alert phase will continue for at least the next two weeks, at which point we will reassess whether it is safe to go back to the yellow alert: safer at home. “
- Hotels, Airbnb, guest houses and villas have been ordered to stop accepting new bookings with immediate effect.
- Reservations should only be accepted for business trips, government officials and first-aid workers.
- As of Wednesday, August 19, hotels are prohibited from checking in guests, except for business travelers, government officials and rescue workers.
- Virgin Islanders at home and abroad are encouraged to restrict travel to essential and urgent business only.
“As we take these steps, keep in mind that we do not have full power to shut down our airports or seaports, nor is it a desirable outcome,” the governor said, adding that the territory had to maintain a certain level. commercial and air traffic to enable emergency travel and the transport of medical supplies and other essential items such as mail and parcels.
- The governor has ordered the closure of all public, private and parish school campuses for students.
- Virtual learning is allowed to continue.
- Churches are to remain closed for the next two weeks during this home stay period.
- All beaches have been closed on weekends and public holidays starting at noon, meaning residents are allowed to go to the beach on public holidays and weekends in the mornings.
- Restaurants have been limited to take out, drive-thru, or delivery only.
- All essential businesses must operate within existing mass assembly restrictions and promote the recommended social distancing requirement of 6 feet or more between individuals, as well as the mandatory use of a face covering, the said. governor.
“This restriction does not exceed 10 people in any establishment other than the [big] convenience stores and grocery stores, ”the governor said.
Mr Bryan reminded the public that the territory is still in a state of emergency. “Everyone gets tired, but we’ve been dealing with this virus for almost 6 months now; we must continue to be diligent, ”he said. “We are doing things now that will allow us to do better in the future.”
Mr. Bryan said steps were taken today to ease the tension in the St. Thomas-St. John District, and to “facilitate the anticipation of a major push that could affect both islands”.
The governor said his goal from the start was to balance what he said was the public health, economic well-being and personal freedoms of residents.
“But at the moment, public health concerns prevail over all,” he said.
Mr. Bryan further underlined that the purpose of the ordinance is to stop “all movement in the territory [and] all gatherings in the territory until we can bring this virus back to a manageable state. “
He said that all movement, unless it is absolutely necessary, must stop. “It’s not a test; it’s not an experiment. We’ve done it before and it’s been found to be effective in slowing the spread,” Bryan said.
And while the government has a role to play in tackling the Covid-19 crisis, Mr Bryan said community members also have a role to play. “We are doing our best to do our part, and I ask you in turn that each of you do your best to do your part,” he said.
Mr Bryan said the administration would assess active cases, trends in positivity rates and the number of active positive cases for Covid-19 requiring acute medical attention. “These will be the determining factors for how long we continue in this phase,” he said.
“However, at this point, it is clear that we will not return to the open door phase for at least a month,” added the governor.
The administration released the following list and descriptions of critical businesses in March:
Places that sell or produce food:
- Grocery stores, convenience stores, and pet supply stores. This includes stores that sell groceries and other non-food items, as well as items needed to keep homes safe and sanitized.
- Restaurants that prepare and serve food or drink, but only for delivery, drive-thru or delivery.
- Food culture, including agriculture, animal husbandry and fishing.
Places with a medical vocation:
- Home care for the elderly, adults, people with disabilities or children.
- Accommodation centers and shelters for the elderly, adults, people with disabilities and children.
Newspapers, television, radio and other media services.
Services essential to life:
- Gas stations, and self-supply and self-repair.
- Banks and credit unions.
- Hardware and building materials.
- Laundries, dry cleaners and laundry service providers.
- Plumbers, electricians, caretakers / janitors, DIY services, funeral home and funeral directors, carpenters, landscapers, gardeners, property managers, private security personnel and other service providers who provide services to maintain security, sanitation and the essential operation of properties and other essential businesses.
- Companies that provide office or computer products needed by people working from home.
Businesses that provide other essential businesses with the support or supplies they need to operate.
- Businesses that ship, truck, provide logistical support or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences, critical businesses, healthcare operations, critical infrastructure.
- Airlines, taxis and other private transport providers providing transport services necessary for the activities of daily living.
- Companies that provide parts and services for critical infrastructure.
- Professional services, such as legal or accounting services.
Childcare for essential workers:
- Day care centers offering services enabling exempt employees to work.
Places that house:
- Hotels, shared rental accommodation and similar facilities.
- Accommodation centers for the homeless and social services for economically disadvantaged people