Premier of the Virgin Islands, Honorable Andrew Fahie revealed last night that come December 1st, 2020 incoming tourists may be required to provide test results prior and upon arrival in the BVI, before quarantining for four days.
This revelation which is still subject to Cabinet’s approval was made by the Territory’s leader during the Government’s consultation meeting on October 6th with the owners of resorts, private islands and large hotels, on the protocols for reopening.
Based on the Premier’s reveal, incoming visitors would be required to do a covid-19 test 5-days prior to arrival, and submit results electronically via an app that the Government is developing with IATA ( International Air Transport Association).
Visitors will download the app and register their covid-19 tests 5-days prior before a booking can be made. Then upon arrival, visitors will be mandated to test again and then subjected to a 4-day quarantine before being administered a final test to be cleared.
The Premier did not specify what course of action will be taken if a tourist tests positive for Covid-19.
In addition to the proposed measures, visitors will also be required to wear a wristband that will alert officials of their whereabouts while in the BVI.
Premier Fahie said this will ensure that visitors remain stationed while in quarantine but added that wristbands must be worn until their vacation concludes.
Tourism stakeholders will also need to foot additional operating costs associated with the required retraining of staff at HLSCC and reconfiguring operations for social distancing.
Meanwhile, neighboring USVI has embraced more relaxed travel protocols.
Once visitors can provide a negative covid-19 test upon arrival, they are free to move around as intended, thereby allowing travelers who test negative to bypass any quarantine requirements.
In the failure to provide test results, USVI visitors are subject to a 14-day self-quarantine or until a local covid-19 test results return negative.
Considering the USVI is the main port of entry into the BVI, many are now worried that the locally proposed measures will serve as a deterrent for visitors.
While these measures proposed by Government are yet to be approved by Cabinet, they provide guidelines for the industry professionals who are anxiously waiting on and have called for reopening protocols for months.
The industry consultations come on the heels of a petition filed against the BVI Government on October 6th that saw members of the business community condemning the Government for failure to include stakeholders in reopening discussions.
The meetings which are scheduled to address various sectors will run until October 21st, 2020.
Despite many countries still discouraging nonessential travel — and while questions of COVID-19 infection rates remain — a lot of tourism-reliant economies around the region have already reopened or are planning to open their doors to travelers as soon as possible, in an effort to salvage what’s left of their respective economies.