U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS—In a press conference on Wednesday to update residents about the Territory’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. called for a Territorial Day of Prayer to take place on Monday, March 30.
“As we continue to do everything within our power as a government to mitigate the spread of this virus in our community, and call on you to do your part to protect yourselves and your loved ones, we are also calling on our faith community to assist,” Governor Bryan said.
“But, while we pray for healing and supplication, I want to reiterate the importance of staying home and adhering to the guidance given by the Department of Health and CDC,” the Governor said.
More details about the Territorial Day of Prayer will be announced.
The Governor also updated residents on the Government of the Virgin Islands’ response to the COVID-19 virus. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were no additional confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, and the count remains at 17.
To date, the Territory has investigated 103 persons suspected of carrying the virus, with 56 of those persons testing negative. There are 30 tests still pending, with 10 on St. Croix, 17 on St. Thomas and 3 on St. John.
During Wednesday’s press conference, which included updates from Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion, Human Services Commissioner Kimberley Causey-Gomez and VITEMA Director Daryl Jaschen, the Governor also gave updates on a number of other topics.
Virgin Islands Port Authority
The Virgin Islands Port Authority is reporting a marked drop in travelers. With the recent suspension on new hotel bookings that went into effect Wednesday, VIPA expects to see fewer travelers arriving in the territory in the upcoming weeks.
American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Seaborne and Cape Air have each re-ported reduced schedules or cancellations of flights to and from St. Thomas. No airline cancellations have been reported for St. Croix at this time. Travelers are encouraged to contact their airlines directly for flight in-formation prior to arriving at the airport.
Inter-Island Car Ferries
All three car ferry companies operating between St. John and St. Thomas are operating on modified ferry service schedules.
Inter-Island Passenger Ferries
The St. John-St. Thomas passenger ferries are operating as normal, but with reduced passenger capacity. The QE IV ferry which services the St. Croix-St. Thomas route, has halted operations until further notice.
Edward Blyden Terminal
Ferry operations at the Blyden Terminal ended at noon Wednesday and will be closed until further notice. However, Customs services will be available at the Blyden Terminal from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Cargo operations in the territory will continue as normal. The V.I. Port Authority reminds the public that all its seaports and mariners operate under the rules and regulations set by the United States Coast Guard.
Small Business Administration
The Government of the Virgin Islands applied for a disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration, and it received notification Monday from the SBA that the request was approved.
The Government also received notification from the SBA of changes to help borrowers still paying back SBA loans from previous disasters. The SBA is deferring payments for all SBA Loans through December 31, 2020.
The next Government House update on the COVID-19 virus is scheduled for Friday, March 27.