April 29, 2020 | 4:30 PM AST
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — Governor Albert Bryan Jr. announced Wednesday he is implementing a “Safer At Home” order that will become effective on Monday, May 4.
The Governor also said he is issuing an executive order that will detail the phased reopening of non-essential businesses and the guidelines to which they will be subject.
- The current stay-at-home order has been extended to 6 a.m. Monday, May 4
- The intention of the “Safer At Home” order is to begin the phased-reopening of the local economy in preparation for returning access to the outside world
- The transition will be
managed according to a five-tiered system
- Red – Total quarantine
- Orange – Current Stay-At-Home order (in effect until 6 a.m. Monday, May 4)
- Yellow – Safer At Home order (effective May 4)
- Blue – Open Doors (hotel reservations and leisure guest bookings permitted; restaurants open for seating – anticipated June 1)
- Green – New Normal
Safer at Home (Effective May 4, 2020)
- All patrons are required to wear a face mask when entering a business
- All gatherings of people require face masks (except children 2 and younger or those with acute respiratory ailments)
- Recreation facilities, such as gyms, tennis courts and golf courses may reopen as long as they maintain social distancing
- All contact sports, such as basketball, volleyball and football are prohibited
- Sports equipment must be properly sanitized and not shared
- Bowling alleys and movie theaters may reopen if they practice social distancing, but they may not sell food and drink or host parties
- Private offices may reopen, but all employees not critical to in-person services should be encouraged to work from home
- Government operations remain in their current hold pattern and all conditions for public interaction remain in place until further notice.
- Private health care facilities may resume procedures if they follow required safety protocols
- Personal services, such as barbers, massage therapists and hair salons, may operate by appointment only and must employ strict hygiene guidelines and frequent sanitization procedure for all contact services and tools, including hand sanitizer for patrons and face masks for the entire time as possible
- For personal services businesses, no more than 5 customers will be allowed to wait at any given time and no more than 10 people, including employees, allowed in the establishment at a time
- Retail stores may not allow more than 10 individuals into the establishment at any time. The only exemptions are grocery stores and the previously exempted big box stores
- Visitation to nursing homes is still is prohibited and child care facilities still are closed
- All schools – public, private and parochial – remain closed.
- Restaurants continue to be restricted to take-out, delivery or drive-thru service
- Bars remain closed
- Churches may conduct services providing they don’t exceed a capacity of 50 individuals and all, including the pastor, wear face masks
- The social distancing requirement of at least 6 feet remains in place for general purposes between customers when not directly conducting service
- Employers should encourage frequent breaks to wash hands and employees showing any signs of illness should remain at home.
- Employees should wear face masks when interacting with customers
Moving from the yellow Safer At Home tier to the blue Open Doors tier is anticipated to be June 1 and is the tentative date to reopen the USVI to travelers.
Vulnerable individuals should stay at home to the greatest extent possible, and for purposes of this Executive Order are characterized as persons 65 or older; persons with chronic lung disease or severe asthma; persons with serious heart conditions; persons who are immunocompromised; and pregnant women.
COVID-19 financial assistance
- Secured a $60 million line of credit for government operations
- Secured $75 million from federal CARES Act
- Applied $250 credit to residential WAPA accounts and $500 to commercial accounts
- Awaiting $84.7 million in advance payments for individual stimulus checks and the Territory has provided all necessary documents and other requirements of the U.S. Treasury have been met.
Applications continue to be processed, and, to date, the Labor Department has processed 2,012 checks totaling $1,412,217.
- Currently tracking 7 active cases
- 872 individuals tested to date
- 732 of those tests were negative
- 62 tests came back positive
- 78 tests are pending
- 4 fatalities to date
A rush transcript of the Governor’s Remarks is available below: