U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – During his weekly briefing on Monday, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. reminded residents that the Territory returned to the “Stay at Home” phase for at least the next two weeks while the Bryan/Roach Administration continues trying to mitigate the resurgence of COVID-19 in the USVI.
“As we did last month in St. Croix when there was an outbreak in the Limetree refinery, we rolled back certain restrictions to prevent people from congregating to stop the spread of the virus,” Governor Bryan said, noting that bars were closed, beaches were closed early on weekends and holidays, the man camp at the refinery was locked down and screening protocols were added at the Territory’s ports of entry.
“All these measures, to this point, have proved successful in slowing the spread in the St. Croix District,” Governor Bryan said. “And while the source of spread in the St. Thomas-St. John District is proving a bit more elusive, we are hoping that with the Stay at Home order, we will have similar success.”
The Governor also urged residents to be patient while the V.I. Department of Labor wades through the complex process of getting unemployment monies to beneficiaries. Five different programs are being administered by the Department of Labor, and residents must apply to each program individually to receive the full assistance they deserve.
Additionally, residents who are self-employed first must apply for standard unemployment and be denied before they then can apply for the special unemployment benefits from the CARES Act. This step is necessary and mandated by the federal government.
“I cannot express enough how complicated and burdensome the unemployment process has been and has become now with the issuance of checks to the self-employed. These are not policies or requirements of the Virgin Islands Government. They are policies set forth by the federal government that we want the public to be aware of and adhere to,” Governor Bryan said.
Residents who have questions can call the Department of Labor COVID-19 hotline at 1-877-374-0356.
Restaurant Sanitization Inspections
The Governor also announced that, beginning Monday, August 17, the Department of Health has begun inspections of glassware and utensils sanitization equipment at all licensed restaurants either by request or incidental inspection.
All licensed restaurants that successfully meet the inspection requirements will receive a certification that exempts them from the requirement to use disposable dishes, utensils, napkins and drink containers.
Bureau of Motor Vehicles
In addition to the “Stay at Home” restrictions, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles is extending the valid date on licenses and ID cards for an additional six months from the original expiration date.
Vehicle registration online remains operational and residents are highly encouraged to take advantage of that option.
- Currently tracking 226 active cases
- 12,429 individuals tested to date (more than 10% of the population)
- 11,685 of those tests were negative
- 760 tests came back positive
- 525 people recovered
- 9 fatalities to date
- One COVID-19 patient is hospitalized and on a ventilator at Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix.
- Seven COVID-19 patients, with three of them on a ventilator, are hospitalized at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas.
Governor Bryan’s next update is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Monday, August 24.