The US Virgin Islands Is Open
The U.S. Virgin Islands has reopened to travel with enhanced health and safety protocols in place amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to being one of the most sought-after destinations in the Caribbean, the USVI—consisting of the main islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas—is among the most accessible to Americans, who won't need a passport to visit or a negative COVID-19 test result to return home to the mainland U.S. after their trip. Nonetheless, there are some important things tourists should know before they venture to America's Caribbean Paradise in 2021.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for the U.S. Virgin Islands, advising Americans to avoid travel to the islands due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you do decide to travel, the CDC recommends testing for coronavirus before and after your trip, wearing a mask in public spaces, practicing social distancing and avoiding crowds as well as washing or sanitizing your hands frequently. As of February 23, the islands have reported fewer than 2,600 total coronavirus cases.
Visitors to the U.S. Virgin Islands (age five and older) will first have to gain certification through the USVI Travel Screening Portal, which requires that they submit a negative COVID-19 molecular or antigen test result taken within five days of travel to the islands. However, travelers can also gain entry with a positive COVID-19 antibody finger stick or blood draw test taken within four months of travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Because the islands are a U.S. territory, travelers returning to the mainland U.S. after their trip will not have to worry about meeting the CDC's latest testing requirement for re-entry.
Enhanced Health and Safety Protocols
Travelers can expect a plethora of enhanced health and safety protocols in the USVI from the time they step off of the plane, including face mask mandates for travelers age two and up and temperature checks for all arrivals. Social distancing guidelines and elevated cleaning standards are also commonplace in the islands, with hotels, resorts, restaurants and other attractions stepping up the frequency and effectiveness of disinfection efforts. Currently, the USVI is in the "Safer at Home" phase of reopening, which is above "Total Quarantine" and "Stay at Home" but below "Open Doors" and "New Normal." "Due to COVID-19, there are more travel protocols and restrictions in place now than ever before, and we realize that travelers may be overwhelmed and confused by the different requirements established by local, state or national authorities,” USVI Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte said in a statement earlier this month, encouraging travelers to visit usviupdate.com for the latest details.
Flights to the U.S. Virgin Islands have resumed months ago and have been increasing ever since. American Airlines brought back flights from a handful of U.S. cities; Delta Air Lines is offering Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday service between Minneapolis and St. Thomas while Sun Country Airlines is operating weekly
Saturday service between the same two destinations. What's more, Frontier Airlines began Monday and Friday service between Orlando, Florida and St. Thomas earlier this month and has announced it will launch twice-weekly service between Miami and St. Thomas on Sundays and Thursdays beginning March 7. Meanwhile, JetBlue Airways plans to begin four-times-weekly service between New York City via Newark Liberty International Airport and St. Thomas starting July 1. Those flights went on sale on February 23.
Talk To a Travel Advisor
Simplify your getaway to the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2021 by taking the hard work out of the planning and booking process with the help of a trusted travel advisor, who will take your concerns, preferences and budget into consideration to find you the perfect flights and accommodations at a price you can afford and work with you to develop a tailor-made itinerary that covers all of your vacation interests. If you've never worked with a travel advisor before, begin your search for a qualified and experienced advisor at TravelSense.org, where you can filter candidates based on your destination and trip type.