Sunset on St John

Still Travel, Enjoy Life - Omicron COVID Update in USVI

February 6, 2022

The U.S. Virgin Islands are a popular vacation destination for many people. The islands have beautiful beaches, lush green mountains and rich culture. In 2022, families and couples are returning to the islands, we continue to update on our Blog the latest when it comes to USVI travel restrictions, or local guidelines in St. John, during the Omicron Covid wave. 

Do You Need to be Vaccinated to Fly to the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Vaccinations are not mandatory to travel or to visit restaurants, bars and stores at this time in the USVI.

Also, health officials recommend travelers wait at least two weeks after they get their last course of Covid shots before going on international trips, as that is when you are considered fully vaccinated.

All Travelers to the Virgin Islands Must Use the Travel Portal

Domestic travels aged 5 and older and all international travelers aged 2 and older, along with individuals in transit to another destination, who enter the USVI by sea or air must use the USVI Travel Screening Portal to get clearance for travel to the USVI.

As of January 3, 2022, the window for taking Covid-19 tests to prepare for travel to the USVI will be 3 days before the commencement of travel to the Territory.

This change applies to every vaccinated and unvaccinated traveler, including those vaccinated in the US Virgin Islands.

  • Domestic Travel (includes the mainland and other U.S. Territories): People traveling domestically must submit a negative result from an antigen or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) (e.g., RT- PCR) COVID-19 test taken within 3 days of travel.
  • International Travelers (includes travelers from the BVI): All International travelers must submit a negative antigen or NAAT (e.g., RT- PCR) COVID-19 test result. Test requirements depend on vaccination, mode of travel and age.
  • Travel by Air-Tests must be taken within 1 day of travel. Non-U.S. citizens/non-U.S. immigrants must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination status.
  • Travel by Ferry- Tests must be taken within 3 days of travel. Non-U.S. citizens/non-U.S. immigrants traveling for non-essential reasons (e.g., tourism) must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination status.

Travelers aged 2-17 are exempt from the vaccine requirement.

Again, health officials recommend travelers wait at least two weeks after they get their last course of Covid shots before going on international trips, as that is when you are considered fully vaccinated.

Do You Need to Quarantine When You Arrive in the Virgin Islands?

There is no mandatory quarantine period for individuals arriving In the USVI if they completed the Travel Portal information during the required five-day window. If you didn’t complete these requirements, you could “theoretically” be quarantined upon arrival. 

However, if you didn't get your Travel Portal documentation completed, you most likely will be stopped as you try to board your flight. 

What Will I Need to Show as Proof of COVID-19 Status?

Upon arrival in the U.S. Virgin Islands, travelers aged five or older will be required to produce their original COVID-19 status documentation and travel clearance received from the Travel Screening Portal. It is always recommended that travelers carry a hard copy of the Travel Portal clearance to provide upon deplaning or getting off a marine vessel. 

Are there Omicron Covid Restrictions in St. John? 

The V.I. Dept. of Health recently reported less than 5,000 active Covid-19 infections in in St. John, St. Croix and St. Thomas. The spread is led by the weaker but highly contagious Omicron variant of Covid-19, which is now the predominant strain, sidelining the deadly Delta variant.

There is less of a risk of getting exposed to Omicron and other Covid variants during outdoor activities. This spells good news for activities in St. John, such as hiking, snorkeling and soaking up some sun on the beach.

Meanwhile, when visiting indoor locations, such as museums, historic buildings, shops, restaurants and bars, the risk of covid transmission goes up somewhat. Masks are still required throughout the Virgin Islands, and some places still observe social distancing rules. Lastly, contact businesses (especially restaurants), as some require reservation to comply with local health ordinances related to their business. It would be wise to routinely make sure your destination is going to be as expected before embarking on your day of paradise.

The entire U.S Virgin Islands has accounted for approx. 15,000 cases of the hundreds of millions of cases worldwide, since Covid began.

The mortality rate of those that contracted Covid is approximately 1% in the USVI That is actually very low when you contrast that figure against other islands in our region, such as Puerto Rico which has had over 313,000 cases and 5x the deaths. In other words, the USVI has remained remarkably heathy, and St. John is no different.

Also, consider the local reality that over 50% of the USVI has had at least one dose of the vaccine, which is currently 8x greater than the number of people contracting Covid.

Click here to observe trending over the last 14 days of cases in USVI. This will help you determine closer to your departure date what the Covid reality is when you arrive.

Where is a Covid Rapid Test in St John?

St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas offer popup testing sights for Covid rapid testing. St. Croix and St. Thomas offer Drive-Thru Testing Sites. For more information about scheduling an appointment, test result times and more see The USVI Department of Health’s COVID-19 Scheduling Gateway.

  Currently there is one same day (rapid) testing location in St John:

Myrah Keating Community Health Center, click to call right now 340-693-8900 to check wait times and availability.

On Wednesdays, there is a pop-up vaccination clinic at the Port Authority Gravel Yard from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Private laboratories and healthcare providers are also giving covid rapid tests (see the table below for contact information).

USVI Healthcare Providers for COVID-19 Testing (Antigen, Antibody, Rapid Same Day)
click on image to expand chart
                               Chart listing all COVID testing sites for same day service - examples of vendors on each USVI Island are: St Croix Provider: Acute Alternative Medical Group - call 340-772-2883 offer PCR test and same day test. St Thomas Provider: Red Hook Family Practice - call 340-775-2303 - Antigen Test available - Antibody test available - PCR test available - Same Day Testing. St. John Provider - MKS Community Center - call 340-776-7444 - PCR Test available - same day testing available.

 Is it Safe to Stay in St. John Villas, B&Bs, Resorts, Hotels, or Vacation Rentals during the Omicron Wave? 

The hospitality industry is monitoring the constantly changing situation of the Omicron wave and other forms of Covid. To be on the safe side, look on their website for statements about how they are taking preventive measures based on the CDC and local health agencies’ recommendations.

“The rapid spread of the Omicron variant, we are adjusting our COVID-19 testing requirements for domestic travelers arriving in the Territory... COVID-19 tests for travel to the USVI is 3 days prior to commencement of travel. This change applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, including those who were vaccinated in the USVI. ” said Joseph Boschulte, the U.S. Virgin Islands tourism commissioner.

During your stay in St. John, you can do more to fight the virus's spread by following these basic precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 40 seconds. You can also rub your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for at least 20 sec.
  • Wash all parts of your hands frequently, including the backs of your hands, especially after exchanging things such as credit cards and money.
  • When you are out and about, be on the lookout for hand sanitizer stations and use them before going into bars, restaurants or dining halls.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue or bent elbow. Dispose of the tissue in a closed trash bin. Masks and tissue are considered biohazardous, so don't discard them on the ground or away from closed trash bins.
  • Maintain at least a 1 meter (3+ feet) distance from hospitality staff and other guests. This includes avoiding kissing, hugging or shaking hands.
  • If you can’t guarantee the 1-meter distance, wear a proper mask. Also, be sure to familiarize yourself with the local and national guidelines for properly using masks.

Helpful Websites for Planning Travel to U.S.V.I

Given the ever changing nature of the Covid reality it never hurts to check a couple of U.S.V.I focused websites before you book any travel. The following U.S. Virgin Islands official websites will be helpful for planning:

U.S Virgin Island Omicron Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Travelers

The following is the advisory notice for U.S.V.I provided by the CDC regarding concerns of the Omicron Variant.

A graphic which represents the information documented below for vaccinated travelers vs non vaccinated travelers. This chart says for vaccinated travelers they need to do two things: #1 Self Monitor for Symptoms #2 Wear a mask and take other precautions during travel.

 

If you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine or a vaccine authorized by emergency use by the World Health Organization:

  • During Travel
    • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance.
    • Travelers should follow recommendations or requirements in the U.S. Virgin Islands, including mask wearing and social distancing.
  • About Travel on Cruise Ships
    • The COVID-19 Travel Health Notice level has been updated from Level 3 to Level 4, the highest level. This reflects increases in cases onboard cruise ships since identification of the Omicron variant.
    • Avoid cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status.
    • Even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.
  • After Travel
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.

You do NOT need to get tested or self-quarantine if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months. You should still follow all other travel guidelines.

U.S. Virgin Island Omicron Recommendations for Unvaccinated Travelers

If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, take the following steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Before travel:
    • Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
  • While you are traveling:
    • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance. CDC recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance when traveling.
    • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who did not travel with you. It's important to do this everywhere—both indoors and outdoors.
    • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • After you travel:
    • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
      • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
      • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
    • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
    • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.
    • Visit your state, territorialtribal, or local health department's website to look for the latest information on where to get tested.

Do NOT travel if were exposed to COVID-19you are sickyou test positive for COVID-19, or you are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test. Learn when it is safe for you to travel. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.

Book Your Stay at the Hills, Stay Safe, and Enjoy USVI

The Hills is a 22-villa in lovely Cruz Bay, St. John, and we offer luxurious amenities and a haven among St. John’s most beautiful terrain. With our pristine beaches, sapphire blue waters and legendary shopping opportunities, you’ll find The Hills delivers the best guest experience of the Caribbean!

For your ease of mind and convenience, we now offer a COVID-19 Exceptions and Cancellation Policy that you can read about by clicking here. Of course, your safety and comfort are foremost on our minds, too, and our villas, clubhouse, and other shared recreational spaces get thorough cleanings daily. For more information about our internal safety measures for staff and visitors, please read here.

If you have more questions, you can get in touch with our helpful staff at 800-727-6610. Alternatively, you can reach out to us through our online form, and we’ll quickly contact you back.

For Covid-19 observance reasons, we have a running count of Covid statistics by country below:

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