The United States Virgin Islands will reopen to leisure travelers on Monday.

Commissioner of tourism, Joseph Boschulte, revealed the territory is finalizing public health and tourism protocols for the return of visitors. 

Boschulte reported that as new protocols, developed with input from the office of the governor, tourism and health authorities, and the private sector, are rolled out, a state of emergency will remain in effect through to July 11th.

“Over the past several weeks, we have been building Covid-19 mitigation and response capacity, and preparing protocols to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors alike,” said commissioner Boschulte, who explained that the decision to reopen has not been made lightly.

“We did not want to rush to reopen in reaction to what other destinations are doing.

“Instead, we have engaged in data-driven, risk-based analysis, in conjunction with the Virgin Islands department of health and federal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other stakeholders.”

In preparation for the reopening of the territory, the department of tourism has prepared health and safety guidelines for the industry, a comprehensive master document that provides specific guidance to all tourism stakeholders.

“The response and collaboration of various departments and agencies are to be commended,” Boschulte added, noting that the document will be frequently updated to reflect anticipated guidance updates.

The Commissioner asserted that the reopening is a partnership that requires everyone to have both a personal and professional responsibility to reduce the spread of the new virus. 

The guidance includes procedures for operating reception and concierge facilities; cleaning and housekeeping; managing dining rooms; and providing technical and maintenance services.

There is also specific subsector guidance for taxi, van, safari and limo services, restaurants and bars, and accommodations.