Please visit this page often as this situation is fluid and changing daily.
Below are updates and resources with links to official information related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 in the USVI
To Sign up for USVI alerts related to the
COVID-19 virus text COVID19USVI to 888777
For current COVID-19 data in the USVI go to: covid19usvi.com
To request a test call VI Dept of Health call 340-712-6299 (STX) or 340-776-1519 (STT/STJ)
USVI Community Hotline for questions related to COVID-19 call 340-715-6843
For Medical emergencies call 911
Current USVI Response:
There is a State of Emergency in effect. The Territory is currently in Phase Yellow: Safer At Home as of Tuesday, September 8, 2020 and is closed to leisure travelers until September 19, 2020
The following regulations are in effect by order of the Governor of the Virgin Islands
as of September 8, 2020. Source: Executive Orders vi.gov/executive-orders
No Mask, No Service
Any individuals gathering for any purpose, including but not limited to visitors, patrons, employees, managers, directors, or owners of commercial entities or businesses, public or private, are required to wear a mask or facial covering when entering in any business, office, or any public areas not their private home when 2 or more individuals of different households meet or interact in any manner not able to utilize social distancing techniques.
- Masks or facial coverings must cover both the nose and mouth of the individual.
- Masks with exhalation valves or vents should NOT be worn to help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others.
- Ski masks and stocking caps are prohibited as use for facial coverings.
- Masks or facial coverings should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Individuals who have a physician’s certification that they have a respiratory medical condition preventing them from wearing facial coverings are exempt from the requirement to wear a mask.
- Masks or facial coverings do not have to be worn during active exercise, indoor or outdoor.
- All passengers and drivers of mass or public transportation, including but not limited to Vitran buses, taxicabs, and automobiles for hire, shall be required to wear a mask or facial covering.
- Violations of this Subsection shall be punishable by a fine of fifty dollars ($50) for a first offense and one hundred dollars ($100) for each additional offense pursuant to Section 4 of the Twelfth Supplemental Executive Order issued on August 10, 2020
In coordination with the Commissioner of the DOH and in alignment with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), all persons are urged to maintain social distancing of at least six feet away from other people that are not of their same household, whenever possible. All individuals are urged to continue to wash their hands, utilize hand sanitizer, and practice proper respiratory etiquette (including coughing into elbow) as often as possible.
For purposes of the Safer-at-Home Phase, a “mass gathering” is defined as any event or convening that brings together more than fifty (50) persons in a single room or single space at the same time. “Spaces” shall include but not be limited to an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theater, house of worship, restaurant, bar, parking lot, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space. This includes all parades, fairs, festivals, and camping on public beaches or parks.
- Mass gatherings shall be prohibited in the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- A mass gathering does not include operations for standard essential services and infrastructure such as grocery stores and big-box stores, operations at airports, seaports, bus stops, medical facilities, or hotels. It also does not include office (government and private) environments, factories, refineries, marinas, construction sites, grocery stores, pharmacies, fuel service stations or other retail establishments that provide essential services and are large enough to accommodate for the practice of social distancing of six feet or more between persons.
- The Enforcement Authority and Penalties established in Section 3 of the Fifteenth Supplemental Executive Order issued on August 28, 2020, shall continue in full force and effect.
Source: Executive Orders vi.gov/executive-orders
Restaurants| Bars| Food Service
are allowed to resume dine-in operations under the following conditions:
- No serving of alcohol at bar counters; no congregation of patrons at bar counters.
- No more than six persons per table; Tables must be 6 feet apart
- Employees must wear facial coverings at all times
- Patrons should wear facial coverings whenever they are not seated at a table
- Patrons waiting for take-out orders must wait outside the restaurant. Restaurants may sell alcoholic beverages with take-out orders.
- There shall be no service of alcohol to persons outside of the restaurant.
- All restaurants and any other establishments with a Tavern Keeper A or Tavern Keeper B license in the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands shall cease the sale or distribution of alcohol from 11:00 pm until 8:00 am daily.
- Restaurants shall be closed to patrons from 12:00 am until 6:00 am daily.
- Restaurants shall limit the number of patrons in the establishment to 50% of the regular occupancy capacity set by Business License or Fire Marshal prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, or 50 customers, whichever is less, based on which temporary occupancy certificates may be issues.
- Restaurants that have been issued a Certificate of Exemption from DOH pursuant to an inspection of sanitization equipment and procedures shall be exempt from the requirement for the use of disposable dishes, utensils, napkins, and drink containers mandated by the COVID-19 Guidance for Restaurants, Bars and Nightclubs issues in the 8th Supplemental Executive Order on May 30, 2020, as amended and supplemented.
shall operate on a “drive-through”, “take-out”, or “delivery” basis only. If a food truck has a seating area that was previously permitted, the food struck shall then be allowed to operate as Restaurants above.
Bars, Nightclubs, and Cabarets shall remain CLOSED. Effective on Monday, November 9, 2020 per the Governor shall be allowed to reopen following established guidelines and protocols.
Business & Recreation
All non-essential businesses
shall be allowed to open, as limited below and further by any other sections and subsections of this ORDER and any applicable terms and conditions of the previous orders still in effect:
- Private business offices currently closed are allowed to re-open. All employees that are not critical to in-person operations or that are not classified as essential are recommended to continue working from home or remotely.
- Retail stores are allowed to re-open but shall not permit more than 10 individuals into the establishment at any given time. This limitation of 10 individuals shall not apply to establishments previously exempted to include grocery stores, big-box stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, and fuel service stations. Still, the practice of social distancing of six feet or more between persons must be maintained.
Indoor/Outdoor Recreations Facilities
such as bowling alleys and movie theaters are allowed to re-open as of September 8, 2020 and Casinos and Gaming Centers are allowed to reopen as of September 19, 2020 under the following conditions:
- The sale of food and beverages or hosting of parties shall be prohibited.
- Facilities should be closed to patrons from 12:00 am until 6:00 am daily.
- Facilities shall limit the number of patrons in the establishment to 50% of the regular occupancy capacity set by Business License or Fire Marshal prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, or 50 customers, whichever is less, based on which temporary occupancy certificates may be issues.
such as wellness centers, fitness centers, gyms, tennis courts, and golf courses are allowed to re-open in accordance with COVID-19 GUIDANCE FOR GYM AND FITNESS CENTER RE-OPENING issued in the 8th Supplemental Executive Order on May 30, 2020,as supplemented or amended by the following terms and conditions:
- recommended social distancing requirement of 6 feet or more between individuals is maintained, and group limits are set within the mass gathering limitations.
- All equipment must be properly sanitized before and after each use and not shared.
- The overall facility must be sanitized regularly throughout the day. Hand sanitizer must be provided for all patrons entering the establishment.
- Contact sports, including but not limited to basketball, volleyball, and football, are strictly prohibited.
Personal Grooming Services
businesses such as barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, massage therapists are permitted to re-open as long as:
- All equipment, furniture, and counters are disinfected after use with each client, and the facility is sanitized regularly throughout the day. Hand sanitizer must be provided for all patrons entering the establishment.
- All customers awaiting services are to wait outside of the business establishment and must be socially distanced.
- Any additional guidelines for these types of services provided by the Department of Health shall be strictly followed.
Houses of Worship
Although we encourage churches to protect their members by continuing to provide virtual services to the greatest extent possible, churches are allowed to re-open to conduct service, in accordance with the COVID-19 GUIDANCE FOR RE-OPENING HOUSES OF WORSHIP FOR SERVICES issued in the 8th Supplemental Executive Order on May 30, 2020,as supplemented or amended by the following terms and conditions:
- No more than 50 individuals, including pastoral leaders, employees, and volunteers, are allowed in the establishment.
- Everyone, including the pastoral leaders, employees, and volunteers, must wear a facial covering at all times.
- Religious leaders may conduct service without a mask provided that they stay 10 feet away from all persons while unmasked.
- Attendance at a funeral or memorial is limited to immediate family only, and no more than 10 family members at any one time.
- Churches are permitted to provide communion provided it is presented to the receivers in protected containers that do not require any administration by the officiant.
Nursing Homes: Visitation to nursing homes is strictly prohibited
Beaches all beaches in the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands shall be closed from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. the following day on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Only fishermen may be on the beach during the beach closure to access their vessels or cast their nets. There shall be no picnics, no parties, no disc-jockey (DJ), no DJ equipment or the likes, no camping, no bonfire, no cooking, no barbecuing or grilling allowed on any beach in the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Schools Childcare facilities are to remain closed subject to guidance provided by the Department of Human Services.
- All public school campuses will be closed for students. Virtual learning programs or classes are allowed as scheduled by the Virgin Islands Department of Education.
- All private and parochial school campuses are allowed to re-open subject to review and approval of guidelines provided by the Department of Health and continued adherence to all Department Of Health guidelines.
- All other terms, conditions, and requirement of the Executive Orders issued from March 13, 2020, through August 28, 2020, as amended, supplemented, renewed, and extended, not in conflict with this Order, shall remain in full force and effect.
Boating Guidelines DPNR is to enforce anchoring guidelines per the 12th Supplemental Executive Order on July 28, 2020 so long as the Territory remains in a State of Emergency.
- There shall be NO rafting (vessels tying up together) at any time in any of the bays or anchorages of the Territory and such vessels must maintain at least twelve (12) feet between vessels at all times, unless as a result of a medical emergency.
- No vessels shall anchor in designated swim zones.
- Any violation of this section shall result in a fine of up to $10,000 per incident and/or possible seizure of the vessel by the Government of the US Virgin Islands.
Tourism and Travel
As of September 19, 2020 all hotels, guest-houses, villas, bed and breakfasts, shared economy hospitality bookings, AirBnBs, any temporary vacation housing, charter vessels, or any similar business known by any other terminology, may accept, receive, check-in, Or register guests. (prohibition on guest arrivals expires September 18, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.)
Taxicabs and Safari busses
limited to one-half of their previously allowable capacity shall remain in full force and effect so long as the Territory remains in a State of Emergency as declared on March 13, 2020, as amended, supplemented, extended, and renewed, unless earlier lifted by order of the Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands. All Taxis, Taxi-Vans, Safaris, and Limousine Services shall operate in accordance with the COVID-19 GUIDANCE – TAXI VAN, SAFARIS, AND LIMOUSINE SERVICES issued in the 8th Supplemental Executive Order on May 30, 2020
Travel to the United States Virgin Islands
- Effective September 8, 2020, and continuing as long as the Territory remains in a State of Emergency as declared on March 13, 2020, as amended, supplemented, extended, and renewed, unless earlier lifted by order of the Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, every person who enters the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands shall be subject to mandatory self-quarantine for a period of 14 days, consistent with Department of Health regulations for quarantine, from the time of entry into the Territory or the duration of the person’s presence in the Territory, whichever is shorter, unless the person presents a COVID-19 negative test result obtained within 5-days of commencement of travel to the US Virgin Islands.
- The requirement to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days may be reduced by the person obtaining a COVID-19 negative test result after arrival in the Territory.
- This travel restriction currently applies to passengers age 5 years and older. Every person covered under this section ordering to self-quarantine shall be responsible for all associated costs, including transportation, lodging, food, and medical care. A covered person shall proceed directly from the airport to the designated quarantine location provided to the VJ. Department of Health.
- Travelers may upload their negative COVID-19 PCR test results to usvitravelportal.com prior to arrival.
Executive Orders provide more detail on the current status and allowed business operations
- View all current US Virgin Islands Executive Orders and Guidance for Businesses
Department of Labor Updates
- VIDOL has implemented the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which allots an additional 12 weeks of unemployment assistance to individuals should it be necessary. To file an online application, visit the website at vidol.gov or contact their call center at 1-877-374-0356.
Business Resources Related to Coronavirus
For more details on funding sources and options> SBA Coronavirus Relief Options
SBA – Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The SBA will resume accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 10:30am EDT.
An SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. > Get More Information
- The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
- SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
- You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.
- Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020. The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.
Who Can Apply?
The following entities affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be eligible:
- Any small business concern that meets SBA’s size standards (either the industry based sized standard or the alternative size standard)
- Any business, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, 501(c)(19) veterans organization, or Tribal business concern (sec. 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act) with the greater of:
- 500 employees, or
- That meets the SBA industry size standard if more than 500
- Any business with a NAICS Code that begins with 72 (Accommodations and Food Services) that has more than one physical location and employs less than 500 per location
- Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons.
Participating Local Lenders
SBA – Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
STATS: Approvals through May 18, 2020 for the US Virgin Islands: 104 recipients totaling $8,068,500 View EIDL COVID-19 Loan Report
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
USVI businesses are now eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
Loan Facts and Requirements
- Small businesses and non-profit organizations of any size affected by COVID-19 may apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
- Any business with 500 or fewer employees that was in operation before February 1, 2020, is eligible
- Businesses with > than 500 employees that are considered small under SBA’s size standards and in operation before February 1, 2020 are also eligible
- Farmers – Agriculture businesses and farms with fewer than 500 employees now qualify for small business disaster relief loans.
- Faith Based entities that provide secular social services to the general public are eligible
- Application deadline runs from 01/31/20 to 12/31/20
- Loan amounts of up to $2 million
- Terms up to 30 years
- Interest rate for for-profit companies: 3.75%; non-profits: 2.75%
- Proceeds may be used for working capital, including:
- Payroll costs, salaries and sick leave
- Rent or mortgage payments
- Material costs
- Preexisting debt
- Minimal documents
- Lower credit
Applications are received online. There will be no Business Recovery Center to accept applications in-person as was the case after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
For assistance, applicants may call 800-659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. SBDC staff on both St. Thomas and St. Croix are also available for assistance in person by making an appointment at 340-693-1694.
U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced on March 23, 2020 changes to help borrowers still paying back SBA loans from previous disasters. By making this change, deferments through December 31, 2020, will be automatic. Now, borrowers of home and business disaster loans do not have to contact SBA to request a deferment.
The most up-to-date information on SBA’a available resources may be found at www.SBA.gov/Coronavirus
SBDC staff is working with the local SBA to provide necessary resources.
VI SBDC staff is available by email at email@example.com or telephone at 1-340-693-1694 ext 5104.
Visit the VI SBDC Facebook page for video resources.
USVI Department of Labor/Unemployment Information
The Dept of Labor is now providing online applications for Unemployment on their website at vidol.gov . They are requesting that businesses have a representative from your establishment call the Agency before notices of separation are issued so that they can be aware of how many people can be expected to file for unemployment assistance and other services.
They will also have a drop box for physical applications for those who are not able to fill out the application online.
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Employer Best Practices
Any employer that needs to reduce hours, give furloughs, layoffs or possible reduction in hours, the VIDOL is requesting that employers do the following:
- Send a letter to the Office of the Commissioner that includes the names of the affected employees in advance of the reduction of hours to twenty (20) a week, discharge or layoff.
- Contact the Department of Labor directly at the following numbers:
- St Thomas 340-776-3700 extensions 2013 or 2035
- St Croix 340-773-1994 extensions 2152 or 2154
- Timely file your quarterly reports. The filing of quarterly reports is necessary to assure persons receive the correct unemployment compensation.
- Send a notice to the employee with the reason for the separation before reducing in hours, discharge or layoff.
US Virgin Islands Departments & Resources
Official CoronavirusReference Sites
- CDC: Coronavirus and Travel in the United States
- Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Map
- World Health Organization (WHO): Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
US Virgin Islands Official Reference Sites
- Virgin Islands Department of Health (VIDOH) COVID-19
- VITEMA (Virgin Islands Territorial Management Association)
- VIDOH Information for Travelers
- Virgin Islands Department of Tourism COVID-19 Updates
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) & BIR Updates
The IRS has pushed back the Federal tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15 according to the Treasury Department. More information regarding IRS Tax Relief can be found at irs.gov/coronavirus
The income tax filing deadline for 2019 tax returns has been extended to July 15, and the Taxpayer Assistance Program has been suspended until further notice.
All face-to-face appointments have been cancelled until mid-April.
Taxpayers who need to clear imported goods through excise tax offices are asked to use the online system at https://excise.bir.vi.gov.
All tax returns that need to be filed should be done by mail, with a certified receipt, if possible. Include an extra copy of the return stamped, self-addressed envelope so the Bureau can return a stamped copy.
The St. John office is closed until further notice. St. Croix and St. Thomas office hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, and cashiering services will be available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily until further notice.
For more information, call 340-773-1040 on St. Croix and 340-774-1040 on St. Thomas. Use the following extensions and email address for specific needs:
- Audit Division – St. Croix extension is 4233 and St. Thomas extension is 2271, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delinquent Accounts and Returns – St. Croix extension is 4254 and St. Thomas extension is 2232, or send an email to email@example.com
- Processing – St. Croix number is 340-712-2513 and St. Thomas extension is 2223, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Excise Division – St. Croix number is 340-778-1021 and St. Thomas extension is 3201, or send an email to email@example.com
- Director’s Office – St. Croix extension is 4225 and St. Thomas extension is 4225, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bureau of Internal Revenue website is bir.vi.gov.
FEMA Response and Resources
USVI Department of Human Services
Cash, Food and Energy Assistance Programs Ready to Help Through Uncertain Times with Telephone Interviews and Relaxed Federal Guidelines
In response to the Covid19 Pandemic, the USVI Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Division of Family Assistance announced that their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – formerly known as Food Stamps), cash, and energy assistance programs are ready to serve existing and new clients through conducting interviews via telephone rather than in person for everyone’s health and wellness. Download Details below:
WTJX Educational Resources
The CDC has compiled some excellent guidance for business owners: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers, Plan, Prepare and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019
Other important CDC links:
- COVID-19 Website
- What You Need to Know About COVID-19pdf icon
- What to Do If You Are Sick With COVID-19pdf icon
- Interim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Persons with Potential Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Exposure in Travel-associated or Community Settings
- Health Alert Network
- Travelers’ Health Website
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Small Business International Travel Resource Travel Plannerpdf icon
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 Recommendations for Ships