Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. on Saturday ordered non-essential businesses to close and residents to stay at home as his administration ramps up its response to COVID-19 in the territory.
Bryan made this announcement Saturday evening during a press conference that can be viewed here.
The V.I. Department of Health confirmed three new cases of COVID-19 in the territory, bringing the confirmed cases to six, with 43 still pending. One of those positive results was the first case of so-called “community transmission,” confirming person-to-person transfer in the territory and adding impetus to the governor’s Saturday address.
Bryan stressed that while there is currently no curfew in place, Virgin Islanders need to continue adhering to the containment strategies put forth by the V.I. Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the territory.
“If we all do our part and adhere to these containment strategies, the U.S. Virgin Islands will weather this storm, as we have many times before,” Bryan said. “If you are not working at an establishment or in a job deemed essential during this state of emergency, you are asked to stay home and avoid any unnecessary social interactions.”
In addition to asking residents to shelter in their homes, Bryan instituted further measures in his administration’s effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the territory:
– Non-essential businesses should cease in-person business operations until at least Monday, April 6, and should require their employees to stay home.
– Hotels, guest houses, villas, bed and breakfasts and similar businesses should not accept new guests for the next 30 days.
“We are asking our residents to stay at home unless absolutely necessary,” Bryan said. “We do not take these decisions lightly. We are motivated by the critical need to keep our community safe.”
Government House has issued the following guidance regarding essential businesses:
Places that sell or produce food:
– Grocery stores, convenience stores and pet supply stores. This includes stores that sell groceries and other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of homes.
– Restaurants that prepare and serve food or beverages, but only for delivery, drive-through or carry out.
– Food cultivation, including farming, livestock and fishing.
Places with medical purpose:
– Home-based care for seniors, adults, people with a disability or children.
– Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, people with a disability and children.
– Newspapers, television, radio and other media services.
Core life services:
– Gas stations, auto supply and auto repair.
– Banks and credit unions.
– Hardware stores and building supplies.
– Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers.
– Plumbers, electricians, custodial/janitorial workers, handyman services, funeral home workers and morticians, carpenters, landscapers, gardeners, property managers, private security personnel and other service providers who provide services to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation to properties and other essential businesses.
– Businesses that supply office or computer products needed by people who work from home.
– Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate.
– Businesses that ship, truck, provide logistical support or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences, essential businesses, health care operations, essential infrastructure.
– Airlines, taxis and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for activities of daily living.
– Businesses that provide parts and services for essential infrastructure.
– Professional services, such as legal or accounting services.
Childcare for essential workers:
– Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted to work.
Places that provide shelter:
– Hotels, shared rental units and similar facilities.
– Homeless shelters and social services for economically disadvantaged people.
Bryan and Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion will provide an update on the territory’s response to COVID-19 at 1 p.m. Monday at Government House in Christiansted.
For more information on COVID-19, please visit the USVI Department of Health website, doh.vi.gov/coronavirus, or text COVID19USVI to 888777.