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Information, Health and Food Help During COVID-19 Outbreak in Virgin Islands

Woman receiving grocery delivery.

Español | In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, AARP in The Virgin Islands is providing information and resources to help older Virgin Islanders and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus and help prevent it from spreading to others.

Update as of June 16, 2022: Governor Albert Bryan Jr. has announced that the Virgin Islands is now in the COVID-19 endemic phase.

The state of emergency was extended from its end date of June 9 to June 30 "to enable an orderly winding down of the COVID Pandemic Emergency," according to a statement released by Government House.

The Governor addressed Virgin Islanders for their fight against the virus stating, “I want to thank all Virgin Islanders 
for coming together and facing the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic as the resilient and determined people we are. We’ve emerged from two years of hardships and losses of loved ones to be truly stronger than ever, and I am confident that if we continue to do the common-sense things and follow the basic guidance of our Health Department, we will continue to be alright moving forward.”

Update as of June 9, 2022: The COVID-19 related State of Emergency was extended until June 30, 2022, only to allow for an "orderly winding down" of the pandemic emergency, according to a statement released by Government House.

During the transition through June 30, all standing clauses of the 35th Supplemental Executive Order, as amended by the 36th through 38th executive orders, still remain in effect, the administration said.

Update as of March 14, 2022: Governor Albert Bryan Jr. announced that wearing a mask indoors was no longer required as of that day. He added that there were a few exceptions. Masks should be worn at:

  • Indoor and outdoor areas of Ports of entry
  • Indoor and outdoor spaces at public, private, and parochial schools
  • All hospitals, nursing homes, and healthcare facilities

Business owners can require that customers and staff wear masks.

The Governor and VI Health Commissioner reminded Virgin Islanders that the pandemic is not over and that masks continue to be an effective way to avoid spreading the COVID19 virus and are an option for those who prefer to use them to continue doing so.

Update as of February 28, 2022: Governor Albert Bryan Jr. relaxed most of the COVID-19 protocols. Mask wearing and the Travel Portal remain in effect. All travelers with proper vaccination records will not be required to test beginning March 7. Masks will no longer be required in open-air spaces in establishments beginning February 28, 2022.

The Governor ordered the return to full in-person learning in the Territory’s schools. Businesses can now return to following the terms of the Licensing and Operating permits and must comply with masking and social distancing rules.

The new modified masking protocols are:

  • 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.
  • Masks are required in outdoor areas of all airports and seaports in the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Masks are required in outdoor areas of all schools

For events, the Department of Health approval is no longer required. Events with more than 999 participants will need authorization. Any permits required by any regulatory agency with jurisdiction over an event are still required. More information can be found at the VI Office of the Governor website.

Updated as of October 27, 2021: Governor Albert Bryan Jr. has announced the easing of restrictions effective Friday, October 29, 2021. On that day at 5:00 p.m., the 11:00 p.m. moratorium on the sale of alcohol will end. On the same day, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants may remain open past the 11 pm and 12 pm curfews that were imposed in the past.

Dancing restrictions in establishments has also been lifted. However, persons must wear masks while dancing and continue social distancing from other couples and other people.

The number of people who can attend an event has been raised to 250. The event can be of entertainment, faith-based or other. The attendees of the events must be vaccinated for this number, according to the governor. The limit on the number of people at events that will be hosting a mix of vaccinated and non-vaccinated patrons remains at 100. The health commissioner can approve larger gatherings.

The governor cautioned that the restrictions would be reimplemented if the mask wearing and social distancing orders were not followed and if inappropriate behavior that could lead to infections or surges of the virus were practiced.

Updated as of June 1, 2021: Governor Albert Bryan Jr. has lifted restrictions for bars, restaurants, and night clubs. Patrons can sit at the bar but congregation of groups is not allowed.

Updated as of April 19, 2021. Governor Albert Bryan Jr. ended curfews on all beaches in the Territory, ordered to close at 5 in the afternoon, on weekends, and holidays to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The existing curfew will be lifted as of Friday, April 23; however, restrictions prohibiting grilling, DJay's, and live or amplified music, as well as guidelines for social distancing and mass gatherings, will remain in effect.

Additionally, Governor Bryan said that because they now pose less risk of transmitting infections than before, restaurants can now place tables 4 feet apart.

The Governor urged the public to exercise good judgment and restraint to keep the community safe from the virus. The Governor added that if the guidelines are not respected and practiced, he will be forced to reinstate the curfew.

Updated December 14, 2020. As of December 14, 2020 the Governor has announced that all nightclubs will be closed effective December 17, 2020 and all bars will be closed from December 25, 2020 until January 8, 2021.

During the Press Briefing on December 31, 2020, the Governor announced that beginning January 18, 2021, no one will be allowed to enter the U.S. Virgin Islands via air or sea travel without a Covid-19 test result. This directive affects all travelers, whether they are tourists or residents of the Virgin Islands.

Updated September 8, 2020. The Governor of the Virgin Islands Albert Bryan Jr. announced new guidelines for the State of Emergency. The new guidelines follow the Yellow "Safer at Home" phase of response to the COVID-19 pandemic effective September 8, 2020 since it's reactivation to Orange - Stay at Home effective August 13th, which now expires.

In this phase, the prohibitions on leisure travel will be allowed to expire once more effective September 19th, making it easier for potential tourists to book vacations to the Territory. Virgin Islanders must continue to exercise the use of masks and practice physical distancing.

Guidelines:

  • A Yellow “Safer at Home” is in effect beginning September 8 , 2020.
  • The travel policy has changed as follows as of January 4, 2021:
    • Every person traveling to the US Virgin Islands is required to submit a COVID-19 test result through the USVI Travel Screening Portal prior to travel.
    • Travelers who began their trip departing from the US Virgin Islands must provide a COVID-19 test result upon re-entering the Territory. This includes travelers returning within 5 days of departure. Travelers who do not submit a test result will be subject to testing and quarantine.
    • Beginning January 18, 2021, no one will be allowed to enter the U.S. Virgin Islands via air or sea travel without a Covid-19 test result. This directive affects all travelers, whether they are tourists or residents of the Virgin Islands.
    • See more information and updates on the travel policy at the VI Port Authority website: http://www.viport.com/
    • Heat Sensors were installed to measure fever temperature at airports. All visitors and individuals traveling to the territory are encouraged to report symptoms of the virus to the VI Department of Health as soon as symptoms are felt.
  • Non-essential businesses continue operations with restrictions.
    • All individuals patronizing commercial establishments are required to wear a facial covering/mask. No mask, No service. The only exception is children under the age of 2 years and those with acute respiratory issues. Facial coverings = homemade masks or other coverings tied over the face.
    • Facial coverings/masks are required for any gatherings of people.
    • No more than 10 persons in any business (exempt are grocery stores)
  • Retailers are open. No more than 10 persons allowed in at any one time (exempt are grocery and big box stores); Facial coverings/masks must be worn by all at all times. No mask, No service.
  • Restaurants remain open and must follow certain guidelines. The following restrictions remain in place:
    • Employees are required to wear facial coverings at all times. Patrons are required to wear masks at the restaurants and bars, and only remove them when they sit to consume their meals. As they move to the restrooms and to pay for their meals, they must wear their mask.
    • Establishments must provide sanitization stations for customers and employees.
    • Restaurants can only operate at half of Fire Marshal-approved seating capacity, or host a maximum of 50 customers. That is 50 percent of what the Fire Marshal regulations state or 50 customers — whichever one is less.
    • Tables must be placed at least four feet apart.
    • Establishments cannot cater to parties larger than six people. Larger groups can be split up among multiple tables that are properly spaced apart.
    • Bar stools must be spaced out as much as possible. Restaurants with bars may continue to serve to-go beverages.
  • Private offices are open but are encouraged to continue allowing those who are able to work remotely from home to do so.
  • Gyms, tennis courts, golf courses are allowed to open as long as they are able to follow physical distancing limits (6 feet).
  • Contact sports are strictly prohibited (basketball, football, etc.)
  • Barbers, hair salons, massage therapists, nail salons, spas, etc. are permitted to operate by appointment only. They must follow strict sanitation protocols including requiring customers to use hand-sanitizer upon entering and they must wear facial coverings/masks for the entire visit (as possible, it may be removed briefly for access to the face if needed and then returned). No more than 10 people, including employees are allowed in the establishment at any time. 6 feet spacing guidelines are required. Refer to the Department of Health for further details.
  • Churches are allowed to open with restrictions. No more than 50 people allowed in at any time, including pastors, parishioners, etc. Facial coverings must be worn by all at all times. No distribution of communion, wine, etc.
  • Visits to nursing homes remain prohibited.
  • Childcare centers are open and must follow the physical distancing and mask wearing guidelines. Schools remain closed.
  • 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, can accept, receive, check-in or register new guests as of September 8th. Leisure travel to the territory will resume on September 19th.
  • Beaches are open weekdays and weekends with no closing time restrictions. No parties, No BBQs, No Camping. No alcohol. No groups over 10.
  • Loitering restrictions remain in place and will be enforced.
  • Gaming centers and casinos can re-open with same restrictions to be followed by other businesses.

Virgin Islands COVID-19 Response Phases

  • Red = Total Quarantine
  • Orange = Stay at Home (order through May 3, 2020)
  • Yellow = Safer at Home (effective May 4, 2020)
  • Blue = Open Doors (anticipated June 1, 2020)
  • Green = New Normal (no documented cases of COVID-19 in the Territory)

If you have coronavirus symptoms, call your health care provider or local public health department to figure out if you could — and should — get tested. Signs of the virus are a dry cough, fever and shortness of breath. (Read more about coronavirus and how to stay safe.)

Coronavirus - COVID-19 Testing Locations:

  • VI Department of Health – www.doh.vi.gov
  • St. Croix Hotline: 340-712-6299. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • St. Thomas Hotline: 340-776-1519. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If one line is busy, regardless of which island you live or are calling from, call the other island’s number.

State and Local Health:
The VI Department of Health offers updates on those infected, plus tips for prevention, public resources and contact information.

  • St. Croix: (340) 718-1311
  • St. Thomas: (340) 774-9000
  • Territory wide: Text COVID19USVI to 888777

Updates on Status of Territory on Coronavirus – COVID 19
VI Government House Press Conferences: Facebook.com/GovernmentHouseUSVI

Sign Up for Alert VI: Alert VI is an an emergency mass notification service free to residents. This service allows you to opt-in to receive notifications via phone calls, text messaging, e-mail and more based on locations you care about. You can choose to receive notifications about events that may affect your home, workplace, family's schools and more. Register here: https://member.everbridge.net/892807736729008/login

Sign up for the Disaster Registry. If you are 60 years of age or older and living alone or disabled (regardless of age) and living alone in the Virgin Islands enter your name into the Disaster Registry. Once you do, you will be contacted to determine if you need emergency assistance during a natural or man-made disaster. To register call (340) 773-6630 in St. Croix, (340) 715-6935 in St. Thomas and (340) 776-6334 in St. John or visit www.dhs.gov.vi

Emergencies:
For emergencies call 911

Hospitals:

  • Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center St. Croix: (340) 778-6311
  • Roy L. Schneider Regional Medical Center St. Thomas: (340) 776-8311


Social Security Administration:

Medicare:
The Virgin Islands State Health Insurance Assistance Program (VI SHIP)

  • St. Thomas/St. John: (340) 774-7166 ext. 4505 or 4507
  • St. Croix: (340) 778-6311 ext. 3110 or 7396

VI MAP Program - Medicaid:
EDI Help Desk: 1 (855) 248-7536

Medicaid Call Center: (340) 715-6929

Special Services Support:

  • St. Thomas/St. John District: (340) 774-0930
  • St. Croix District: (340) 772-7100


Food Assistance:

If financial difficulty is a barrier to food, find your closest food bank and other food assistance programs in your area.

For meals for seniors - Meals on Wheels Program contact:

  • St. Croix : (340) 642-6289, (340) 772-7100 ext. 7900 *please call between the hours of 8 am to 10 am
  • St. Thomas: (340) 774-0930 ext. 4249 or 4236
  • St. John: (340) 693-8580


Other Food Assistance:

The VI Department of Human Services Division of Family Assistance Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, cash and energy assistance programs

New Clients:

Call (Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.) the Division of Family Assistance offices for information on how to apply:

  • St. Croix: 340-772-7100
  • St. Thomas-St. John: 340-774-2399 or 340-774-0930

Applications for the programs are also found on the DHS website: www.dhs.gov.vi.

School Lunches: The V.I. Department of Education is distributing breakfast and lunch to students attending V.I. public, private and parochial schools in its “No V.I. Child Goes Hungry” feeding initiative, beginning Thursday, March 26. Meals will be distributed at designated locations in both school districts Monday to Friday only. Parents and students should visit the distribution site closest to their homes.

Beginning Monday, April 6th, the V.I. Department of Education will consolidate breakfast and lunch distributions to a once-daily distribution from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Both meals can be picked up at the designated locations during those hours.

St. Croix District Pick Up
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Distribution Sites:

  • Claude O. Markoe Elementary School
  • Eulalie R. Rivera K-8 School
  • John H. Woodson Junior High School
  • Juanita Gardine K-8 School
  • Lew Muckle Elementary School
  • Pearl B. Larsen PreK-8 School
  • St. Croix Educational Complex High School

St. Thomas/St. John District Pick Up
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Distribution Sites:

  • Alvin McBean Ballpark
  • Anna’s Retreat Community Center
  • Bordeaux Basketball Court
  • Contant Knolls Community Center
  • Estate Bovoni Community Center
  • Julius E. Sprauve School
  • Michael Kirwan Terrance Community Center
  • Oswald E. Harris Court Community Center
  • Paul M. Pearson Garden Community Center
  • Savan Basketball Court
  • Smith Bay Ballpark
  • Tutu Valley Basketball Court
  • Ulla F. Muller Elementary School (front entrance)
  • Winston Raymo Recreational Center


Grocery Stores to know about:

St. Croix
Plaza Extra East and West on St. Croix are open Mondays from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. for seniors and older adults. Shoppers age 60 and up can shop at both locations weekly on that day and time before the stores are open to the general public.

St. Thomas
Plaza Extra in St. Thomas (Tutu), have scheduled hours on Mondays from 7 am – 10 am for shoppers age 60 years and older.

Food Delivery Services:

Island Direct is a membership only service to order food for delivery and pickup from restaurants and pick up and delivery of groceries:


Unemployment Benefits:
US Virgin Islands Department of Laborwww.vidol.gov

Contact Phone Numbers
St. Thomas
Tel: (340) 776-3700
Fax: (340) 715-5743

St. Croix
Tel: (340) 773-1994
Fax: (340) 713-3415


Caregiving Assistance:

VI Department of Human Services Family Caregivers Assistance Program:

Website: dhs.gov.vi

Contact Phone Numbers
St. Croix: (340) 773-2323 ext. 2024 or 340-642-6289
St. Thomas/St. John: (340) 774-0930, Ext. 4120, 4168 or 4383


AARP Family Caregiving: www.aarp.org/caregivers


Fraud:

US Attorney’s Office District of the US Virgin Islands
www.justice.gov/usao-vi/citizen-complaints

AARP Fraud Watch Network – www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork

AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline: 1-877-908-3360


Isolation:
AARP Community Connections – www.aarpcommunityconnections.org


Spanish Language Information and Updates:
Entre el Pueblo - www.facebook.com/entreelpueblo


Small Business:

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to U.S. Virgin Islands small businesses suffering substantial economic injury.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339.

Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 21, 2020.

For more information about available SBA resources and services, please visit: SBA.gov/coronavirus


Coronavirus Stimulus Package Payments:

Looking for information on stimulus payment checks? As soon as it becomes available, #IRS will share it on www.irs.gov/coronavirus

More on Coronavirus


AARP Member Benefits Guide
Download PDF of Benefits

AARP in The Virgin Islands
www.aarp.org/vi
Email: viaarp@aarp.org
or 1-866-389-5633

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