The day before the Easter weekend, government eased its Covid-19 protocols, removing the requirement to wear masks outdoors and lifting certain social distancing rules.
Also under the relaxed regime, no one entering the territory will be required to quarantine unless they test positive for Covid-19 on arrival, Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone announced last Thursday.
Prior to that, partially vaccinated people were required to quarantine for four days upon arrival, unvaccinated people for five days.
Partially vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers will still be required to take a rapid antigen test upon arrival, register through the entry portal, pay a $175 fee, and present proof of health insurance.
Meanwhile, protocols for fully vaccinated travellers haven’t changed: They must present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival.
The new rules also relax requirements for face masks, which now must be worn indoors only by anyone over the age of 5 who comes within three feet of another person.
“Face masks are no longer required in outdoor spaces and are now a matter of individual choice,” a Sunday press release stated. “The restriction of one person per nine square feet is now removed.”
Mr. Malone noted that the relaxation of control and suppression measures comes at a time when much of the world is changing Covid-19 protocols.
In explaining the changes, he cited less severe impacts of new variants of the coronavirus, improving capabilities of health care systems, the availability of vaccines, and the need to balance “increased levels of economic activity.”
On Monday, the United States Department of State eased its travel warning for the Virgin Islands, issuing a “Travel Advisory Level One.”
The Level Three advisory previously in place encouraged travellers to avoid visiting the VI unless necessary. The new advisory urges them to exercise normal precautions when traveling here.