US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

Bryan Administration Decision to Shutdown Beaches for Residents Yet Open Them Up for Private Boats is Troubling, Sen. Blyden Says

Senator Marvin Blyden, who called earlier this week for a moratorium on anchoring permits to stem the flow of visiting private boats, has sharply disagreed with the Bryan administration’s decision to close the territory’s beaches to residents while opening some of those same beaches to private boats from abroad. Mr. Blyden’s statement came in response to the Governor Albert Bryan’s announcement that effective April 6 all beaches in the territory would be closed for at least the next two weeks due to concerns over the coronavirus.



VI Department of Health Digs Deep into Demographics Surrounding the Rise of COVID-19 in the Territory

The Virgin Islands Department of Health (VIDOJ) this week unveiled detailed statistics about how the coronavirus has spread in the territory and the public health agency’s efforts to rein it in.

The data shed light, for the first time, on information that helps Virgin Islanders understand where the COVID-19 disease has had the most impact, and which segments of the community, so far, have been hit hardest.



V.I. Attorney General Opposes Epstein Estate Demand for Broad Release of Parties Involved in Victim Abuse

V.I. Attorney General Denise George said she continues to oppose the Jeffrey Elstein Estate demands that  victims of the dead pedophile sign release forms to protect other individuals who sexually abused them along with Epstein.

Victims would have to sign these releases in order to stake a claim on funds from the $600 million Estate, according to a release the V.I. D.O.J. issued Tuesday.



Sen. Frett-Gregory Asks Affordable Housing Management Companies, VI Housing Authority, to Consider Rent Deferment for Tenants

Senator Donna Frett-Gregory on Tuesday issued a call for affordable housing management companies operating in the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with the Virgin Islands Housing Authority to consider rent deferment for tenants, noting that the coronavirus pandemic and the stay-at-home order issued by the local government has severely impacted the finances of residents.



Travel Magazine Says USVI, Jamaica and Puerto Rico Have Best Covid-19 Campaigns to Keep People Engaged in Destination

The U.S. Virgin Islands Division of Festivals — an arm of the V.I. Dept. of Tourism — recently started what it’s calling “Home Wuk”, described by D.O.T. as “online social gatherings designed to create a sense of community, camaraderie and a “virtual” Carnival experience.”

This effort, along with others being undertaken by the Dept. of Tourism (among them this beautiful ad), has lifted the territory’s Covid-19 campaign to the top three in the Caribbean that seeks to keep the community and potential visitors to the destinations engaged, according to travel site The Travel Courier.

The Travel Courier says the USVI, Jamaica and Puerto Rico have the best campaigns.



Opinion | AARP in The Virgin Islands Urges Elected Officials to Reduce Red-Tape to Accessible HealthCare

On March 31, 2020, AARP in The Virgin Islands penned a letter to Governor Albert Bryan urging him to minimize restrictions to the healthcare workforce during this national crisis.



Additional Coastline Opened to Accommodate Incoming Vessels

Due to the number of marine vessels coming into the territory, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources has increased capacity to make room for new arrivals by allowing additional anchoring in Magens Bay, Brewers Bay and Lindbergh Bay beaches around St. Thomas.

The vessels anchored in the three locations will be permitted to remain until April 30. All watercrafts seeking to anchor in the territory are now required to obtain a long-term anchoring permit from DPNR, under Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.’s third supplemental COVID-19 order.



Short Documentary “Good Morning, Good Morning” Highlights V.I. Greeting of Respect’

When filmmaker Michael Anton visited his father on St. Thomas after Hurricane Irma hit, he decided to make a film – “not a story about politics or hurricanes,” but rather “a story about culture and love.”

Many months later, Anton returned to St. Thomas with only his iPhone and a portable audio-enhancing device as equipment. He had few contacts, a tiny budget and less than two weeks to gather his footage.



23 Self-Love/Self-Care Challenges for Days of Social Distancing

Are you home bored, wishing you had something to do? Have you been having negative thoughts about yourself? Do you have challenges when it comes to loving yourself and knowing your worth? Do you suffer from low self-esteem? Are you ready to learn to love yourself more, to be able to have more positive thoughts instead of negative? Well, this article may just be the right one for you.



Blyden: Beach closures should apply to private boaters (article attached)

Senate Majority Leader Marvin Blyden is questioning the Bryan Administration’s decision to close public beaches since shorelines still remain open to private boaters from abroad – many of which, in recent weeks, have “flooded the territory” and moored with little monitoring or enforcement.



Former UVI nursing educator on the front lines of coronavirus

If there’s one message that ER nurse Tina Withrow wants to get out during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s that people need to take their part in the spread of the disease more seriously.

Withrow, who is currently working at the Flaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown, Ky., near Louisville, taught nursing at the University of the Virgin Islands for two-and-a-half years until her return to Kentucky this past June. While not as badly affected as epicenters such as New York and Louisiana at this time, Kentucky is nonetheless starting to see a real increase in coronavirus patients, with more than 900 cases so far, and the number is steadily climbing daily. Withrow has no doubt that there are a lot more cases out there than we know of because of the lack of testing available.



V.I. National Park superintendent announces changes amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Virgin Islands National Park has announced changes in operations to support federal and local efforts to slow the COVID-19 virus.

In a statement released early this week, Park Superintendent Nigel Fields said he supported Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.’s protective actions to curb the spread of the virus, including his decision Monday to close the territory’s public beaches.



AG: Residents who violate orders could be charged

V.I. Attorney General Denise George is reminding residents that those who willfully violate emergency executive orders and directives of the Bryan administration during the declared state of emergency can face criminal consequences.

Penalties can include arrest and prosecution under Virgin Islands law, according to a Justice Department statement Monday.



Editorial: Why now, governor?

Suddenly, a few minutes after 1 p.m. Monday, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. closed all Virgin Islands beaches.

The Executive Order is in effect until April 20, and to show he’s serious, the governor has called on the National Guard to help V.I. Police to enforce it.

The governor’s stated rationale — that the action is necessary “to discourage some residents from ignoring the stay-at-home order and negating social and physical distancing” — raises important questions about the timing and the necessity of the closure.