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The British Virgin Islands officially reopened its borders this week to international travellers, exclusive to arrivals at Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island, with specific COVID-19 safety protocols in place.
Closed to visitors since March, the BVI Government has developed an extensive program to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Territory. BVI's Premier, The Honourable Andrew A. Fahie said, "Our comprehensive protocols were created to allow visitors to experience a safe, luxurious vacation through the deployment of critical tracing technology and the implementation of strict testing guidelines. This is the job of many and we are grateful for the assistance provided by all of our tourism partners who we know are eager to see the return of guests on our islands and in our waters."
Known as a treasured destination rich in undiscovered experiences, the BVI is an alluring archipelago comprising 60 islands and cays. With many of the islands' renowned properties and charter company's luxury vessels destroyed after Hurricane Irma, the Territory was just about to celebrate its relaunch in 2020 when the pandemic hit. Now, finally, resorts like Rosewood Little Dix Bay, Oil Nut Bay and Necker Island, which have undergone millions of dollars in rebuilds, are ready to welcome guests again.
To ensure safety for all in the destination, the following outlines protocols visitors are expected to follow before arrival, upon arrival, and while visiting the BVI. Protocols and procedures for visitors arriving by sea, including ferry service from St. Thomas, in addition to private boats and charter rentals, are expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.
Before landing in the beautiful BVI, it is mandatory that all guests have a certified negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result from within five days of arrival, as well as proof of travel insurance that includes comprehensive medical coverage. In addition, all travelers must apply for a "BVI Gateway Traveler Authorization Certificate" within 5 days of travel to the BVI and must complete the application at least 48 hours prior to arrival with the uploading of the PCR COVID-19 test result (application found at www.bvigateway.bviaa.com).
Upon arriving Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport, travelers will be directed to the BVI's new "Welcome Centre" for an additional RT-PCR test. All guests will also be required to activate a contact tracing system on their phones (which requires either data or wifi connectivity) and wear a government-issued wristband monitoring device, in addition to being given an appointment for their day four RT-PCR test.
During the Visit
All arriving visitors are required to quarantine for four days at their hotel, resort, villa or docked vessel (for charter guests), with another RT-PCR test administered on the fourth day. If negative, they will be allowed to move around the BVI freely while still following the Government's current social distancing and safety measures. Anyone who tests positive upon arrival must continue to quarantine at their respective location for a minimum of 14 days.
Visitors must take approved transportation to and from their accommodations and testing sites, which are located throughout the BVI. These include but are not limited to Road Town and Cane Garden Bay in Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada.
Departing the BVI
The Government will not allow visitors to depart if they test positive, and will require them to quarantine in an approved location for 14 days at their own expense.
The two required RT-PCR tests, use of the mobile contact tracing app and monitoring bracelet will be at the visitor's expense, costing approximately $175.
For more information on COVID-19 safety protocols and to learn more about the reopening of the BVI, visit www.bvitourism.com/reopening. The Government of the Virgin Islands has also appointed a "Reopening Steering Committee" to field any additional inquiries, reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, questions may be directed via WhatsApp to 284-496-6129.
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