The government is receiving further pressure to fully reopen the tourism sector with recent calls coming from the BVI Chambers of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVICCHA).
According to BVICCHA the recommendations for a definite date for a phased reopening came following a Hospitality Industry Stakeholders meeting held with over 150 stakeholders on June 15.
Out of the meeting, suggestions were made for a two-stage reopening where at stage 1, it is recommended that they open self-contained resorts or properties and the Yachting Sectors who are by definition of their locality easily able to accommodate visitors that can self-quarantine under strict protocols from the week of 20 July 2020 to receive visitors.
Further, the Chamber recommended that conditions for reopening include a pre-health clearance where visitors will be asked to submit COVID-19 test results a minimum of 48 hours before arrival or to be tested on arrival and self-quarantine for the period here, up to 14 days. Adherence to all government health and safety protocols by the businesses would be required.
In relation to stage 2, the Chamber recommended that the Virgin Islands reopen fully the 1st September 2020 to facilitate those industry practitioners who have been receiving booking inquiries.
They believe that having a firm date would give the industry stakeholders the time needed to market and prepare their operations following Governmental protocols. According to the Chamber, it would also allow airlines to reinstate their routes. The Chamber proposed that visitors be required to submit a pre-health clearance where COVID-19 test results are submitted in advance of arrival and that the seaports in West End and Road Town be reopened to facilitate travel via the USVI.
“Based on the feedback of the attendees of the meeting, the Chamber wrote to the Premier and relevant parties, including the Minister of Health and Chief Medical Officer, concerning the following for a phased reopening of the Hospitality Sector,” the release stated.
The Chamber said that it remains committed to ensuring that all businesses can operate in a responsible, clean, healthy, and safe manner.
Government has indicated that it is hoping to reopen the borders in September.