While Puerto Rico is still grappling with easing its strict lockdown and curfew restrictions, as part of efforts to return to normality via a phased-in strategy, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) has reopened its beaches.
The USVI, a sister U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, is also a major tourism destination.
On Monday, USVI Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. announced that their beaches have reopened, as have the beaches under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, with the exception of Cramer’s Park on St. Croix’s East End, which had been vandalized and may reopen soon.
“We are allowing beach restaurants to reopen, but we are restricting the sale of alcohol,” Bryan said during a press conference. “I want to remind the public that the requirements for social distancing and avoiding mass gatherings are still in effect and will be fully enforced. That means absolutely no congregations of more than 10 individuals.”
He warned that if the public did not adhere to the new regulations, the beaches would be closed again. “I want to be absolutely clear, no picnics, no parties, no DJs, no get-togethers, no camping, no kick-backs, no bonfires,” Bryan said.
To date, 625 individuals in the USVI have been tested for the coronavirus, with 554 testing negative. Of the 53 people who tested positive, 48 of them have recovered and the Virgin Islands Department of Health currently is tracking two cases and 18 test results still are pending. Three fatalities from COVID-19 have also been reported in the USVI.