December 1, 2020 was a date visitors, family and friends had awaited for months to return to the British Virgin Islands – ever since the closure of the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on March 22 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning that day, travellers returning via multiple carriers through the new re-entry process will undergo PCR testing on arrival day, complete four-day quarantine, get assigned a monitoring device and PCR testing on Day 4.
Speaking at the grand reopening of the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on November 30, Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie spoke about the Territory’s preparations to manage the risk associated with the reopening to protect the lives of residents and visitors.
Premier Fahie said, “We have strategically revised our legislations, improved our medical facilities with equipment, human resources and other tools needed to ensure that we are equipped to manage your health. Your health and safety remains our number one priority and as such, our people have made adjustments to the way we do business. Our establishments now have washing/sanitisation stations, physical distancing markers; and masks/shields are required on entry.”
The Premier added, “Our ports of entry and other high traffic public spaces, have improved their infrastructure to include contact-less services, hands free-automated doors, protection barriers and more. Most enthusiastic about welcoming back our visitors and friends are our Tourism partners and hospitality businesses. I am proud to say that most of these businesses are now Gold Seal Certified and trained to give world-class safe service during this COVID-19 era. We are ready for you.”
Travellers will now be greeted via the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport’s newly constructed Welcome Centre that is outfitted with a lounge, swabbing stations, isolation rooms, donning and doffing rooms, restrooms and more. Premier Fahie gave a special thank you to residents of the Virgin Islands for their endurance and adherence with all the health measures and changes implemented over the last eight months. Residents and visitors are reminded to observe all health and safety protocols, washing and sanitisation of hands, physical distancing and wearing of masks and shields in public spaces.
The Government of the Virgin Islands endorsed the Phase I controlled reentry process for Nationals, Belongers and Permanent residents on June 2. On September 1, Work permit holders, dependents of Belongers and other categories of persons were allowed entry into the Territory via the Phase II process. The reopening of the Tourism industry is Phase III of the border reopening strategy.