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VIPA Issues Update on Ports and Modified Operations in Response to COVID-19

Virgin Islands Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe provided the following update concerning port operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands as health officials work to address the coronavirus pandemic.

Airports: Both the Cyril E. King and the Henry E. Rohlsen Airports are open. However, VIPA has noticed a marked drop in travelers. With the recent suspension on new hotel bookings issued by Governor Albert Bryan Jr., effective Wednesday, March 25, VIPA expects to see fewer travelers arriving in the territory in the upcoming weeks.

As a territory of the United States, the USVI’s airports operate under the guidelines set by the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA). VIPA cannot close the territory’s airports without federal authorization. It should be noted that Puerto Rico has made several requests to close its airports to no avail. Moreover, at the arrival of COVID19 in the territory, there were thousands of guests in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Had the airport been closed, these guests would have been stranded in the territory. As of March 22, over 400 guests have departed from the USVI. Hundreds of passengers traveling through St. Thomas destined for the BVI have also returned to the mainland due to the BVI’s port closures…

Read the full press release below