Honourable Fahie said during the VIP Let’s Talk show on ZBVI 780AM on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, that this was one of the recent Cabinet decisions made.
“Coming into the territory, you don’t have to go through the portal anymore after the 1st of October, once you are fully vaccinated. Only fully vaccinated persons or any minor that is travelling with fully vaccinated persons. Anyone else who does not fall into that category would have to still use the Gateway Portal.”
Travellers must still produce their proof of vaccination and negative COVID-19 tests done in the last five days, he added.
At the same time, Premier Fahie said, there are penalties for carriers and individual travellers who do not comply with the government orders.
“If any ferry or any carrier, or water taxi or airline or charter plane, anything that is coming into the territory with passengers and they do not make sure that the persons who are fully vaccinated furnished them with their valid 5 day PCR test or rapid antigen test, stating that is negative and also have furnished them with the proof of their vaccination, they should not allow them to board and that will be made clear to all the carriers.”
Failure to do so will attract a $10,000 fine for the carrier and a $5,000 fine for the individual traveller, who can also be imprisoned where applicable.
“So we need to make that absolutely clear because we need to balance lives and livelihoods. Now this means that after the 1st of October, you can bring a fully vaccinated ferry, charter or otherwise, straight to Jost van Dyke, straight to Anegada, straight to Virgin Gorda, straight to West End. If you are travelling with persons that are not vaccinated, you have to go to Road Town, or if you are travelling with persons who did not meet this vaccination exemption from the portal, you have to go to Road Town, and you have to go through the portal.”
The Premier said this is the Virgin Islands’ way of opening up the economy more “in a safe as humanely possible way given that we are fighting COVID-19.”
He said discussions are now being held to have more ferry trips to St Thomas and enable day trips for fully vaccinated persons, with negative COVID-19 results.
“So we have found now after much prayer and discussion as a government, the most safe way we can keep the health teams satisfied that we are securing the territory’s safety and also to start to generate more business in the marine sector, charter boat sector, in the business sector overall. Once COVID-19 is around you are going to have risks and the question is what level of risk you are going to manage?” Hon Fahie stated.