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Governor Calls for Territorial Day of Prayer Monday To Combat COVID-19

CHRISTIANSTED — In a press conference to update residents about the territory’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. called for a Territorial Day of Prayer to take place on Monday.

“As we continue to do everything within our power as a government to mitigate the spread of this virus in our community, and call on you to do your part to protect yourselves and your loved ones, we are also calling on our faith community to assist,” Bryan said.

“But, while we pray for healing and supplication, I want to reiterate the importance of staying home and adhering to the guidance given by the Department of Health and CDC,” the governor said.

More details about the Territorial Day of Prayer will be announced, according to Government House.

Bryan also updated residents on the Government of the Virgin Islands’ response to the COVID-19 virus. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were no additional confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, and the count remains at 17.

To date, the territory has investigated 103 persons suspected of carrying the virus, with 56 of those persons testing negative. There are 30 tests still pending, with 10 on St. Croix, 17 on St. Thomas and three on St. John.

During Wednesday’s press conference, which included updates from Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion, Human Services Commissioner Kimberley Causey-Gomez and VITEMA Director Daryl Jaschen, Bryan also gave updates on a number of other topics.

Bureau of Corrections

The Bureau of Corrections has suspended in-person visitations at all correctional facilities and all volunteer programs, work details, and furloughs until further notice. For more information, visit boc.vi.gov

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles has limited services, and no more than six persons at a time will be allowed in the Vehicle registration renewal offices. BMV is encouraging the community to take advantage of its online vehicle registration process at bmv.vi.gov The Bureau will waive the inspection requirement for any customer who registers their vehicle online until May 31, 2020. All road tests and written tests for the learner’s permit are canceled until further notice, and Governor Bryan has ordered a 60-day extension on all driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals. For more information, call 340-713-4268 on St. Croix; 340-774-4268 on St. Thomas; 340-776- 6262 on St. John; or visit bmv.vi.gov

Department of Education

All public schools are closed through April 14. The Department of Education has announced cancellation of several activities including distribution of progress reports and postponement of the Smart Balanced tests until fall 2020. For more information, visit www.vide.vi

Department of Finance

The Department of Finance is conducting all business electronically whenever possible. All public and private entities applying for Government Insurance Fund Worker’s Compensation Insurance should use the forms located here, and email them to governmentinsurance@dof.vi.gov For W2 and 1099 forms, GVI employees should use the Employee Self Service (ESS) by logging on to usvi.munisselfservice.com For ESS password resets, contactdophelpdesk@dop.vi.gov or call 340-714-5049. Vendor check inquiries can be directed to terry.bridges@dof.vi.gov or 340-774-4750 ext. 2192. Payroll check inquiries can be directed to grace.fahie@dof.vi.gov or 340-774-4750 ext. 2252. For more information, visit dof.vi.gov Department of Human Services The VI Department of Human Services Head Start Program has closed classrooms territorywide until at least April 8. VIDHS staff are to report to work as normally scheduled. For more information, visit dhs.gov.vi

Department of Justice

Department of Justice facilities on St. Thomas and St. Croix, including the Office of the Attorney General, are closed to the public and will not conduct person to person services until further notice. Services to be provided electronically or telephonically include administrative claims and questions regarding pending criminal cases. The Sex Offender Registry also is closed to the public ; however, registration requirements remain in place. Sex offenders who are residing, employed, or attending school in the territory and need to register or update their information must do so telephonically or via email. The Paternity and Child Support Division offices are closed to the public, but in-person services will be provided to accept payments. Services will be provided via telephone, fax, mail, and through the internet. Persons who wish to make payments will be allowed inside the offices until the drop box becomes available, at which time, only money orders and checks will be accepted. For more information, visit usvidoj.codemeta.com

Department of Labor

The VI Department of Labor will be open to the public; however, there is a limit on how many clients can be in the lobby and the maximum capacity of the resource rooms varies by district. Available services are limited, outside of Unemployment Insurance, and clients are encouraged to use the website to obtain information and find resources. Please call ahead to find out the volume of clients. For more information visit www.vidol.gov

Department of Licensing & Consumer Affairs

The Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs (DLCA) is asking the public to use the department’s online website at www.dlca.vi.gov for business license renewals or new business license applications, to schedule appointments and to file consumer complaints online. Appointment also can be scheduled by calling 340-713-3522 on St. Croix or 340-714-3522 on St. Thomas, and the department also can be reached at consumerawareness@dlca.vi.gov For more information, visit www.dlca.vi.gov

Department of Planning & Natural Resources

All public libraries and museums will be closed, and pick up, drop off and cashier services will be available to the public only on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For in-person needs other than pick-up or drop-off services, or for general information, please call 340-774-3320 on St. Thomas or 340-773-1082 on St. Croix to schedule an appointment with the appropriate division. For more information, visit dpnr.vi.gov

Department of Public Works

The Department of Public Works will provide essential service only from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday. In-person complaints are suspended until further notice; however, complaints will continue to be accepted by telephone, email and online. Cemetery office guests will be limited to two guests per visit. For more information, call 340-773-1290 on St. Croix, 340-776-4844 for the St. Thomas-St. John District.

Department of Tourism

The Department of Tourism has closed its offices until further notice. Visitors or residents who have tourism-related inquiries can visit usviupdate.com or send an email to info@usviupdate.com Messages also can be left by calling 340-774-8784 in the St. Thomas-St. John District, 340-772- 0357 on St. Croix or toll-free at 1-800-372-USVI (8784). For more information, visit usviupdate.com

Division of Personnel

All in-office visits have been suspended, and all business will be conducted electronically and telephonically whenever possible. For more information, forms, and policies, call 340-718-8588 on St. Croix or 340-774-8588 in the St. Thomas-St. John District or visit www.dopusvi.org

Energy Office

All individuals with applications for the Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Financial Incentive Program are required to submit them by email, fax or mail service until further notice. The VIEO has waived the 30-day application deadline so that customers who purchase qualifying items can capitalize on these rebates, which include items purchased as of March 1, 2020. For more information, visit the Energy Office Facebook page.

Juan F. Luis Hospital & Medical Center

General visitation hours have been revised to 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. unless the visitor is a parent or guardian of a pediatric patient or infant. Prior to being allowed to enter the facility, each visitor will be screened. Isolation patients will be allowed only one visitor at a time for up to two hours per day. Visitors will be given special protective masks, gloves, and gowns that must be worn at all times. For more information, visit www.jflusvi.org

Judicial Branch of the Virgin Islands

All in-person proceedings scheduled to commence on or before April 1 before any judicial officer in any Judicial Branch facility are postponed, and no new proceedings will be scheduled. The only exception to the suspension of in-person proceedings are Stalking and Domestic Violence matters and Advice of Rights hearings, which only will take place at 9 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. For more information, contact: 340-774‐2237 or 340-693-4118 (TTY) or visit visuperiorcourt.hosted.civiclive.com

Office of Collective Bargaining

The Office of Collective Bargaining will be closed until April 6. Calls may be made from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to 340-774-6450 or 340-713- 0735 on St. Croix or 340-774-6450 in the St. Thomas-St. John District. Office of the Territorial Public Defender Offices are closed to the public through April 6, and all services will be provided telephonically and electronically when possible until further notice. For more information, call 340-773-6312 on St. Croix or 340-774-8181 in the St. Thomas-St. John District or visit vipublicdefender.com.

Office of Veterans Affairs

The Office of Veterans Affairs will limit operations territory-wide to burial arrangements only until April 6. Anyone wishing to make arrangements for the burial of a Veteran during this time should call 340-773-8387 on St. Croix or 340-774-8387 in the St. Thomas-St. John District. All other services are suspended. For more information, send an email to info_va@va.vi.gov or visit the Office of Veterans Affairs Facebook page.

V.I. Economic Development Authority

The V.I. Economic Development Authority has discontinued walk-in customer services, inperson appointments and manual delivery of documents and other items until further notice. To make a payment, file a document, or make any additional inquiries, please send an email to info@usvieda.org call 340-714-1700 in the St. Thomas-St. John District or 340-773-6499 on St. Croix or visit usvieda.org

Virgin Islands Fire Service

The Virgin Islands Fire Service’s Prevention and Administrative Offices in both districts have limited hours of operation and are open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays only until further notice. Businesses that have fire certificates that have expired or will expire during the current state of emergency will be given a 60-day extension. The Fire Service’s emergency response operations will remain uninterrupted. For more information, visit the V.I. Fire Service Facebook page.

Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority

All EnVision Tomorrow recovery centers are closed until further notice. EnVision Tomorrow will continue to serve applicants online and by phone, and they may submit documents electronically or by a scheduled appointment only. For more information, call 1-888-239-3387 or visit vistormrecovery.com

Virgin Islands Legislature

The Legislature of the Virgin Islands has postponed all hearings and meetings in both districts and is restricting visitation to its facilities, which are closed to the public. For more information, visit www.legvi.org

Virgin Islands Lottery

The Virgin Islands Lottery offices in both districts will allow only five customers into the lobby at any given time. Dealers are asked to provide requested ticket numbers in advance to avoid line delays and ensure expedient service, and Virgin Islands Lottery staff will provide dealers with their listings to make those selections once requested in advance. On-site sales on St. John are postponed until further notice. For more information, call 340-774-2502 on St. Thomas or 340-778-6360 on St. Croix or visit www.winvilottery.com

Virgin Islands Police Department

The Central Records Bureau offices, Firearms Bureau offices and fingerprinting services territory-wide will be closed until further notice. For more information, visit vipd.gov.vi. VI Public Services Commission Offices are closed on St. Thomas and St. Croix and the PSC’s walk-in services will be restricted until further notice. All documents can be submitted electronically by calling 340-776-1291 on St. Thomas, 340- 776-1391 on St. John and 340-778-6010 on St. Croix. Utility complaints will be accepted by phone. For more information, visit psc.vi.gov or the PSC Facebook page.

Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA)

All in-person business operations and public access to VITEMA facilities territory-wide, acceptance and processing of curfew pass applications and in-office appointments are suspended until April 6. For more information, call 340-773-2244 on St. Croix, 340-776-6444 on St. John or 340-774- 2244 on St. Thomas or visit vitema.vi.gov. VI Waste Management Authority Solid Waste disposal will adhere to the following operating hours:

• Anguilla Landfill on St. Croix will be open 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

• Bovoni Landfill on St. Thomas will be open 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

• Susannaberg Transfer Station on St. John will be open 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

• Peter’s Rest Convenience Center on St. Croix will be open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Mandahl Convenience Center on St. Thomas will be open 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The VIWMA recently issued bid packages for various projects and all pending bid packages and open solicitations will be accepted via email only. The solicitations shall adhere to the previously established date and time as indicated on the respective advertisement.

Please forward the completed document to sdavid@viwma.org and/or jthomas-blyden@viwma.org For more information visit www.viwma.org

Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA)

Customer service offices territory-wide are offering only limited service to walk-in visitors, and WAPA is recommending that all business transactions be conducted either online or via the telephone until further notice. Customer Service offices can be reached at 340-774-3552 in the St. Thomas-St. John District or 340-773-2250 on St. Croix (select option #5). For more information visit www.viwapa.vi

Virgin Islands Port Authority

The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA)  is reporting a marked drop in travelers. With the recent suspension on new hotel bookings that went into effect Wednesday, VIPA expects to see fewer travelers arriving in the territory in the upcoming weeks.

Flights

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Seaborne and Cape Air have each re-ported reduced schedules or cancellations of flights to and from St. Thomas.  No airline cancellations have been reported for St. Croix at this time.  Travelers are encouraged to contact their airlines directly for flight in-formation prior to arriving at the airport.

Inter-Island Car Ferries

All three car ferry companies operating between St. John and St. Thomas are operating on modified ferry service schedules.

Inter-Island Passenger Ferries

The St. John-St. Thomas passenger ferries are operating as normal, but with reduced passenger capacity. The QE IV ferry which services the St. Croix-St. Thomas route, has halted operations until further notice.

Edward Blyden Terminal

Ferry operations at the Blyden Terminal ended at noon Wednesday and will be closed until further notice. However, Customs services will be available at the Blyden Terminal from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Cargo Operations

Cargo operations in the territory will continue as normal. The V.I. Port Authority reminds the public that all its seaports and mariners operate under the rules and regulations set by the United States Coast Guard.

Small Business Administration

The government of the Virgin Islands applied for a disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration, and it received notification Monday from the SBA that the request was approved.

The government also received notification from the SBA of changes to help borrowers still paying back SBA loans from previous disasters. The SBA is deferring payments for all SBA Loans through December 31.

The next Government House update on the COVID-19 virus is scheduled for Friday, March 27.

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