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Governor Bryan Eases Some COVID-19 Restrictions On Church Gatherings, Restaurants

CHRISTIANSTED — During his weekly COVID-19 press briefing, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. announced he is easing some of the restrictions in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the territory. His announcement comes after the U.S. Virgin Islands’ rate of positivity for the virus had decreased significantly. 

  • Effective immediately, churches and houses of worship are allowed to accommodate 50 percent of their capacity or a maximum of 100 persons, whichever is less.   
  • Effective immediately, the requirement for the use of disposable dishes, utensils, napkins and drink containers has been suspended.   
  • Effective November 9, mass gatherings will increase to no more than 100 persons for indoor and outdoor activities or 50 percent of the capacity.   
  • Effective November 9, bars that cannot accommodate sit down service will remain closed and all bars and nightclubs in the territory shall be allowed to open for seated service only. No patrons shall be allowed to congregate standing around the bar counter area. Patrons seated in designated sitting areas may order food, alcohol or both, and those sitting must be adequately spaced according to the Department of Health guidelines.  
  • Effective November 9, live music and disc jockey entertainment will be allowed in licensed establishments but shall not be permitted after midnight.   

“We are slowly getting back to normalcy, but we can’t rush it,” Bryan said. “Let’s take this next step and see if we can sustain it without compromising the public health. Of course, we need your continued cooperation.” 

Bryan also implored residents to take an active role in battling the violent crime that pervades the community. 

“We have to stand as one people to establish wrong from right and discontinue our silent overlooking of wrong that happens in our community,” Bryan said. “Whether it’s an illegal horse track, drag racing, prostitution, loitering, gaming houses, an illegal numbers game or trespassing, it is time for us to stand as a community and say, ‘No more.’” 
“All these little things are breeding grounds and havens for larger criminal activity,” the Governor said. “We are going to push back on all this activity aggressively and we hope we have your support.” 

Unemployment 

  • To date, the Virgin Islands Department of Labor (VIDOL) has issued 41,545 unemployment insurance checks totaling more than $31,895,773. 
  • The department also has issued an additional 27,657 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation checks totaling $42,406,020. 
  • VIDOL has issued $4,485,620 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to self-employed Virgin Islanders and $1,568,868 in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. 
  • In total, the government has issued 69,953 checks totaling $78,241,293. 

Stimulus 

The Bureau of Internal Revenue has extended the deadline to file a return to receive a stimulus check from October 15 to November 21. 

COVID-19 cases 

  • Currently tracking 16 active cases 
  • 21,964 people tested to date (20 percent of the population) 
  • 20,620 of those tests were negative 
  • 1,325 tests came back positive 
  • 1,289 people have recovered  
  • 20 deaths to date 
  • No COVID-19 patients are hospitalized at Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix. 
  • Four COVID-19 patients are hospitalized at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas.  
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