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Bryan Clarifies Territory’s COVID-19 Cruise Protocols In Light Of New CDC Guidance

CHRISTIANSTED — Governor Albert Bryan clarified the territory’s COVID-19 requirements for cruise lines in light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxing its sailing guidelines.

“In many ways, our protocols and guidelines are even more stringent than some of the CDC’s guidelines. While we don’t want to turn away any of our cruise partners, the Administration’s primary goal is to keep our residents and visitors safe during this pandemic,” Governor Bryan said. “We met with each cruise line that visits the USVI and they have signed contracts agreeing to comply with our protocols and regulations. The CDC making its cruise ship guidelines optional won’t affect any of our agreements with the cruise lines.”

Under the current agreements the GVI has with its cruise line partners:

  • Ships cannot exceed a 1% positivity rate, and if a ship exceeds that, neither passengers nor crew will be allowed to disembark.
  • Any passenger or crew that tests positive cannot disembark.
  • Ships must have COVID-safe procedures in place in case of emergencies that require a transfer to the hospital.

Meanwhile, the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands have noticed that the folks from the U.S. mainland have a blatant disregard for the COVID rules and regulations of the territory.

“Yet the people coming on plane can take taxis wearing no mask be all over east end,” Michael Campbell said. “Downtown and everywhere else no mask. And even some so bold to blurt out they are not vaccinated and don’t care.”

The CDC uses a color-coding system to monitor COVID cases aboard cruise ships and all ships on the current list are either green, yellow or orange, which means the volume of Covid cases they have reported meets the CDC’s threshold for investigation.

Starting January 15, participation in the CDC program will be voluntary, and those ships choosing not to participate will be designated gray, which means the CDC has not reviewed them for COVID safety.

By John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.