BVI News

Seaports will remain closed to int’l traffic till late January 2021

Vessel docked at the ferry terminal in Road Town.

Visitors and residents who plan to arrive in the BVI via ferry this year or early next month now have to make new entry arrangements because the territory’s seaports will no longer reopen on December 8.

Government has pushed the reopening date for local seaports to January 21, 2021.

Premier Andrew Fahie made that announcement during a media briefing on Monday night — less than 12 hours before the anticipated reopening of the Road Town Ferry terminal to international traffic.

The Premier said the decision was made on Monday, December 7 after Cabinet held an emergency meeting to ensure public safety.

He said: “Firstly, Cabinet deferred and is deferring the December 8, 2020, opening of the territory to marine traffic from international visitors via the Road Town Ferry Terminal and private charter vessels, unless previously approved, because there were some areas that were previously approved. Those will still be allowed.”

“The next thing that Cabinet has decided today is that we have set a target date of 21st January 2021, for the reopening of the Road Town Ferry Terminal only to incoming international visitors until all performance objectives for the reopening are met. So that will give some time for us to make sure that all the measures and all the protocols and all the areas that need to improve in terms of the facility is completed,” he added.

Several factors led to decision

The Premier said the decision came after authorities observed a number of flaws in the system at the airport. This was coupled with reports which suggest that the Road Town Ferry Terminal was not up to the required standard for reopening in the COVID-19 era.

“When I announced the third phase of the reopening, I advised at that time that the December 1st reopening at the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport will allow us to gauge whether or not we could go ahead with the planned reopening for our seaports. Given the lessons learned from the first week from the reopening of our borders through the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport, we recognize that there is even more work to be done at seaports as we heighten and we increase our health and safety protocols through the port of entry,” Fahie stated.

He continued: “Given the number of persons that have been coming into the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport which far exceeds our projection in this era, we see an opportunity to further strengthen our seaports to successfully balance lives and livelihoods. We want the team there to be fully equipped as we COVID-19 proof the territory.”

Plans to facilitate booked tourists

The leader of government business also said there are plans to temporarily facilitate the affected tourists who would have had their trip to the BVI booked through ferry service from the neighbouring United States Virgin Islands.

He said some of the options being discussed is whether the government will subsidize those immediately impacted by the last-minute decision.

“We took that into consideration when we knew that we had to put more emphasis in getting our ports ready, so we have had fruitful discussions with two airlines so that they can readjust their scheduling and be able to now transport those passengers who would have booked by the ferry to now come by the Beef Island Terrance B Lettsome International Airport, so those are the details that we are working out,” Fahie stated.

“We are looking at those options on how to facilitate it given that we had to make this hard decision, but it would not be one that we will sustain because the first few we know because they would have already booked,” he added.

In the meantime, Premier Fahie said Cabinet also requested that, within a week, the Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office and the Managing Director of the BVI Airports Authority — with input from the Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC) — submit a plan and timeline for the reopening of the Road Town Ferry Terminal to incoming international visitors for the new January 2021 date.

 

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49 Comments

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  1. Woww says:

    Last minute day before the borders you tell people this, people already had plans and paid monies. Incompetent to the highest on the government behalf

    Like 76
    Dislike 4
    • Doh says:

      Omfg

      Bvilove. I don’t think so.

      The season is over. Close the airport too

      Cases will climb as belongers coming back break quarantine. As soon as numbers go up to 5-10 then we’re done and borders will close. Millions more will be lost by local tourism operators and the implosion will cause an avalanche of poverty this territory has never witnessed

      But carry on

      Like 39
      Dislike 5
      • Rite decision says:

        I think the rite decision is made not to open the sea port can you imagine the spike if they did. Yes keep it close a lot of them was waiting to break the laws now I can breath a little better for Christmas

  2. Wellsah says:

    We want the tourist to come in but them island people try anything to keep them out longer and when we say island people we mean anyone outside the British & US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Americans are welcomed

    Like 5
    Dislike 39
  3. Haha says:

    BVI is just hurting themselves not anyone else so keep the ferry ports close forever if that’s what y’all want.

    Like 26
    Dislike 6
    • @haha says:

      Let us decide who is hurting who… How is America handling things? Everything ok up there? Do you still have closed borders from ‘ChiNa’ and Europe?

      Like 4
      Dislike 1
  4. Shameful says:

    This government is a total failure! After all these months this is what you know come out to say? Where did you get the Dec 6th date from in the first place then? Didn’t you check to make sure the ferry terminal was up to speed before? You guys are just calling dates out of your behind without planning anything. This is crazy and utterly embarrassing.

    Like 56
    Dislike 4
  5. vip heckler says:

    The VIP government is a waste of time

    Like 24
    Dislike 5
    • FEO Gomez says:

      And NDP is sell outs you don’t understand do you? We will elect CHIT in the toilet before NDP ever again! Will not stand for white people winning and taking taxpayer money.

  6. BVI Lover says:

    Good desicion

    Like 6
    Dislike 12
  7. Sick of y’all says:

    Let’s be real and speak on the fact the re-entry process is completely a cluster fk.
    There are people in quarantine who have been there going on 7 days, messages not answered in the Whatsapp chat, no organization, a true natural disaster!
    Irma can’t compete with the destruction that VIP and the Governor has done to these islands.

    Sad to witness.

    Like 26
    Dislike 4
  8. Mr. Pandy says:

    its a crying shame how unorganised and ill-prepared this Government is… but I don’t blame Andy Pandy at all… what have these Head of Departments and PS’s been doing since March?

    Like 16
  9. Thank You! says:

    The government might not be working full speed at this time but this is a learning process for the whole world and them doing worst than us. America gone crazy.
    Health and safety over money and I need money for Christmas but rather give nothing at Christmas than give or get covid!

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  10. So... says:

    If the Road Town ferry will be only open to incoming international visitors, how will the ferries leave here to go to collect them?

    Like 1
    Dislike 4
  11. Omg says:

    People are on planes flying here already and when they reach st Thomas there is no ferry.

    This really show the lack of any plan the government has.

    Absolute zero.

    The covid tests and protocols are catching what they were designed to do. One tourist with a positive test in quarenteen and the borders are closed.

    Like 17
    Dislike 1
    • @omg says:

      I see American tourists breaking quarantine on Dec 1!
      Also been told that they have been breaking quarantine on vessels as well. The person also mentioned that the Europeans being quarantined on vessels did what they were told and followed the rules… but apparently the Americans think they know better.
      No respect!

      Like 17
      Dislike 7
  12. NOT ALL AMERICANS says:

    pretty broad stroke to say all Americans. many of us travel just fine and respect the BVI and many other areas we travel to. you say you want tourism and say crap like this is just a little disrespectful. lots of moving parts i know but kindness always wins always

    Like 13
    • True... but! says:

      I never said ALL Americans. I just told you what I see and what I have been told from very good sources.
      Right now we are in a broad stroke world and half of your team are ruining it for the rest of you.. sort of like your own country.

      Like 5
      Dislike 10
      • ps. says:

        “Kindness always wins always” well start preaching and teaching that at home before you start telling other countries that nonsense. Everyone is welcome but from what I see and have been told.. Your country has turned this political and just plain weird, but ‘some’ think they can export that mindset here because they want a vacation from their self made disaster.. again, not ALL.
        This is not some 3rd world country you can just stroll in to and start changing the rules.
        Feel free to send this memo to that other 49% of your country men and women that are behaving that way.
        also sorry if I hurt your feelings… I love the States, but what the… is going on with you guys???

        Like 8
        Dislike 5
        • Joseph says:

          Many Americans prefer freedom above safety. Concerning the corona virus the attitude of many is “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.”

  13. Foolish says:

    Why wait until people already booked and announce this the day before? Get this government out!!!!

    Like 11
    Dislike 3
  14. Ausar says:

    How could you do this to us, Premier Fahie?

    WWHHYYYY????

    We have had persons with plans for ferry operations!

    And now, THIS?

    It’s not looking good at all..

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  15. Close airport says:

    Move all the visitor arrival testing staff, equipment, accommodations, etc. to the Road Town Ferry dock and commence visitor arrivals in that location.

    Visitors are likely catching the virus on these small planes half hour flights from other islands to the Beef Island airport.

  16. 007 says:

    Why are y’all complaining? Most of y’all were saying nobody will come so if nobody coming then it will be no problem.

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
    • 2cents says:

      Yes. I have told my guests to postpone to next year. Too complicated and there is no respect for tourists that count on some consistency with rules. Hopefully I survive and we live to fight another day. I still have a job but feel sorry for those that work in the industry because they have to up s**ts creek.

  17. Lol says:

    Build a big tent on the cruise ship dock and process the passengers there, far more room. The ferry should take priority over the airport. It worked fine having ferry at the pier park after Irma, do it again. No cruise ships coming for a very long time.

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  18. Joe says:

    Awesome. Just changed my flight from San Juan to St. Thomas and booked ferry to BVI on Saturday. Looks like it’s about time to call the Moorings and cancel, and enjoy the holidays with quarantining in advance of our trip on January 5. Our group of 8 Texans were totally on board with $400 of Covid testing, and staying away from people, and quaraniting 2 weeks prior, FWIW.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
    • Lettsome says:

      Until Texas gets its Covid rate under control you may agree that its better for us that to stay where yu are.

      Like 2
      Dislike 3
      • Joe says:

        Can’t totally disagree with that. But I also feel if I quarantine 14 days before coming, and take 3 Covid tests in the in 7 days, odds are I don’t have it.

  19. Watching says:

    Just a bunch of baffons in suirs making decisions

    Like 3
    Dislike 2
  20. Truth says:

    The seaports will open to visitors after all the VIP voters have been vaccinated and survived the inoculation to vote again.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  21. No common sense government says:

    It is foolish and very irresponsible to experiment with a technology that is unproven untested,,,to put our health and trust in not a good decision,,,,also what happened to the imported Cuban medical professionals thought they were to be posted in critical needed areas,,, This is a gross failure.

  22. Tourist says:

    Why not use the smallest ferry from St Thomas and go to trellis bay. Make a facility to escort tourists to the airport for testing. Win Win.

  23. MD says:

    The total number of covid-19 related deaths in USVI is 23 out of a population of 106,405. The geography and population characteristics are similar enough to assume the BVI population of 29,802 would likely have about the same mortality numbers and the math suggests this to be about 6 people. BVI total deaths per year from any cause is about 160. The USVI is open for tourists and we had a wonderful time on a recent trip. The restrictions are sensible and similar to what we have in the U.S. Mainland. I see alot of assumptions that we are somehow overrun with Covid-19. Do not look at the total numbers because we are a country of 330 million and our death rate for covid is lower than all European countries except Switzerland. There are about 3 million Americans who die each year from all causes and Heart disease and cancer account for about 1.2 million. Amazingly, Covid-19 has not increased U.S. total deaths because suddenly we see the deaths from cancer and heart disease going down by the same amount of Covid increase (Johns Hopkins data). It seems that many deaths from other cause are counted differently – as Covid-19. Given the math illustrations, it seems that the BVI is shutting down to spare 6 lives who may have died from other causes anyway.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  24. Jim says:

    I just booked my flights to STT last week, and my ferry yesterday. I fully respect the decision of the government to delay the opening if they feel safety is a concern. My one question now is whether I should go ahead and book a flight from STT to EIS, or wait for the “plans to temporarily facilitate the affected tourists”. Do we have any idea of when these will be announced, and roughly what the cost will be? Thanks.

  25. Islandson says:

    How delayed is the testing on day 4.

  26. Susan Robinson says:

    Oh! My beloved BVI! Every week the restrictions change. We have a 5 week stay planned for Tortola, and VG. Flight from US is late January, I have until Jan. 11th to cancel with full refund. I shall be cancelling, with heavy heart. Too much indecision with Government.

    I live in Washington state and our Governor Inslee thinks he is God! He has destroyed many lives and closed 1000’s of small businesses with his ridiculous restrictions, and shutdowns. Yet Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, all the BIggies remain packed to the gills! Insane! Yep, like the BVI local band, the Razor Blades, sing, “they eat the cheese”

    Rise up, Belongers, BVI Strong. God bless you. See you in March, if I reschedule, or 2022.

  27. Making it hard. says:

    So much for getting additional flights! After changing our flights to fly into Puerto Rico instead of St Thomas, so we could fly into the BVI instead of taking the ferry, InterCaribbean Airways canceled our flight out of the BVI. WFT!? Too close to our trip to cancel the yacht. We’re screwed.

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