BVI News

Tourism is BVI’s ‘bread and butter’, let’s reopen October — Sam Henry

Local tour operator Julio ‘Sam’ Henry said the BVI has the ability to safely reopen its borders to a limited number of tourists as early as October.

Earlier this week, Premier Andrew Fahie suggested that limited reopening of the borders is slated for November.

But speaking yesterday, September 10 on Claude Skelton Cline’s Honestly Speaking radio show, Henry said tourism is so important to the BVI’s economy that a safe but sooner reopening of the borders is an option that should be seriously considered.

“We can’t survive another six months in this country without tourism. [November] is the BVI’s timeline, but I’m a little faster. I’m looking at October to start reopening some form of tourism in the BVI,” Henry said.

He said the BVI could start by accepting tourists in the charter yacht sector using a similar system being utilised to accept sailors in St Lucia.

Henry explained that under this system, yacht visitors get tested for COVID-19 upon arrival then return to their vessels until their test results are returned by authorities. Once they’ve tested negative for the virus, they’re allowed to roam St Lucia freely.

“They could go to Peter Island dock, for example, and within 24 hours we give them their results. If they test negative in 24 hours, they are allowed to roam but they get a colour-coded wristband. The wristband would tell people on land whether they are safe to interact with,” Henry explained.

“This is a programme that St Lucia is launching and it’s working really well for sailors. And at the same time, the government could still have protocols in place until we get to a point where we don’t have to worry about that,” he added.

Coupled with testing on arrival, Henry said the BVI could also require pre-screenings to ensure tourists travelling from neighbouring destinations are COVID-free.

“Before they get here, we do all the pre-screening. We work with our agencies in the States. We work with people in St Thomas, we work with people in St Martin. Wherever the flow of our people are coming from, we try to put some mechanisms in place to ensure people are safe coming here,” Henry explained.

Tour operators, hotel operators, and other business owners are experiencing a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought the international travel industry to a halt.

Many hotels in the territory have started appealing to locals; offering reduced rates for people interested in ‘staycaytions’ (residents vacationing locally). Some tour operators have also started offering delivery and transportation services to locals as a way of supplementing their income.

In an address to the territory Thursday night, September 10, Health Minister Carvin Malone said the Cabinet will be meeting today to decide on the way forward as the number of active COVID-19 cases in the territory has dropped to 33.

BVI COVID-19 Stats:
Confirmed cases – 64
Active cases – 33
Recoveries – 30
Deaths – 1
Number of persons tested – over 4,000

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

51 Comments

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  1. Lmao says:

    Lord Sam you to smart. Now I know why you spoke so well of the gov and how they handled the virus.

    Like 17
    Dislike 1
    • Sam says:

      There are too many selfish, greedy, uncaring people in this world. You have no heart for mankind and money is your God. I don’t know how persons like yourselves can sleep at night. Here is a plan for you, if you wish to make money so badly, move to the U.K. or USA and start a taxing business. You obviously have no fear of the coronavirus, so you should be happy enough.

      • ok says:

        don’t people in the BVI need money? What do you pay rent with or buy food with? Just wondering before you call people greedy for not wanting to see the economy fully wrecked.

        Like 3
        Dislike 1
        • Yes says:

          They do need money, but no one should worship money. Just one life lost is too much from this virus. If Sam needs money so badly, many of us would be glad to give him some in order to save persons from dying from this virus. He needs to have a heart.

  2. Government to stupid says:

    The only thing this government does is kill employment and cause racial tensions by being absurdly racist. Their logic is mind bothering, every time we have a new Covid test we go into lockdown, at this rate we will be locked for the rest of our lives, that is a short one given that all jobs will be lost so no food for the table. Yet people still believe the government is doing a good job and if not that, believe god will save them!

    Like 37
    Dislike 10
    • ... says:

      Tell me how the government is being absurdly racist when they recently had their fast track belongership regularization process. Because you only recently come and want the same benefits as those who were here longer you & others in the same boat want to huff and puff.

      News flash people from your same place of origin, are here enjoying their belongership while you & a set of others cry and berate the people of the VI about racism and entitlement, how ironic.

      Handling of covid is different but you all have to realize you cant go to a foreign country and expect to get all the benefits right away.

      Like 1
      Dislike 2
    • Rob C says:

      What a bunch of p*****s running your beautiful little islands. One death from the Covid, oh my god! How many have died from other illnesses in the same time? Socialism alive and not well in the BVI, SO SAD!,

  3. The Truth says:

    No it’s not. It’s YOUR bread & butter.

    Like 16
    Dislike 17
    • &The says:

      You’re another moron. Tourists, especially yacht and villa tourists spend money throughout the Territory. Ever hear of trickle down economics? Of course you haven’t. Obviously educated in the BVI. Every sector reaps the benefits of the Tourist dollar. Restaurants, supermarkets, bars, tour operators, taxis, rental agencies, and government. Name one area that doesn’t benefit from the tourist. That is why islands with real leaders are opening and welcoming tourists cautiously. You however need to crawl back under your rock.

      Like 32
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      • Lol says:

        For someone who thinks they know more than others, you sure picked the wrong example. That is not trickle down economics. You might want to research your facts more

  4. where is the plan says:

    Open without a plan. Where is your government’s plan sam?

    Like 16
    Dislike 4
  5. @dumbsheeple says:

    Whats in november? Offcourse its the U.S elections. Youre all a bunch of moronic sheeple, they projected atleast 1500 persons may have the virus but yet no pne is dying. This virus is so deadly you have to take a test to know if have it smh. Admit it idiots you have been scammed just admit it and move on. All the deaths is usvi is 68 and above lol this is an obvious fraud and it laughable. And lockdowns are straight up retarded. And if you are calling for a lockdown youre a bum and a retard.

    Like 10
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  6. Just Leave!! says:

    Why don’t that r****t c***n don’t just leave the BVI? Every day he/she on every news sit spewing “local racist. Government racist.” Everybody racist except the racist her/himself. What a pitiful o****m. Must be suffering from minor m…

    Like 1
    Dislike 7
  7. dumbsheeple says:

    Whats in november? Offcourse its the U.S elections. Youre all a bunch of moronic sheeple, they projected atleast 1500 persons may have the virus but yet no pne is dying. This virus is so deadly you have to take a test to know if have it smh. Admit it idiots you have been scammed just admit it and move on. All the deaths is usvi is 68 and above lol this is an obvious fraud and it laughable. And lockdowns are straight up retarded. And if you are calling for a lockdown youre a bum.

    Like 9
    Dislike 5
  8. Bvi lander says:

    The longer the borders are closed, people will find ways to smuggle in bringing covid with them. Open the borders, test everyone coming in, if they are positive, send them back. But once negative let them in. Let’s boost back our economy. People are struggling . We need the tourists

    Like 23
    Dislike 3
  9. blindman says:

    Sam slow down, dont let desperation get to you and your fellow men because the result will be the same . If you fail to plan you plan to fail remember these words . Its call a season for a reason so lets all learn to live within our means as for you spreeing up and down all over the world remember you getting older not younger.I in the taxi business and need for this government to take their time when it comes to tourism and make sure they have the proper things in place because every other country that have open to tourist again has seen a large increase in cases so we have trend carefully.

    Like 8
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  10. Thank you Sam says:

    All tourism business is suffering and the VIP government gives us peanuts! Cannot even buy salt fish with it..

    Like 8
    Dislike 5
  11. Anonymous says:

    The same procedure can be done for hotel/guesthouse/villa guests. Let them show a covid test result from home as they enter and then do a test here and within 24 hours they know what is what and if their negative put a wristband on. Police or a special wrist band officer( opportunity for a job for someone) can put it on. Great idea.

    Like 9
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    • Really? says:

      So this looks like a good idea, but:
      1: pre-travel test – how do we know the visitor did not catch covid some time since they had first test?
      2. BVI test – if visitor catches covid on plane, ferry or on the way, will BVI test show it?
      3. Wrist bands sound sensible but surely if someone fails BVI test they – and their vacation group – will be sent home, no? So why the need to identify those who passed BVI Covid test with wristbands?

      Any solution needs to be thought through, not just a rushed ‘solution’ to get us back into business.

      Like 4
      Dislike 3
      • Realist says:

        Every plan/ attempt to pen for visitors will have its flaws. Staying closed forever is definitely NOT a solution. But trying a plan to open, sticking to it, making adjustments as needed will get us closer to a recovery from this virus. And lets face it, a virus that can be controlled by simple procedures like handwashing, not gathering and wearing a mask. Is it really so difficult. Unfortunately some people can not do those basic tasks. Its a shame for such a small country.

        Like 9
        Dislike 2
  12. St Lucia says:

    One big difference between the BVI and St Lucia – the HOSPITALS. They have 17 (Seventeen!). They are proper hospitals (like you can get open heart surgery there). We have ZERO proper hospitals in the BVI.
    We need to stop talking out of our ass on this and get are real plan that fits the BVI. Not some gibberish that reflects another country’s setup.
    If the BVI had 100 hospital cases, the medical system would be overwhelmed.
    This is a REAL pandemic. It sucks. We can get through this. But not by OPENING the boarders.

    Like 10
    Dislike 8
    • @St Lucia says:

      The BVI has far more health facilities than St Lucia so stop talking BS! Which 17 hospitals St Lucia has? Name them! They have 2 main hospitals and some clinics. What hospitals have to do with this anyway? Leave the fearmongering alone, how many cases we had here? How many ended up in Hospital? 3? Give it a rest! 17 hospitals HAHA!!!

      Like 2
      Dislike 7
  13. schemers says:

    Open up. The nonessential government has no plan and would make sure they are exempt from it anyhow. If they were forced to close and were not getting a salary, then they would understand what the people are facing.

    Like 8
    Dislike 3
  14. PLAN TO PREMIER TO OPEN says:

    1) HAVE VISITORS ENTERING THE BVI TEST 7 DAYS BEFORE ENTERING, AND MUST PRODUCE A NEGATIVE TEST BEFORE GET ON THE PLANE OR BOAT TO COME.

    2) HAVE VISITORS ENTERING TEST UPON ARRIVAL TO THE BVI

    3) HAVE LOCALS, RESIDENTS, WORK PERMIT HOLDERS QUARANTINE FOR 14 DAYS UPON ENTERING THE BVI, AND TEST AFTER

    3) PRACTICE: SOCIAL DISTANCING, WEARING A MASK IN PUBLIC, WASHING YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP, AND SANITIZING WHERE HANDS CANNOT BE WASHED

    4) ENFORCING THE LAWS IN PLACE, TO ANYONE WHO BREAKS IT, FRIEND, FAMILY, PARTY SUPPORTER

    5) HAVE ON GOING CORONAVIRUS EDUCATION TO KIDS AT SCHOOL (ONLINE), AND TO ADULTS INCLUDING OUR SENIORS

    6) SANITIZE REGULARLY AT PUBLIC PLACES

    7. UTILIZE THE POLICE FORCE OR SOME FROM THE CORONAVIRUS TASK TEAM TO ENSURE THE PROTOCOLS ARE BEING FOLLOWED.

    8) WORK TO SIGNIFICANTLY BRING DOWN THE ACTIVE CASES TO NO MORE THAN 5

    Like 10
    Dislike 2
  15. BVI News says:

    Publisher, monitor or whatever your positional title is, wish you had left on those two words at the end. They were funny, would have given a chuckle and or a smile. Ah well, such is life beyond things one don’t control.

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  16. Anonymous says:

    How will the daily commute be managed for local and USVI residents/family, traversing back and forth weekly?

  17. Please says:

    I am tired of this guy with his selfish talk. Don’t you guys have real news to report?

  18. Not News says:

    who gives a toss what sam thinks?

  19. Realist says:

    Every plan/ attempt to pen for visitors will have its flaws. Staying closed forever is definitely NOT a solution. But trying a plan to open, sticking to it, making adjustments as needed will get us closer to a recovery from this virus. And lets face it, a virus that can be controlled by simple procedures like handwashing, not gathering and wearing a mask. Is it really so difficult. Unfortunately some people can not do those basic tasks. Its a shame for such a small country.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  20. Lol says:

    Open up the place and let the weak,scared and vulnerable stay home!

    Like 4
    Dislike 4
  21. yes problem says:

    You mean let the smart, educated and elderly stay home?

    Like 1
    Dislike 2
  22. 2cents says:

    As I have been saying on numerous posts LOCKDOWNS don’t work. The virus will still be alive but the economy will be killed. I think there are so many countries where this is evident. If BVI wants tourism to return they need to communicate their plans. As a stakeholder I have guests with bookings in November, December and into 2021. I don’t know what the hell to tell them. Believe me businesses can work with a plan but radio silence is becoming impossible to deal with. There is nothing in life that offers a 100% guarantee but BVI needs to move forward or they will be left with nothing but fear.

    Like 5
    Dislike 5
    • GTFOH says:

      B.S, the lockdown did work and the facts prove this. Over 80% of our cases happened after the curfew was lifted and bars and nightclubs allowed to open. Idiots need government to tell them what to do. There is a worldwide guideline issued by the Health organizations so we don’t even have to listen to Government. They can’t even Follow simple advisories like wearing a mask. Most don’t even have to wear it all day because most people are only patrons so they go to a business, spend less than a hr, but no their mask is off or under their nose. They gave the bars and nightclubs a chance to open and they recording themselves breaking the guidelines for all of Facebook to see including government. That shows that people are idiots and don’t care but get angry when we are forced to have curfew and businesses not allowed to open.

      Like 7
      Dislike 3
      • 2cents says:

        Lockdowns delay the inevitable BVI had lockdowns and still has covid

        Like 2
        Dislike 3
        • GTFOH says:

          That’s the purpose of the lockdowns. They are to prevent and delay the spreading of the virus like wildfire because our hospital can only treat 8 seriously ill at a time. Only a cure or vaccine can get rid of the virus. To the other fool that said lockdown is for the sick not healthy, there are people that are asymptomatic that think they are healthy that can spread to people that are healthy. There are people that probably have some mild symptoms and don’t see the need to get tested and would go all about if the lockdown wasn’t implemented. People go to work when they are sick all the time so you think they won’t go if their office was allowed to open. The lockdown did its job, people complained, got their wish then went insane. The lockdown was so successful that people from neighboring islands snuck in the BVI because we were a safe zone and their island was a hotspot.

      • Ok says:

        Lockdowns don’t get rid of the virus period. Lockdowns are for sick not healthy

        Like 5
        Dislike 5
  23. VPS says:

    BVI is actually dependent on people who ain’t “bhon hey”? Wow, Unheard of. Thought the BVI was self sustained for the way y’all people get on…

    Like 9
    Dislike 2
  24. Richgdgy says:

    You let the Libs dictate and now you suffer!

  25. The evidence supports you... says:

    Agree 100%. No positive cases via legal entry in 4 months or more and a lot of people being coming in. “It’s not what you do it’s how u do it”. No one can get on a plane leave their country for another country without a negative test… everyone coming will have a negative test plus tested upon entry self quarantine until results is known.. What is safer than that…

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  26. wrong says:

    The problem with this idea is the BVI gets very little “cruiser” traffic as the territory is so expensive, these cruisers are not the high spending tourists that come and hire bareboats or crewed charters .

  27. Miro says:

    Good luck with it

  28. wtf says:

    If you all are following the news you will see that there is lots of skepticism around the positive covid tests. The US is doing tons of cycling in a test based on CDC recommendations 40. NYT has articles stating that its picking up lots of dead virus that is not even communicable. This is creating a lot of unnecessary panic. Be smart and do you homework before economy is fully destroyed.

  29. Rob C says:

    Wow! Socialism really does SUCK!

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