THE RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC ON ST. JOHN AND AT ANDANTE
LEISURE TOURISTS ALLOWED:
September 27, 2020
Many of you have contacted me for updates in regards to travel requirements for the USVI. The travel restriction banning leisure tourists was just lifted last Saturday, 9/19.
I encourage you to check out News of St. John, a local on-line weekly newspaper that comes out each Thursday. This week’s edition has some great updates on travel restrictions issued by the governor on Thursday; beaches and trails; restaurant updates; St. John’s first “Drive-in Movie”; Clear bottom Kayaks at Maho; and an article on opening Day on St. John, 9/19/2020.
In addition to this, there was a wonderful article and video, compiled by a number of local artists that I would love to share with you. It brought tears to my eyes and reminded me once more why I so love St. John, the VI and its citizens so much.
FOR QUESTIONS ABOUT TRAVEL, please call the Department of Tourism: (800) 372-8784
LEISURE TRAVEL TO RESUME:
September 11, 2020
We are pleased to announce that the USVI will once more be open to leisure travel as of 9/19. There are new caveats, though such as the requirement for everyone to be tested prior to arrival. Press Release Details
We are still down on St. John for one more week, doing our yearly upgrades and repairs. We found that we were somewhat more ambitious than was realistic, so some of the projects will need to be postponed, but we have accomplished a great deal.
In July, I wrote our guests who were due to stay prior to 8/26 to let them know of a change in the foliage to the west of the pool deck and what we planned to do about it. To construct a solar field, our neighbors to the west removed all the thick foliage that screened visibility of their house from ours. This was unexpected. To mitigate this, we had a number of tall rectangular wood planters constructed and placed along the pool railing. They are planted with tall areca palms so that our guests on the pool deck have privacy. We have also planted a tall travelers palm outside of the west guest bedroom deck, but this will need some time to fill in. In the meantime, we have placed two smaller planters with palms, side by side on that small deck to afford more privacy. These are temporary measures, until we can come up with a more permanent solution, such as fencing and further landscaping. However, whatever we decide, we will need to be on island for such a major project, and we won’t be on island for an extended time until March 2021. We think our temporary fix works well, and guests who stayed at the house, after this change, found it a very acceptable solution. Westward views from the main deck, have not at all been affected.
I will continue to update you as things develop. We look forward to having you as guests of Andante.
Marilyn & Rich
GOVERNOR'S PRESS CONFERENCE:
July 9, 2020
THE CURRENT TRAVEL POLICY HAS CHANGED:
The 72-hour testing requirement has been extended to FIVE DAYS and now includes TEN STATES.
EFFECTIVE WEDNESDAY, JULY 15, 2020, all travelers ages 15 and older who are residents of the following ten states must have a documented negative COVID-19 test within FIVE DAYS or a positive COVID-19 antibody test within 4 months of travel to the territory .
If a traveler does not arrive with test results (either a negative virus test or a positive antibody test), they must either self-quarantine for 14 days, or they can try to obtain a test in the VI, but must quarantine until the results are returned as negative. .
• All bars are in the territory are ordered closed. Restaurants can continue to serve drinks, but no counter service is allowed.
• The prohibition on sale of alcohol after 11:00 pm remains in effect.
• All beaches will close at 4:00 pm on weekends and holidays until further notice.
• Gaming and casinos closed immediately
If cases continue to rise, if we don't see our numbers decreasing by next week, we will close down the hotel reservation system as before.
FOR QUESTIONS ABOUT TRAVEL, please call the Department of Tourism: (800) 372-8784
MANAGING THE RISK OF COVID-19 AT ANDANTE & ON ST. JOHN:
A UPDATE FROM MARILYN
The USVI closed the islands to all leisure travel and cruise ships between March 25 and June 1. This strategy was successful in limiting the number of cases to 69 and the number of deaths to 6 (3 in one family) and this number stayed stable for several weeks. The bottom line is that if COVID-19 resurges in the islands, it will be due to visitors bringing it from elsewhere. The public health and medical infrastructure of the islands is fragile, so a surge in cases would seriously overtax the resources of the islands. Since the islands reopened on June 1, there has been a steady rise in cases. The Governor is trying very hard to balance the need to reopen the economy with the health, safety and welfare of the island’s residents and visitors.
Therefore, additional measures, listed above, have been enacted, effective July 15, 2020. We ask all of our guests to act responsibly and to respect the islands’ infection control measures by wearing masks when you go into town, or anywhere that might place you closer than 10 ft of people not in your own group. If you have been exposed to someone who may have the virus, or if you have any symptoms, please stay home. If you are from one of the 10 states listed above, you will need to comply with the testing requirements above. This may seem drastic, but we are in total agreement with these actions and we think they strike a very reasonable balance between welcoming guests to the island and preventing an influx of the virus into the USVI.
At Andante, we want to make sure our guests are safe and we have instituted a number of measures to ensure there is no viral transmission. Our knowledge of the virus is constantly evolving and what was known in March 2020, has changed significantly. There is now greater evidence that transmission occurs most frequently through aerosol droplets than from contamination from surfaces. Nevertheless, until we know for sure, we have instituted a protocol of disinfection of all commonly touched surfaces, after they are completely cleaned. Our wonderful housekeepers have always thoroughly cleaned the villa to a spotless condition between guests. Now, after cleaning, they will be thoroughly disinfecting all commonly touched hard and soft surfaces. Although we love all of our decorative throw pillows, for now we will be removing them. We apologize for the lack of aesthetics, but for now, safety is the priority. We will also be extending our hours for cleaning. For the near future, we are asking our guests to arrive for the first time at 4pm instead of 3PM. This will give our team of cleaners an extra hour to thoroughly disinfect.
We have always left recently purchased kitchen condiments and toiletries left by previous guests. We are removing these now to decrease the chance of viral transmission. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
We are hoping that as our knowledge of the virus evolves and prevention and treatment techniques develop, that we will be able to become more flexible, but for now, these are the measures we are following.
We want to make sure you have an enjoyable and healthy stay while at Andante!
THIS IS ENFORCED FOR ALL FUTURE RENTALS. Read more here.
The safest, most affordable way to guard against any eventuality, and to insure that you will obtain a full refund quickly, is to purchase “Cancel for Any Reason” (CFAR) trip cancellation insurance.
The 2017 Hurricanes brought into sharp focus the need for trip cancellation insurance. The Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 emphasized the limits of regular trip cancellation insurance and the need to purchase CFAR for future travel. As a small “mom and pop” business, in order to keep the costs of rentals affordable to our guests and far lower than a comparable stay in a series of hotel rooms in the future, we are unable to absorb the costs of non-coverage. Over the 20 years of Andante’s history, we have worked hard and taken great pride in this. The only way for us to do that is to have our guests take responsibility for purchasing CFAR travel insurance. We are therefore strongly urging that all guests purchase CFAR trip cancellation insurance for their stays, at the time that they reserve with us. We are not requiring it, but we are notifying guests that we will adhere to our established cancellation policy for all future rentals.
We highly recommend that you purchase Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) Trip Cancellation insurance for all dates of travel, not only during hurricane season. Our experience has been that the most frequent causes for cancellation have not been weather related, especially during the recent pandemic.
More information about CFAR trip cancellation insurance, can be found on line and at the links below: