Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. has announced that the territory will return to the “Safer at Home” phase of the COVID-19 response starting Tuesday.

Government House made the announcement in a press release and public alert Sunday, a day after the V.I. Health Department confirmed that a 17th person had died due to the novel coronavirus.

The deceased is a 93-year-old man on St. Thomas.

Since the pandemic began, a total of 11 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 on St. Thomas, there have been five on St. Croix, and St. John recorded its first COVID-19 death Friday.

The territory has been under a renewed Stay at Home order for three weeks in an effort to halt a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, and the order will remain in effect through the end of the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Bryan is expected to discuss the announcement during a press conference Tuesday, and Sunday’s public notice listed some of the changes that residents can expect.

Guidelines under the territory’s Safer at Home phase include:

• Non-essential businesses open, bars remain closed, hotel reservation systems closed.

• Indoor/outdoor recreation facilities open, no food or drink.

• Facial covering in all commercial entities.

• No gathering greater than 50, facial coverings and social distancing required.

• Nursing homes closed to visitation.

• Beaches closed at 4 p.m. on weekends and on holidays.

Bryan also said he intends to allow dine-in service at restaurants under the Safer at Home phase, with restrictions, including:

• No serving of alcohol at bar counters.

• No seating of more than 6 persons per table.

• Tables must be 6 feet apart.

• Patrons must wear masks at all times when not eating or drinking.

The prohibition on hotels accepting any leisure guests remains in effect until Sept. 18.

Hotels can begin accepting new leisure travel reservations on Sept. 12.

Schools are set to begin virtual learning on Sept. 14.

To report a suspected case of COVID-19, call 340-712-6299 or 340-776-1519. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.

For more information, visit For COVID-19 updates, text COVID19USVI to 888777.

— Contact Suzanne Carlson at 340-714-9122 or email