Bryan imposes midnight curfew, closes government offices

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. has instituted a curfew from midnight to noon Thursday as a potential tropical storm careens toward the territory with expected heavy rainfall and gusty winds in tow.

Bryan, speaking at a news conference Wednesday morning, also closed all government offices effective at 1 p.m. and all-day Thursday. A reopening time will be announced today after an initial assessment. 

The storm, which according to forecasters remains an ill-defined weather disturbance and not yet a tropical cyclone, is expected to make landfall in the territory this afternoon.

Bryan said the storm is anticipated to move through the territory rapidly, but even so, heavy rains of 3-6 inches and winds of up to 50 mph could impact residents through the evening and into the night.

He advised the public to expect road closures and to avoid unnecessary travel in order to give the Department of Public Works an opportunity to clear away tree limbs and other debris.

He also advised residents to build a hurricane kit, formulate a shelter-in-place plan and sign up for Alert VI on the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency website at www.vitema.vi.gov.

VITEMA Director Daryl Jaschen said the U.S. Coast Guard will close the ports between St. Thomas and St. John at noon today.

He also said sand and sand bags will not be issued to prevent large gatherings of individuals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

V.I. Human Services Commissioner Kimberley Causey-Gomez said in order to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the government will not open congregate shelters.

Bryan called the storm a good “warm-up” for future and potentially stronger storms this season.

He said conditions will be reassessed Thursday morning at 5 a.m. and further announcements will be made at 7:15 a.m.

— Contact A.J. Rao at 340-714-9104 or email ajrao@dailynews.vi.