Bars and nightclubs will once again shut down territory-wide as COVID-19 cases spike in the territory.

As the territory matched infection levels not seen since August, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. announced Monday that nightclubs will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday and bars will close from Dec. 25 through Jan. 8.

Bryan said the decision was based on findings from his COVID-19 Task Force, which discovered multiple social gatherings over the past two weeks in which health and safety guidelines were being violated.

“Now is not the- time to be partying and having a good time in bars and nightclubs,” Bryan said. “We need to stay focused on the realization that this virus is rampant in our community and it has taken a toll on us all.”

Bryan said he will ramp up enforcement of property owners who allow for parties where protocols are ignored, He added that his Task Force has “begun discussions” about the implementation of a curfew to curtail nighttime activities should conditions worsen.

The territory reported 179 active COVID-19 cases Saturday, a number that has not been reached since Aug. 31. Bryan said out of 1,746 people tested since last Monday, 158 tested positive, making last week “one of our highest weeks ever.”

“Our positivity rate for the last week is at 9% — up from 7% the week before. That’s not good,” Bryan said. “We generally want our positivity rate to be below 5%.”

Bryan reminded the public to continue wearing a face covering and social distance, even after getting vaccinated.

For a list of COVID-19 testing sites, and more information about COVID-19 in the territory, visit www.covid19usvi.com.

Residents can also sign up for push notifications about the coronavirus in the territory by texting “COVID19USVI” to 888-777.

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