TORTOLA— BVI borders will reopen to visitors Dec. 1, nine months after they closed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

BVI officials announced the reopening during a rebranding launch by its Tourist Board dubbed “BVI Love.”

“Every country that has reopened to tourists and travelers alike, faced their own challenges with the coronavirus,” Premier Andrew Fahie said, while keeping an optimistic tone.

“We have two full months to prepare and we must get it right and we must get it done,” Fahie said. “All of us working together, government, private sector, the public working together with BVI Love.”

Among the work ahead, details of the reopening plan which are forthcoming, he said.

The territory initially shut down in late March and since that time has gone through several curfew orders. Returning nationals were allowed back into the territory in mid-summer, during a partial opening of BVI borders.

Fahie acknowledged the next phase comes with a risk factor, noting that a positive COVID-19 case can spread rapidly through the community.

“The fact remains that we have to be able to reopen up our economy and to reopen up our economy the safest way using science and technology to guide us,” he said. “What will help us is what is unique about us, which is our size, our culture and our people who are resilient. These are what we have to rely on.”

Before the border is fully reopened, Fahie said the territory must prepare for what might happen. “The concentration must be to use the technology through simulation, to demonstrate that the technology will complement the science to greatly assist us in reopening in the safest way humanly possible,” he said.

“That is why we need the time to ensure the measures that are going to be put in place are working effectively.”

Fahie promised both the public and private sectors will be in the loop and that meetings will be held will be held with stakeholders including the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association, car rental companies, hoteliers, personnel from Crafts Alive, airline operators, the marine sector, taxi operators, restaurant owners and villa operators.

“No business will be left behind,” Fahie aid. “We’re all in this together.”