Long line

Customers wait in line outside the FirstBank branch in Tutu, St. Thomas, on Friday.  

ST. THOMAS — FirstBank customers who routinely banked conveniently at the Port of Sale branch in Havensight will have to head to Tutu or its downtown branch until further notice, and likely encounter long lines.

A notice on the branch’s door reads, “The Port of Sale Branch will remain CLOSED until further notice.”

When contacted, a bank official told The Daily News that the Long Bay branch has been closed since Jan. 5 with no timeline for reopening.

“Like every other business we’re trying to manage this COVID-19 situation,” FirstBank’s marketing manager Alana Alexander said. “We have necessary protocols in place for our employees and our customers.

She said, however, that the closure of the Port of Sale branch isn’t the result of a COVID outbreak, where employees simply have to quarantine before returning to work, but rather a shortage of staff to operate it.

Meantime, the remaining two branches — in Tutu and downtown Charlotte Amalie on Veterans Drive — have been dealing with long lines as they accommodate the influx of customers.

That was the case Friday in Tutu as customers stood in long lines. A St. Thomas woman reported about 11 a.m. Friday that the lines at the branch on Veterans Drive was so long that it snaked halfway around the bank. Security officials allowed in a few people at a time inside in adherence to social distancing guidelines.

“I don’t have a definitive timeline for when Port of Sale will open, but we will open it as soon as we can,” Alexander said.

Alexander said staff from the closed branch have been split between the locations on Veterans Drive and the FirstBank Plaza in Tutu, which will be closed Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King holiday.

- Contact Suzanne Carlson at 340-714-9122 or email scarlson@dailynews.vi.