Where Can New Yorkers travel During the Coronavirus?
New Yorkers looking for warm weather, a different view, and a change of place have considerable options in spite of the Coronavirus. For those determined and looking to spend time with their family outside of their home, some of the best options include the British Virgin Islands and St. Barths.
The British Virgin Islands
Closed to tourists for much of the Coronavirus, the British Virgin Islands are one of the few places travelers can feel a sense of assurance that the islands have been contained. It will welcome tourists immediately after Thanksgiving, on Tuesday, December 1. While this archipelago of islands has historically been great for island hopping, during Coronavirus, travelers may feel more comfortable planting their feet somewhere for 10 days or more. Two of the most well-known islands, Virgin Gorda and Tortola, are home to a range of villa rentals and hotels. For those looking for a truly private and socially distanced vacation option, consider villas in private islands in the BVI. Browse villas in the BVI.
A WIMCO Villa rental in Virgin Gorda, in the British Virgin Islands
How to Get To the BVIs from New York
From the New York area, fly non-stop to St. Thomas, then take an hour ferry water taxi to Tortola or Virgin Gorda. Both Delta and United offer non-stop flights, from JFK and Newark, respectively. The flight is just under 4 hours, and the water taxi takes another 1-1.5 hrs. Alternatively, those who don’t mind connecting can find plenty of options from the Caribbean hub of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Nearly every US airline flies to San Juan, with connecting flights to Beef Island (next door to Tortola) on Silver Airways or Cape Air. You can also fly Air Sunshine from San Juan into Virgin Gorda or Tortola.
Testing Requirements for New Yorker for the BVIs
A PCR Covid test is required to land in the BVIs, and must be taken with 5 days of arrival. A four-day quarantine (at one’s accommodations) is required. Travelers are required to take another test on island on day 4 and day 8. While certainly there are hoops to jump through, the BVIs are for the traveler seeking a low-risk destination, with gorgeous waters and views.
Historically easy for New Yorkers to get to, leave in the morning and arrive by lunch. Another island that requires proof of a negative test for entry, St. Barths accepts PCR tests taken 72 hours prior to arrival, or antigen (rapid) tests 48 hours prior to arrival.
With no shortage of lodging options, travelers can opt for villas (starting at $350/night until December 15, $500/bedroom/night in the winter, and $700/bedroom/night at peak holiday season), or a bevy of hotels, from the low-key to the 5 star. Browse villas in St Barts.
A St. Barths villa rental from WIMCO
How to Get to St. Barths from New York
Fly direct to St. Martin via United, JetBlue or Delta, and then take a 12-minute commuter flight to St. Barths. For a more upscale experience (and to avoid customs and another TSA checkpoint), opt to connect via San Juan. Tradewind Aviation operates an average of 8 flights per day from San Juan to St. Barths on their sleek 8-seater Pilatus planes, delivering travelers in approximately 50 minutes.
Do I have to Quarantine When I Return to New York?
The answer is mixed. Travelers returning to New York have two options: They can quarantine in their homes for 14 days. Alternatively, they can “test out” by obtaining a negative COVID test three days prior to arriving in New York. For example, a New Yorker traveling to St. Barths can take a test on a Tuesday at 4pm before arriving in New York on Friday at 4pm. This test can be any kind. Testing out reduces the quarantine in New York to three days, however a second test is required on day four in New York. The state of New York does not require these tests to be submitted anywhere, however failure to comply may result in a civil penalty or fine.
The benefit for New Yorkers of visiting an island such as St. Barths or within the BVIs, is that testing facilities are readily available. This access makes the transition to New York much easier, without the worry of scrambling to find a test.
So, Where Should New Yorkers Travel During the Coronavirus?
For the convenience of straightforward flights, and relatively easy testing requirements, St. Barths is our top pick for New Yorkers during the Coronavirus. With restaurant options in New York becoming increasingly limited—Mayor de Blasio on November 19 suggested that indoor dining may cease in the coming weeks—open-air restaurants in warm destinations are sure to become more desirable. With a robust restaurant scene and plentiful options (especially in private villas), St. Barths may be the ticket for New Yorkers during the Coronavirus.