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Virgin Islands Update, Florida Looks Better and More COVID News

Posted on September 16, 2020

Good news for timeshare owners in the U.S. Virgin Islands as Governor Albert Bryan Jr. has stated the islands will be reopening to tourists on Saturday. The USVI had been closed to visitors from mid-August due to an uptick in positive COVID cases, but the numbers are now to a point where officials feel they can reopen the islands.

Visitors to the USVI islands of St Thomas, St John and St Croix will need to produce a negative COVID test upon entry. The latest information can be seen by clicking on https://usviupdate.com/.

Meanwhile, Bahamas officials continue to ride the merry-go-round otherwise known as their COVID travel policy. Officials announced an October 15 date for reopening major hotels and beaches along with working to reestablish more flights from the U.S.

The country currently has a vacation-in-place policy where inbound visitors can complete their 14-day quarantine in a hotel, timeshare or other type of vacation rental. The problem is that the beaches, attractions and other facilities remain closed. Even with the new reopening date, the Atlantis Resort is holding off on announcing a reopening date until there is more certainty from the government.   

Florida Continues to Improve

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an order last week allowing bars to reopen from this past Monday. However, south Florida counties Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade will continue to keep bars closed until they see more improvement in their COVID cases.

This is just the latest in a series of indicators reflecting the improved status of COVID cases in the Sunshine State. On Monday, state officials announced the smallest daily increase in cases since June 11, with the peaks in deaths centered on July 25, nearly eight weeks ago.

Over the Labor Day holiday weekend, the four Disney theme parks in central Florida reached maximum capacity, albeit at the lowered, COVID-related capacity numbers established in July. The same goes for Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Even Disney Vacation Club timeshare resorts reportedly reached capacity. This is positive news as the Orlando timeshare market looks to rebound from the impacts of COVID-19.   

Now about Disneyland

Meanwhile, Disneyland and the Disney timeshares in southern California continue to be shuttered under Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan. The tragic brush fire situation in California has understandably taken priority, but Disney is continuing to work with state and local officials to aim at a possible reopening date.

One issue is that Newsom’s plan leaves it to local city and county leaders to manage their jurisdictions when it comes to COVID mitigation, so Orange County has considerable sway in when Disneyland reopens. The bottom line is – don’t expect the park to open anytime soon. Here’s a good roundup of the situation Disney is in.        

Good Labor Day Travel Numbers

The Labor Day weekend saw the highest number of flyers since March, with nearly a million airline passengers processed through TSA screening on Friday, September 4. It’s still under half of the number of passengers who flew over the same time last year, but it’s trending in the right direction and 10 times higher than the daily number of passengers who were flying in April. Even with the emphasis by timeshare operators to promote drive-to destinations, the growing number of flyers bodes well for the industry.

Keep an Eye on Hawaii

The next couple of weeks will be important for the Hawaii timeshare industry as the state approaches the end of September. That is when the current mandatory 14-day quarantine restrictions are due to expire. New COVID cases continue to be reported in Hawaii, with 70 new cases on Monday, and the Maui News is reporting that Governor David Ige will likely push out the October 1 start date for the trans-Pacific pre-travel testing plan. Look for an official announcement in the coming days.

Timeshare Resort Openings

The Gulf Coast is dealing with its second hurricane of the season, this time it is Hurricane Sally coming ashore in Gulf Shores, Alabama and impacting the Florida panhandle. Anyone owning a timeshare on the Alabama gulf coast or Florida panhandle is advised to contact your resort or management company for specific details pertaining to your resort. Below are the latest updates provided by the major brands:

Bluegreen Vacations – Bluegreen Club La Pension and The Marquee, both in New Orleans, are under a weather advisory enacted by the City of New Orleans resulting from Hurricane Sally. All other Bluegreen resorts are listed as open except for club associate resort Pono Kai Resort, which is closed until the end of the month in anticipation of the lifting of Hawaii COVID quarantine restrictions. For more information, please go to https://www.bluegreenowner.com/featured/travel-advisory-resort-status.

Capital Vacations – Sea Palace in St. Maarten and Coral Sands on Grand Cayman continue to be listed as closed on the Capital Vacations website. St. Maarten is currently open to visitors and Sea Palace resort is accepting online rental bookings on its website, so owners should check directly with Capital for the latest details. With the Cayman Islands due to open on October 1, Coral Sands owners should contact Capital as well for the anticipated reopening date for the resort. All other Capital Vacations timeshare resorts are open, so please click on https://www.capitalvacations.com/covid.php for further details.

Club WyndhamWyndham timeshares in San Francisco have now extended their reopening dates to October 1. All Wyndham Hawaii resorts are now scheduled to open on September 30 to align with the anticipated lifting of Hawaii’s COVID quarantine restrictions. The majority of Wyndham timeshare resorts are open, but a handful are still closed so please go to https://clubwyndham.wyndhamdestinations.com/us/en/covid-19-information/list-of-impacted-resorts for more details.

Diamond Resorts –No changes here as Diamond timeshare resorts in Hawaii are tentatively due to reopen on September 30 prior to the lifting of restrictions. Marquis Villas Resort in Palm Springs is scheduled for a September 30 opening while Alhambra Villas in Kissimmee is due to open on October 29. Please visit https://www.diamondresorts.com/covid-19-update for the latest info.

Disney Vacation Club – With the inbound visitor requirements of Hawaii and southern California still in flux, Disney has not yet announced a reopening date for Grand Californian in Anaheim or Aulani in Hawaii. Online rental bookings for Grand Californian have now been pushed out to October in the hope that the resort will be open by then. All other Disney timeshare resorts remain open so please go to https://disneyvacationclub.disney.go.com/ for more details.

Divi Resorts – Divi Flamingo Beach Resort in Bonaire is listed as reopening on October 15, while Divi Southwinds Beach Resort in Barbados is expected to reopen on October 31. Divi Carina Bay in St Croix is still showing as closed for renovations, although the USVI is reopening on Saturday as stated above. Divi timeshares in St. Maarten and Aruba (including Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort) are open, so for more information please click on https://www.diviresorts.com/news.htm.

Grand Pacific Resorts – Indian Palms Vacation Club is still showing an October 1 reopening date, with all other Grand Pacific timeshare resorts open. Please visit https://grandpacificresorts.com/resort-reopening-updates/ for the latest details.

Hilton Grand Vacations – Nothing new here as the remaining Hilton timeshare resorts showing as closed on the Hilton website have not changed. They are The Quin Central Park by Hilton Club, The Hilton Club – New York, the Residences by Hilton Club, Hilton Grand Vacations Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile and the six Hilton timeshare resorts in Hawaii. All other U.S.-based Hilton timeshares are open, so for more information please go to https://www.hiltongrandvacations.com/en/travel-alert.

Holiday Inn Club VacationsOrange Lake resort and all other Holiday Inn Club Vacations resorts are all open, with HICV updating the amenity status of each resort per COVID protocols. Please check out https://holidayinnclub.com/safe-travels/resort-updates for the latest details.

Marriott Vacation Club –Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove on St. Thomas is due to reopen this weekend following the lifting of the COVID-related closure of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Marriott’s Waikoloa Ocean Club in Hawaii remains closed as does Marriott Vacation Club Pulse San Francisco and Marriott Vacation Club Pulse New York City. All other U.S.-based Marriott timeshare resorts are open. For the latest updates, please click on https://hub.vacationclub.com/resort-updates/.

Vistana Signature Experiences – Westin St. John Resort Villas is expected to reopen on Saturday as officials lift the current USVI COVID closure restrictions. All other Westin timeshares and all Sheraton timeshare resorts remain open as well as Harborside Resort at Atlantis.

Westgate Resorts – Still the same status as before, with Westgate Leisure Resort, Westgate Blue Tree Resort, Westgate Palace Resort and Westgate Towers Resort remaining closed until November 19. Westgate New York Grand Central and Westgate Tunica Resort are closed with no announced reopening date. All other Westgate timeshare resorts are open. Please go to https://www.westgateresorts.com/coronavirus-travel-advisory/ for more details.

WorldMark – Hawaii and San Francisco are the only remaining question marks for WorldMark timeshare owners, with resorts in Hawaii closed until September 30 pending the status of the current 14-day quarantine restrictions. WorldMark San Francisco is not taking reservations for stays prior to February 21, 2021. All other resorts in the WorldMark timeshare network are open. Please click on https://www.worldmarktheclub.com/news/covid19_impacted_resorts.shtml

Author

Author Pic
Steve Luba
Chief Communications Officer
Steve manages the public relations, social media and content creation efforts of the company. Previously the Chief Operating Officer for Perspective International, Steve provided oversight and contributed articles for the five regional vacation ownership trade magazines under the Perspective Magazine banner. With 34 years’ experience in various roles in radio and television, sales and marketing, public relations, media and government liaison initiatives, he brings a well-rounded outlook to our industry.