Is St. John, USVI, Back to Normal?
After the one-two punch of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, it seemed as if St. John might never recover, but today, the island is largely back to normal. The amount of work that went into the island's recovery is truly impressive, especially since the devastation of the hurricanes was followed by a different kind of devastation: the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down St. John's biggest industry. But today, the island stands ready to welcome visitors from all over the world to this tropical paradise.
In September 2017, two Category 5 storms struck St. John in quick succession, destroying nearly everything in their path. Homes and businesses were flattened, and people were without electricity and running water for weeks. With the challenges of getting building materials to the island and the cost of doing so, recovery was slow, but over the course of the next couple of years, locals rebuilt St. John, from homes to hotels to schools. To mitigate future damage to the island from hurricanes, some homes were rebuilt with steel beams and reinforced concrete, and power lines have been moved underground to lessen the chances of them being affected by strong winds. By 2019, tourism was an option on St. John once again.
But then came 2020.
Just when the island looked to be on the rebound, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. St. John had to close its borders to tourists from all over the world, a heavy blow to the island economy. Two more years of struggle were ahead, with businesses shuttering as people stayed home to stay safe. Some resorts and restaurants couldn't take the sustained losses and closed for good.
Finally Back to Normal
In 2022, pandemic-related travel restrictions were lifted, and things could finally return to normal on St. John. Many businesses reopened after the pandemic, albeit with a few changes to their operating schedules and menus. And in the past couple of years, there have even been new resorts, hotels, and restaurants springing up. St. John is lush and green again, and all of the trails and beaches have been restored, upgraded, and reopened to the public. With St. John back to normal, people are flocking to the island in droves for a beautiful beach vacation.