April 3, 2020
We love our visitors but now is not the time to visit the San Juan Islands. The health and safety of our island communities is our highest priority. In light of concerns about the COVID-19 virus, the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau is requesting visitors postpone all travel to the San Juans, including day trips, to limit the potential spread of the virus.
This advisory includes boaters who wish to anchor out or pick up a mooring buoy. It also includes people whose primary home is somewhere other than the San Juan Islands. Please help us manage the potential spread of the virus, and prevent overloading our limited health care and emergency care infrastructure by staying at your primary residence.
Coming to the islands may provide some social distancing peace of mind, but you will be jeopardizing a community with limited essential supplies and limited response resources.
Our request is based on the San Juan County Health Officer’s directive to suspend all non-essential travel to and from the Islands and close all lodgings to vacationers through April 30. The timing of this directive will be reassessed and adjusted, if needed, based on the trajectory of the virus in the Islands and nationwide.
Currently, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has extended a statewide order for everyone except essential workers to stay home until May 4th. As a result, all businesses except essential businesses in the San Juan Islands are closed.
All Washington State Parks are closed until May 4th and State Parks campgrounds will remain closed until May 4th as well.
San Juan County Parks and the San Juan Island National Historical Park currently remain open with restrooms closed in most instances. Camping at County Parks is closed through April 30, with an extension possible.
There will be no overnight transient moorage at marinas allowed in the islands at least until April 30. Visiting boaters at anchor or on mooring buoys are not following the Governor’s orders to avoid unnecessary travel and are requested to stay aboard.
Restaurants remain open for take-out orders, grab-and-go, and delivery only. Grocery stores and pharmacies and a few other essential businesses also remain open. We regret the impact these closures are having on our local businesses and economy.
We urge all travelers and community members to stay at home and take protective measures against COVID-19, including frequently washing your hands, avoiding touching your mouth, nose, and eyes, and avoiding close contact with those who are sick. Also, if ferry travel is essential, please stay in your car during the passage. Walk-ons should practice social distancing. If a trip to the mainland is vital, San Juan County officials ask islanders to self-impose a 14-day quarantine after return, no matter the length of trip, to ensure COVID-19 containment.These, among other community mitigation efforts, are considered the quickest and most effective means of containing COVID-19 transmissions.
Please find additional guidelines, case count, and local information about COVID-19 on the San Juan County website, HERE.
The Visitors Bureau will encourage travel to the San Juan Islands in support of our small businesses when it is safe to do so once again. In the meantime, you can support businesses by buying gift cards or certificates for future travel or purchase of island-made items, visit our San Juans Strong webpage.
We will continue to monitor the situation as we work together with town and county officials to protect the people and places we love.
We wish everyone health and wellness.
San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau Staff and Board