March 28, 2002 – The Christian observance of Good Friday is not a federal holiday, but it continues to hold its traditional importance in the Virgin Islands, as does the five-day holiday weekend from Maundy Thursday through Easter Monday.
Although many businesses do not observe the three days of the local government and school holiday, most banks and some other private-sector establishments will be closed on Friday.
Here are some specifics:
Post offices: Although Good Friday is not on the list of U.S. Postal Service holidays, post offices in the territory will be closed, Postmaster Louis A. Jackson said. Express Mail will be delivered, but there will be no lobby service. The Good Friday closing, according to a release from Jackson, "is one of the Virgin Islands' budgeted holidays."
No information could be found on the USPS web site regarding budgeted or locally observed holidays, and Good Friday is not on the USPS list of holidays.
Schools: All public schools are closed Thursday, Friday and Monday. Private schools are keeping various holidays, from Friday only to a combination with spring break resulting in more than a week off.
V.I. government offices: As is traditional, government offices are closed, and all but essential employees are off for Thursday, Friday and Monday.
Federal government offices: U.S. District Court on St. Thomas and St. Croix will be closed Friday, but both federal buildings where they are housed will be open; federal agency offices may be open or closed, and anyone having business with such an office is advised to telephone ahead to confirm hours of business. The offices of Delegate Donna Christian Christensen will be closed Thursday, Friday and Monday.
V.I. National Park: The park and its Visitor Center on St. John will be open straight through the weekend as usual. (The National Park Service guided Reef Bay trail hike on Good Friday still had openings for participants as of Thursday. To sign up, call the park office at 776-6201.)
Banks: Banco Popular, Bank of Nova Scotia and Chase Bank all will close for Good Friday. The branches of those banks that are customarily keep Saturday hours will do so as usual this weekend. Attempts to contact other banks for information couldn't reach live people.
Major retail establishments: Pueblo supermarkets on both St. Thomas and St. Croix will be closed on Good Friday but open on Easter Sunday. K-mart and Plaza Extra on both islands will keep regular hours throughout the weekend. Starfish Market on St. John will be open as usual.
Bars: There traditionally has been a ban on serving distilled liquor in public establishments for certain hours on Good Friday. Also traditionally, there has been controversy about the definition of "distilled liquor." The decision may be made for you by the establishment you frequent.
A release from Police Commissioner Franz Christian cites the V.I. Code as saying that "Distilled liquor and drinks prepared shall not be served in public places of refreshments between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m." on Good Friday. According to the release, persons violating the restrictions "shall be fined a maximum of $200 and imprisoned not more than one year, or both." This year, authorities provided no explanation as to exactly what the law means.
Houses of worship: Many churches traditionally hold Good Friday services, in the afternoon or after sunset. No announcements were received by the Source of ecumenical or "union" services.
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