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Atlantis' Lights Out Until May 15

The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.

The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.

By Khrisna Russell

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

ATLANTIS’ announcement yesterday that the resort will close until May 15 signals a “rough ride” economically for the country, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar told The Tribune, adding he suspected the extended time frame was due to global uncertainty over COVID-19.

In a letter to workers, Atlantis’ president and managing director Audry Oswell said the resort would close yesterday beginning at 3pm through until mid-May.

At such time, she said the mega resort would assess the situation and make a determination on re-opening.

Recognising the burden this places on every worker, Ms Oswell said officials were working on a plan to assist employees during this difficult time.

The turn of events follows the hotel’s earlier furlough of workers for four weeks as COVID-19 began to wreak havoc on the local tourism sector and disrupted economies around the world.

Given these circumstances, Mr D’Aguilar said he was not surprised by the announcement.

“Tourism is ground to a halt,” he said.

“The next question is not only do you have to estimate how long this virus is going to grip the United States, causing everyone to stay in place. Here it is March 25, I guess they are probably assuming based on what is being said at this time that the US, especially the eastern seaboard, is in the midst of a surge, and we haven’t peaked yet.

VIDEO

Nassau in shutdown

“I guess they assume there are a couple of weeks left still with it. So I presume that they are pulling the trigger for seven weeks estimating that there is evidence available now that this could possibly run four to five weeks optimistically and then people then have to consider once again if and when they would be going on vacation.

“There is a lot of uncertainty out there, which is causing people to be uncertain.

“Even if they get a handle on this, there will be a while before a cure for people to again be comfortable with moving around.

“This will be bumpy and we’re in for a rough ride.”

In a separate letter to guests posted on Atlantis’ website, Ms Oswell further addressed concerns about reservations.

She wrote: “… We are navigating this current situation minute-by-minute, day-by-day, adjusting as we learn more. One thing remains constant: nothing matters more than the health, safety and well-being of our team members, guests and communities. For those of us who find purpose and passion in bringing people together, we must confront the reality that togetherness may be a threat to the health and safety of our community and loved ones at this time.

“With this in mind, we have made the decision to temporarily close Atlantis Paradise Island from Wednesday, March 25, 2020 through Friday, May 15, 2020, at which time we will assess whether or not it is safe to re-open. Please continue to visit our website or stay connected to us on social media for the latest updates.

“We understand that this will be a hard time for everyone in our Atlantis family, but we believe it is unequivocally the necessary and responsible action to keep everyone safe. As Aristotle once said, ‘Even calamities have a soul and can teach us a wise life.’

“During this stressful time,” Ms Oswell continued, “we want to alleviate any additional worry you might have about your upcoming reservation. Our dedicated team of reservation agents will be reaching out to you personally to assist you with refunds, credit vouchers or rescheduling your planned vacation. This way you can spend less time reaching us and more time with your loved ones.”

She said the resort planned to use the temporary closure to make improvements to the hotel in time to welcome guests back.

“In 1998 the ‘Lost City of Atlantis’ magically soared from the sea on an island called Paradise. I assure you Atlantis will ascend again,” Ms Oswell said.

Comments

mandela 2 days, 18 hours ago

Yes, this is going to be a rough time for the Bahamas, may GOD ALMIGHTY lay his hands on us, bless and give us faith, patients and his love to see us thru this most difficult time. Also GOD ALMIGHTY find a way to stop China from eating, handling, filthy disgusting unknown wild animals that has caused not only this pandemic but every pandemic of late. (bird-flu, SARS)etc. To GOD be the glory.

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joeblow 2 days, 18 hours ago

...God has been blessing us. That is why a person with virtually no education can get a job in a hotel making $500 weekly. The problem is the vast majority our people are consumers, not savers, planners or investors! Most people live paycheck to paycheck. This is a time for people to learn greater fiscal responsibility!

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truetruebahamian 2 days, 18 hours ago

And keep red chinese, americans and dominicans completely away from our fishing grounds and industry - which should be for Bahamians only.

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banker 2 days, 16 hours ago

The best, most positive estimates for the "return-to-normal" is the July timeframe.

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Entrepreneur 2 days, 15 hours ago

If you look at the data thus far in the US, some states have proportionally very few cases. Look at the real data not some of the media reports, in that what are the % of cases in certain states? Then look at the data on what % of people who have the virus actually have serious illness rather than just mild, few or no symptoms. https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/03/health...">https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/03/health...

If we look at states that are not hot spots like NY, CA - and take Texas, with a population of 28.3 million. According to the aforementioned link, they have 974 cases, which is 0.0034%. And remember that is just cases, not deaths - and remember a significant % of cases may have no symptoms or very few. It will be very interesting to see if Texas and other states get to e.g. 0.1% infection rate, which would be a 30 fold increase for Texas. 0.1% in Nassau (assuming population of 270,000) would be 270 infections. 0.01% would be 27 infections. And the current infection rate in Texas applied to Nassau would be 9.3 cases.

Think about it... If hygiene measure and social distancing works, this may well be far from apocalyptic. Then think about that in regards to Tourism here? There are options... Open up in a few weeks to those with a negative test, or an antibody test showing they beat it and are no longer infectious?

Of course, it could be much, much higher percentages already have it, but no symptoms or already beat it. The herd immunity angle...

Closing till May 15? Maybe sound, but surely move in smaller increments would be better for the Bahamian economy while not jeopardizing health, and allow decisions to be made on the emergence of better and increasingly up to date data.

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