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BAHA MAR-VELLOUS: Unions welcome resort reopening Dec 17 with 1,500 staff due to return

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net 

MEGA resort Baha Mar has announced its reopening in December, which was hailed by a hotel union official as a “good signal” for the tourism industry.

Darrin Woods, president of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union, added that he hopes the move will help “create a domino effect” causing other hotels across the country to follow suit.

Mr Woods’ comments came hours after the Cable Beach resort, in a press statement released yesterday, revealed it will begin its phased reopening starting December 17, allowing for “over 1,500 associates” to return to work in the first phase.

Resort officials said the phased reopening strategy will begin with the resumption of operations at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, followed by Rosewood Baha Mar and then SLS Baha Mar.

Strict protocols inclusive of enhanced safety and health measures will facilitate this reopening to ensure the safety of both staff and guests, officials added.

“Ensuring safety, health and well-being is our number one priority, and we have built upon the natural strengths and intimate experiences of the resort destination to reintroduce signature and new guest offerings,” said Baha Mar’s president, Graeme Davis.

Baha Mar’s announcement comes nearly a week after Atlantis confirmed that its phased reopening will take place this year, with its “first guests” expected to return to the Paradise Island property before year-end 2020.

Atlantis’ president and managing director, Audrey Oswell said last month that further details will be provided shortly on “the milestones Atlantis needs to achieve to bring” its operations back on line.

Yesterday, Mr Woods hailed Baha Mar’s decision to resume operations next month, touting it as a step in the right direction.

He told The Tribune yesterday that even though the union does not represent the resort’s workers, officials still see the move as a good signal as they believe it will send a message to the travelling public that the Bahamas is open for business—sparking tourists’ interest.

“For 2020, we have taken a beating – the industry and the workers in general, but we know that this will not salvage the tourism year anymore because it’s only one more month in the year but if you could get it open, it’s good,” he said.

“… So I believe it’s a good signal because what it does too is it also gives some employees some hope and some light at the end of the tunnel like ‘hey I’m going back to work’ though it may be phased,” he said.

With major resorts already making plans to reopen, Mr Woods said the union is hoping other properties will follow with similar plans, allowing for furloughed tourism workers to soon return to work.

However, the union president said he knows the matter would also depend on tourist demand.

“None of the other properties have indicated when they’re going to reopen,” he told this newspaper. “But we’ve always said if the major hotels begin to open that would send a strong signal to the travelling public that the Bahamas is open for business and we’re here to accept you and then the other hotels will do the same thing.

“The thing is a lot of them feed off the major hotels and we know that there won’t be a rush or ramp up because if you’re familiar with the hospitality industry, around Christmas it’s slow in any event but right after Christmas is when people start to travel.

“But now we need to see the effects of COVID and how people rebound from it because these are the same persons who also maybe unemployed so there’s a lot of mitigating factors and things that have to go into the mix to see what is going to happen and I believe the reason you would see them to put out dates to kind of test the market to see what the appetite of the travelling public is.”

Still, the union president said he is hoping for the best. And, as more hotels begin to reopen, Mr Woods reminded hotel workers to follow all protocols implemented to safeguard their safety against the COVID-19 threat.

“We believe that whatever protocols are put in place, we’re admonishing our people to follow to make sure that there is not a community spread or workplace spread because if you notice a lot of agencies and places, they were saying the spread is in the workplace so if you get that workplace spread then it goes back into the community… So, we want the employees to be safe and do whatever is necessary because we don’t want them walking around and spreading amongst themselves.”

Baha Mar will reopen at a maximum of 60 percent capacity, the resort said.

Guests will be required to take a complimentary antigen test during the check-in process at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.

All Baha Mar associates will be tested prior to returning to work and on a weekly basis to maintain the resort’s commitment to health and safety, the resort said.

In this first phase, Baha Mar will be open to resort guests exclusively, “creating an environment that is believed to enable Baha Mar to operate as safely as possible with a view to fully reopen as soon as possible,” according to a press release.

To ensure confidence in booking future stays during this time, Baha Mar has introduced a flexible cancellation policy, allowing for trip cancellations up to 24 hours before guests’ arrival.

In celebration of Baha Mar’s return, the resort destination is introducing a “Spectacular Awaits” offer. Guests booking three nights stays will receive the fourth night free, the resort said.

Comments

tribanon 1 year, 9 months ago

But there will be very few tourists coming our way from the US under a Communist China friendly Biden presidency. Meanwhile the very sinister and evil Chinese Communist Party is looking forward to cementing its hold on The Bahamas with Minnis as the self-proclaimed dictator of our new police state.

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KapunkleUp 1 year, 9 months ago

The fact that you can complain in an open forum kinda negates your claim of a 'police state'.

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tribanon 1 year, 9 months ago

Are you kidding?! What's your reason for keeping your name to yourself while you're still able to live in the Bahamas and post comments critical of our most (in)competent authority to websites like this one? LOL

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GodSpeed 1 year, 9 months ago

lol "open forum" they can delete comments anytime they want and they have already deleted a number of mines. When the time comes you won't be able to say anything.

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rdonaldson 1 year, 9 months ago

Thats a real stupid remark! Biden is no more Communist than you are!

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GodSpeed 1 year, 9 months ago

Biden is a corrupt politician that is totally compromised by China, his crackhead son was business partners with China's Spy Chief while Biden was VP and they are in China's pocket. China has much content to blackmail them with and the fake news media in the US refused to report on it. He's the Manchurian President and once the Dems steal the election America is finished.

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rdonaldson 1 year, 9 months ago

Thats a really stupid comment! Biden is no more Communist that you are!

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TalRussell 1 year, 9 months ago

From em's latest utterings do looks like Dioniso James has pulled yet another of his unfriending switcharoos of his once so idolised former boss man's Comrade Izzy who's still out pocket his$800 millions dumped at Cable Beach. Shakehead once for Yeah any wonder em's too is on list Mr. Minnis's, can't dare to trust a ScrubWashBoards** man's comes to his $29 millions wealth's, pledge loyalty, Twice for Not?

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moncurcool 1 year, 9 months ago

Who cares about what these lazy, good for nothing, parasitic union leaders have to say, who have done nothing to help the people they represent in giving back to them during this pandemic.

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 9 months ago

The competent authority will he be lifting the 8: Pm to 5 am law. or will persons working at the hotel be given a pass as essential workers.?

The competent authority does not want to give up his authority.

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