So far it’s been mostly airlines taking a hit. But now hotels are feeling the heat from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The shutdowns include Saint Lucia’s Body Holiday and Rendezvous resorts, which will close their doors to guests from March 20 through May 31.
Meanwhile, Excellence Resorts will temporarily close Excellence Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic on March 20 due to COVID-19. The company’s decision is “a strategic measure that will optimize our operations through these challenging times, said officials in a statement. The property will re-open on June 5.
Half Moon in Jamaica has announced a temporary closure effective March 18 until May 1, a spokesperson for the Jamaica Tourist Board said.
The Jamaica Gleaner says that plunging arrivals from Canada and the UK have forced at least four hotels and several attraction operators to close.
The paper says the RIU Palace Jamaica, RIU Montego Bay and RIU Negril will cease operating tomorrow (Thursday, March 19), while the three Royalton Negril properties have closed and moved their guests to their Trelawny Resorts, Royalton Blue Waters and Royalton White Sands. They also said the Melia Braco will close.
The Gleaner says Iberostar is expected to close one of its three hotels by the end of the week. The Royal Decameron said it won’t accept any new reservations for stays between March 20 and May 31.
It’s hardly a surprise given the lack of flights from major Canadian and world airlines and the closing of borders around the world. But it’s a blow to Jamaica and Caribbean tourism, and it’s likely we’ll see a lot more of this before things get better.
The Wall Street Journal says Marriott International is starting to furlough what could amount to “tens of thousands of employees,” from housekeepers up to general managers. While the hotels are closed, the employees will not receive paycheques but will continue to receive healthcare benefits—paid for by the hotel owner, a Marriott spokesperson told the paper.
A spokesperson for Hilton, meanwhile, told Hotel Management that the company is implementing various actions to mitigate the damage, including adopting flexible hours, use of paid time off, shorter weeks, job rotations—and, in some cases, furloughs.