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Tourism and Health Ministries to collaborate on the establishment of protocols to guide tourism industry operations going forward

27th April, 2020

From L to R His Excellency Brian Gonsalves, Sandals GM Matthew Cornwall and Hon. Charles Fernandez

Tourism and Health officials will meet in the forthcoming week to discuss protocols which will be implemented by industry stakeholders to guide their operations upon resumption of business.

“The idea is safety for all the people, the employees and the guests as well, hence the reason why we are collaborating to ensure that every best practice possible to prevent any spread of Covid-19 is instituted.” said Minister Fernandez.

Gardeners on the job at Sandals

The Hon. Minister continued that “hopefully the government will relax the aspect of access to the beach as that is a very important part of our product offering and in this time a lot of our visitors will be coming to enjoy the sea and sun which may be deemed as necessary and therapeutic to fight the scourge of Covid-19.”

Minister Fernandez met last week with members of the Antigua and Barbuda Hotels and Tourist Association to discuss the state of the industry and the way forward amid the current Covid-19 crisis.

Today (Sat), the Minister of Tourism was treated to a swift tour of the Sandals Resort to see first-hand the status of the property which has kept some employees on staff to see to its daily maintenance, security and upkeep.

According to General Manager Matthew Cornwall, the property is still in pristine state. The gardens are well kept, the pools and spas are cleaned and disinfected regularly even with no guests on property. Rooms are aired or humidified at regular intervals as well.

Well kept pool and sauna

Ambassador at Large, His Excellency Brian Gonsalves who was present at the tour, stated that the resort is in a state of readiness as the Owner and CEO of Sandals Antigua, Mr. Gordon Butch Stuart, has indicated that in the very near future he will be commencing a timed re-opening of his regional hotel chain, with Antigua earmarked to be in the first 5 properties to be commence operations.

A few changes will be made such as social-distanced dining, prerequisite elevator-use hand sanitizing and the use of masks by employees and guests.

Staff at Sandals Resort and Spa are engaged in continuous training to operate efficiently in a state of Covid-19 alertness.

Minister Fernandez was fully appreciative and enthused about the developments at the resort saying that all industry partners should operate under the new paradigm and implement measures to ensure economic viability while maintaining optimal health and safety.