Galley Bay fights to keep hundreds employed

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By Elesha George

By [email protected]

Galley Bay Resort is trying to beat the odds by keeping 200 employees on staff, even while occupancy rates at hotels across Antigua continue to plummet.

“We don’t have any plans to close… we’re just trying to go as long as we can,” Alex de Brito, the resort’s general manager, told Observer.

Since the coronavirus – Covid19 – began to affect global travel, tourist accommodations, excursions and cruise businesses in Antigua and Barbuda have been shutting down and hotels have begun to lay off staff.

This week, de Brito said Galley Bay started reducing staff hours and lessening their working days, but noted that up until Friday morning, they still welcomed guests from the United Kingdom and the United States.

“We have a commitment and we try. I’m not saying that that will never happen but the fact is we were very lucky to have very high occupancy, so even if we had cancellations we’re still running,” he said.

The majority of the resort’s guests however, also come from Italy whose travellers are being denied entry into Antigua and Barbuda, and from Canada, which has since closed its borders.

“There are a lot of empty seats every day now,” the manager remarked, as he lamented how drastically life has changed because of Covid-19.

“I think we’re trying our best in a situation where every day something is new and different. We sometimes spend the day organising for the next week, we go to bed and when we wake up in the morning, there’s something new and you need to change everything again,” he explained.

One thing which remains constant for the hotel is the need for a sterile environment and so bosses have increased their supply of essential products like sanitisers and disinfectants.

De Brito said the resort has also been following the government’s lead by making use of lands to produce crops and trying to incentivise agriculture in the country.

“The only thing we can do is hope for the best and get organised for the worst,” he said, still hoping that the government won’t need to take further drastic measures that could bring the economy to its knees.

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