A new month-long lockdown for England could have serious negative implications for the country’s already struggling tourism sector says Tourism Minister Charles Max Fernandez.
On Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the decision after being warned that without tough action, a resurgence of the coronavirus outbreak will overwhelm hospitals in weeks.
The new rules, will see both international travel and travel inside the UK banned from November 2.
Fernandez noted that this is happening at a time when hotels were bracing themselves for much needed tourist arrivals.
“It will have a significant effect bearing in mind that the UK is our second most important source market. In addition to that, a number of the hotels in Antigua and Barbuda are reopening.
“It will also mean that a number of persons will be even more skeptical about booking after the second [of December] because there’s a possibility that they may carry the lockdown further than the second [of December],” Fernandez stated
Over the weekend, the UK passed 1 million confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Fernandez said that his ministry is also following developments in other countries and how they will affect Antigua and Barbuda.
In fact, he disclosed that last week, they had a meeting with British Airways officials “looking to chart a way forward to ensure opening up in an even better way…so that visitors are confident in traveling to Antigua.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gaston Browne stated that based on the spike in Covid-19 cases in the US, there could also be a lockdown in certain states including Florida.
“I believe Florida has the third largest prevalence of Covid in the US, and if that happens, it will disrupt the logistics value chain to include possibly food. It is probable that there could be a lockdown in certain states,” he said.
Yet, Browne says there are no plans to shut Antigua and Barbuda’s boarders.
“Antigua and Barbuda has absolutely no intention of closing its borders. We will remain open even if these airlines decide that they cannot fly because of the policies in their home countries,” the PM declared.