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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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The boss of luxury rental properties, Tamarind Hills, says the west coast villas will be ready to meet Covid-19 inspections.

Hotels and resorts across Antigua and Barbuda have been busy implementing safety measures to minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission as they prepare to welcome guests back when the country’s borders reopen in a few days’ time.

Tamarind Hills’ CEO Rufus Gobat made the announcement during a tour of the third phase of the development which was originally set for a soft opening this summer.

Gobat told those present that the property, adjacent to Darkwood Beach, will be 100 percent ready once the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health set a date for inspection.

All properties must be inspected by a team of officials from the two ministries before they can officially reopen for business.

Phase three of Tamarind Hills consists of 43 one- and two-bedroom suites and will also feature a Caribbean bar and grill, new reception area and gym.

Initially, bosses will be tailoring some of their marketing efforts to attract local clientele with special staycation deals. The residences include six villas and four townhouses, as well as two- to five-room apartments. All of these are located on ocean or beachfronts with access to private pools.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Charles Fernandez said he was pleased with the development’s progress despite the impact of Covid-19.

“I welcome it as a great addition to the country’s tourism product going into a very crucial 2020/2021 season,” he said.

Deputy General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union, Chester Hughes, was also a member of the team which toured the hotel property.

The country’s tourism industry has been crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen regional and international airlines grounded, cruise ships confined to home ports, and hotels and resorts closed.

To date, several ideas have been discussed to keep tourists and staff safe when the sector reopens, including providing guests with face masks and disinfectant kits in their rooms, and socially-distanced dining.

Discussions have also been held with a view to scheduling activities at different times of the week so that all guests can participate.

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