By Kadeem Joseph
Sun-seekers desperate to soak up a bit of the taste of paradise Antigua and Barbuda has to offer will have to be fully vaccinated if they plan to stay at one of the country’s largest luxury resorts.
Vice President of Operations for the Galley Bay Resort, Alex de Brito, said the property announced on Thursday that, as of September 1, all of the guests hoping to stay at the hotel will have to be vaccinated.
“It’s to show you our commitment,” he said. “We know that it is important for the future.”
The hospitality official explained that while the summer months have been good for properties here, with Antigua and Barbuda recording record arrivals for July, those properties must also consider the approaching winter months.
“Everybody is really happy with the month of July and I understand it is really a [breath] of fresh air in these times, but you know if we are not careful, we can have a pretty bad winter – and winter, as you know, is our high season,” he stated further.
Word of the move comes amid Information Minister Melford Nicholas also announcing that there are Covid-19 clusters at two additional resorts on island — Sandals Grande Antigua, and possibly another located in Valley Road.
De Brito said while he believes Galley Bay’s announcement may deter some guests from choosing the resort, he believes it will be ultimately beneficial.
“I believe that there are some people who may change their dates or decide not to come to my hotel… but I also believe that it will show to a lot of my future guests that they will be safe coming here and, of course, if they want to change their dates or they don’t have enough time to take the vaccine we will be willing to move the booking for the future,” he explained.
He said with the emergence of new variants and vaccination efforts still ongoing globally, there is “still a lot to do” to bring an end to the pandemic.
De Brito added that with people coming to stay at the hotel from various parts of the world and with employees from all across the country, the property has to remain “very careful” and continue to work and learn from the experience of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
While Observer has been unable to ascertain how many other properties may be considering the same approach, Galley Bay’s bold decision may be an indication of things to come for other resorts across the country.