By Orville Williams
Sandals Grande Antigua has seemingly responded to recent controversy surrounding their apparent rules on the wearing of facemasks, by enforcing mask protocol in public spaces on the property as hotel policy.
This was the word from industrial relations consultant, Anderson Carty, who has been representing the interests of some staff members, since the matter was first made public.
Just over two weeks ago, Carty sent a letter to the resort’s management, expressing the concerns raised by some workers regarding the resort’s mask-wearing policy. The staff, he said, was uncomfortable with the lack of mandatory protocols for guests to wear masks.
Speaking to Observer yesterday, he confirmed this, saying: “It was correct that management had given [a] directive to the staff, not to interfere with the guests who are not wearing masks around the property.”
That stance has seemingly changed, as Carty further explained.
“My understanding is things have gone back to normal in respect of the guests being required to wear masks. I had called the chief health inspector around the time the issue surfaced and she had given a commitment to contact Sandals to see what was happening.
“It is my understanding that the guests are now required – by the hotel’s policy – to wear their masks, apart from if they’re at the beach or at the bars or in the restaurants, which would not be practical to do,” Carty explained.
It is not clear exactly when the policy was adjusted and efforts to reach Sandals management were unsuccessful up to press time.
Carty also expressed disappointment with comments from the Deputy General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU), Chester Hughes, who he suggested chose the wrong side in the matter.
“I was very disappointed that, after I made the matter public, Mr Chester Hughes spoke out in favour of the employer, when it was clearly not true. It seems he did not meet with the employees to verify the report,” Carty said.
Meanwhile, Carty is expecting to have a meeting later today with the management of Sandals, regarding a senior employee who was allegedly suspended for comments on the mask-wearing policy, as well as questions regarding the provision of more durable masks for resort staff.
Carty added that although the employee has been suspended, that person has still been receiving a salary. The situation, he added, will be assessed during the meeting.
By Orville Williams