The Bahamas’ Atlantis mega-resort is aiming to reopen before the end of 2020, utilizing a COVID-19-free “bubble” under the “vacation in place” protocol outlined earlier by the country’s tourism minister.
The plans emerged from notes of a meeting with Audrey Oswell, Atlantis’ president and managing director, and senior management executives which were leaked to the Bahamas Tribune.
Officials at the mega-resort, The Bahamas’ largest private-sector employer, have not settled on a precise reopening date but present plans call for a re-launch before the end of 2020, according to the Tribune report. The Atlantis website is currently accepting reservations beginning December 1, 2020.
“We do not have an opening date announcement as of [to] the exact date but it will be before the end of the year,” the notes read.
The notes, continue, “We will open in phases with limited portions of the entire resort to re-open in phase one. As business demands grow, we will open more and more resort offerings and bring employees back to work.”
Atlantis officials continue to work under a phased re-opening strategy introduced during numerous failed attempts to reopen during this summer, Oswell said in the Tribune report.
Some employees will not return to work for the re-opening and the resort’s facilities will also be initially limited. Staff increases and a wider availability of resort amenities and facilities will depend on “booking volumes and occupancy levels,” according to the report.
Oswell said Atlantis officials will not consider any of its 8,000 employees “redundant” until the company has assessed the “strength and timing” of a potential tourism rebound. Under Atlantis’ plan, returning staff will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing during the first four to six weeks post-reopening, she said.
The Bahamas’ vacation-in-place model was introduced earlier this month by Dionisio D’Aguilar, minister of tourism and aviation, who announced a November 1 tourism restart would include the elimination of the territory’s mandatory 14-day visitor quarantine.
Oswell said limiting guests to the resort’s grounds will likely “annoy taxi drivers, straw vendors and outside retailers [and] restaurants that heavily depend on the Paradise Island resort’s visitors.”
Nevertheless, the strategy is aimed at protecting Atlantis’ guests and workforce from COVID-19, according to the report. Visitors would receive rapid COVID-19 antigen tests on both the fifth and ninth days of their vacation; guests will be required to cover the costs associated with their tests, Oswell said.
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