Atlantis announced yesterday that it will temporarily close until May 15.
On Saturday, the resort — the largest private employer in The Bahamas — said it will lay off employees for four weeks, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to staff yesterday, Audrey Oswell, the resort’s president and managing director, said, “Our people have and always will be our number one priority. It is your future job security and well-being that we are focused on when making the difficult decisions we are faced with today.
“We have prided ourselves on looking after our Atlantis family from day one and that will not change. We applaud the swift action taken by the government of The Bahamas to control the spread of the disease and implore all of you to comply.
“It is in that vein we have made the socially responsible decision of a temporary closure of the resort. Later today, we will announce the temporary closure of Atlantis effective this afternoon at 3 p.m. through Friday, May 15, 2020, at which time we will assess the situation and make a determination on the reopening of the resort.”
She noted that the resort will have to furlough its employees for “longer” than the four weeks, as previously stated.
Oswell said the resort recognized “the burden this places on everyone”.
As a result, she said, Atlantis is “working on a plan to assist you during this difficult time”.
“After the recent horror of Hurricane Dorian, none of us could have imagined the magnitude of this COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting fallout waiting just around the corner,” Oswell said.
“And now, here it is. Yet, even during these trying times, we know in our hearts that this too shall pass.”
She added, “We have successfully navigated many challenges throughout our history. And, managing COVID-19 will be no different.
“We must continue to believe that things will return to normal. Before you know it, we will be welcoming guests and providing that world-class service we have become so well-known for.”
The resort, which has a staff count of more than 7,000, has not said exactly how many people will be affected by its closure.
However, an Atlantis spokesperson said, “The layoff affects every department. As business levels begin to increase, team members will be called back to work. We have no further comments.”
Major resorts throughout The Bahamas have closed as a result of the falloff in tourists due to the pandemic.
Baha Mar at Cable Beach closed yesterday, until further notice.
Melia has also closed until further notice. The Baha Mar and Melia layoff exercises impact 6,500 workers, The Nassau Guardian understands.
Sandals and Resorts World Bimini have also temporarily suspended operations.
In addition, Riu on Paradise Island announced that it closed on Tuesday until further notice.