A couple chooses to ride out COVID-19 in The Bahamas

Roberta Garzaroli and her husband Mikal Scott came to The Bahamas for a quick five-day trip, but it was a no-brainer for them to choose to stay, as the COVID-19 pandemic erupted globally. The couple that resides in New York has now been on-island for 16 days.

When Garzaroli and her spouse compared options for self-isolation and quarantine, she said they preferred to do so at Graycliff Restaurant and Hotel, her childhood home, rather than their one-bedroom apartment in downtown Manhattan.

“We chose to postpone [our return home], and chose to stay at the sprawling Graycliff Hotel where we have space to roam and social distance, rather than a one-bedroom apartment in New York,” said Garzaroli, whose family owns the Gracyliff Restaurant and Hotel.

“When we left [New York], there was like three or four cases and now there’s thousands, so we’re very happy to have decided to come here. All of our friends are stuck in their apartments and they’re like ‘we should have come with you’ because now they’re all stuck inside. They’re jealous that we have a little more space to roam than they do, being that Graycliff is such a big place.”

Garzaroli anticipates hunkering down at Graycliff for at least for another month.

While the Lynden Pindling International Airport is closed to all incoming commercial passengers, Garzaroli and her husband could have taken advantage of an option which allows empty planes to come into the country to pick up passengers and leave. They nixed that idea.

“We could have gone back, but we chose to cancel our flight.”

The Bahamas has 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Sunday.

New York reported 59,513 positive cases, of which 33,768 alone were recorded in New York City, as of Sunday.

Worldwide, the confirmed cases soared to 713,171, with 33,597 deaths.

Garzaroli was also pleased with the decisive action of the Bahamian government in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus in The Bahamas.

The country is currently under a 24-hour curfew, which came into effect on Tuesday, March 24. The order currently extends to April 8. An emergency was declared on March 17.

“The orders here came much quicker. The Governor of New York was trying not to do 24 hours like we did here and they took a lot longer and I think they should have done it sooner and maybe, who knows … New York being so densely populated on such a small square footage so to speak,” said Garzaroli.

“Hopefully, people [in The Bahamas] will adhere to the curfew to social distancing, and we won’t have such a big explosion.”

Garzaroli encouraged people to take advantage of the fact that they’re here as opposed to being surrounded by many people who may have it.

“Go outside when you can. Adhere to the rules. And make sure you stay healthy and keep your distance. Make sure that the people around you follow the same rules, and if they don’t, tell them to get out.”

While safely ensconced at Graycliff, it’s not been a vacation for Garzaroli, president of Atrebor Group, a public relations agency, as she continues to consult with clients from home. She’s also been roped into assisting with the family business, ensuring that everything runs smoothly, as for the first time in the 46-year history of the starred Graycliff, they’ve officially introduced a takeout menu.

And at the end of the day, after she and her husband have had dinner, she said they play cards to kill time.


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