Atlantis Resort and Casino is asking its employees to use their earned vacation days or take unpaid leave due to the novel coronavirus.
“In this current climate where COVID-19 is impacting everyone globally, it is no different for us,” Human Resources Senior Vice President Karen Carey said in a letter to employees yesterday.
“[W]hile our efforts continue and we work on this together, it is now essential and important for us to make changes and take further steps to help us all manage through this as situations evolve. To this end, we are asking team members to take earned vacation days or volunteer to take two weeks’ unpaid leave of absence effective immediately.”
Carey added, “We want you to feel absolutely confident that we are doing our best to shoulder the burden of our operations to secure our future and to lessen the burden that this situation imposes on you.”
Ed Fields, a consultant with Atlantis, said it’s too early to tell how many employees will be impacted by this new policy, as Atlantis is still awaiting the final number of volunteers.
A spokesperson for the resort said the move is standard practice.
“Asking team members to take voluntary time off or vacation is standard practice when occupancy dips below 60 percent as it has for the next two weeks,” the spokesperson said.
“What’s unusual is that this normally occurs in September and October, never during the height of our season.”
The spokesperson added: “In times like this, in order to protect the long term interests of the organization and, ultimately, its team members, short term decisions, as difficult as they are, have to be made.”
The resort’s effort came one day after the Ministry of Health confirmed that a 61-year-old woman on New Providence with no recent travel history has COVID-19, the first case in the country.
The virus, which can cause pneumonia, originated in Wuhan, China, late last year.
Since then, it has spread to all continents except Antarctica.
As of yesterday, there were over 175,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 110 countries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
At least 6,700 people have died from the virus globally.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic last week. Shortly after, it announced that the epicenter of the pandemic is now Europe.
With widespread fear and travel bans being implemented across the globe, the tourism industry is expected to be among the hardest hit amid the spread of the virus.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced in a national address that foreigners who have been in the UK or Europe in the past 20 days, will not be allowed entry into The Bahamas. Bahamians who have recently visited the region will face quarantine upon entering The Bahamas.
There are over 3,800 confirmed cases in the United States and 68 deaths.