Atlantis Paradise Island has made the decision to delay its opening until the end of July, citing the spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in several states across the U.S., including Florida, the closest state to The Bahamas, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis revealed in the House of Assembly yesterday.
“Atlantis informed me that as a result of what’s happening in the United States, they have decided that it would probably be best that they delay their opening until the 30th of July,” Minnis said.
Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar told The Nassau Guardian yesterday that Atlantis has decided that there is too much uncertainty in the market surrounding COVID-19, The Bahamas’ testing requirements and the United States’ interstate travel restrictions.
D’Aguilar noted, though, that the resort property has confirmed strong bookings for August.
“They have decided that there is just too much uncertainty in the market right now with us requiring the COVID-19 test come the first of July, with us reducing the validity of that test from ten days to seven days, with there being travel restrictions between the state of Florida and other states,” he said.
“They just want there to be a little more of a settling process in place before they open on July 30. The good news, however, is they feel they have robust bookings in place for August and I think they just want to give their potential customers a chance to absorb these new requirements and ensure that they are fully prepared to make the journey when July comes.
“It is a very fluid situation and as developments occur in our core market, the United States, the market from which 82 percent of our foreign visitors come; and when you look at the United States, Florida is the number one state from which we receive foreign visitors and Texas is number three and we all know what’s happening in those states, with the rapid growth of positive COVID-19 cases. So, everybody is a little unsettled.”
D’Aguilar said Atlantis has decided to slow its phased opening by beginning with its marina and some restaurants.
The Bahamas changed course on its requirements for visitors, insisting now that anyone coming into The Bahamas must present a negative COVID-19 molecular swab test.
Two weeks ago, Atlantis announced that it worked with Cleveland Clinic to develop “the next level of global hospitality cleanliness standards, operational norms and behaviors” for the resort, in order to begin its phase one opening on July 7.
Atlantis’ President and Managing Director Audrey Oswell said the company committed to working with global health experts to ensure the resort is a safe and healthy environment, as the world continues to battle COVID-19 and economies begin opening up after months of being shut down.