Business

British Colonial Hilton remaining closed ‘until further notice’

The British Colonial Hilton is being added to the list of hotels throughout the country extending their reopening beyond the government’s October 15 allowance for the reopening of hotels nationwide.

In a letter to team members released on Friday, General Manager of British Colonial Hilton Pablo Casal said while the hotel executives were hoping to resume operations next month, the property will remain closed “until further notice”.

“Reference is made to our letter dated July 28, 2020 advising that due to the current unprecedented situation facing us and the substantial impact of the novel coronavirus and related governmental actions on our business, we made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend our operations effective August 1, 2020 until further notice,” the letter states.

“We were hoping to resume our operations in October but unfortunately this is not the case. We continue to see an increase and wide spread of the virus with no flattening of the curve right now. As a result, we are now faced to further extend the temporary suspension of our operations effective October 1, 2020 until further notice.”

British Colonial was one of few hotel properties that remained open during the initial four-month lockdown period before tourism reopened for the first time in July, maintaining occupancy of eight percent and skeleton staff.

Sources told Guardian Business in July that the determination to close later that month was the result of the new 14-day quarantine requirement for residents and visitors entering the country, which led the resort to believe it would no longer have any guests.

Approximately 250 staff members will remain furloughed.

Casal reminded staff to take advantage of the government’s Unemployment Benefit Extension Programme, which was launched in July, while the property considers other avenues to assist staff.

“We know that the past months have not been easy and living with all the uncertainties is difficult. We continue to assure you that we are considering all possible measures to assist during these unforeseen times,” the letter states.

It adds, “The British Colonial Hilton continues with many ongoing initiatives and measures to ensure the financial stability of the company. In the interim, we encourage you to stay as safe as possible as we go through these uncertain times.”

Last week, Club Med Columbus Isle announced it would remain closed until December 2021, while Sandals Royal Bahamian announced it was targeting the end of January 2021 for its reopening and November 1 for the reopening of its Emerald Bay property on Exuma.

The two largest resorts in the country, Atlantis and Baha Mar, have extended closures without providing a reopening date.

The government has said the restart of the tourism sector by November is critical to the economic stability of the country as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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