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Sandals Emerald Bay to close following US flight ban

Sandals Emerald Bay on Great Exuma will be closing its doors on Wednesday, three weeks after reopening and welcoming guests for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guardian Business understands the closure is a result of Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ recent announcement that commercial flights from the United States carrying passengers would not be permitted to enter the country.

The United States is the resort’s primary market for guests.

Member of Parliament for the Exumas and Ragged Island Chester Cooper yesterday said the closure dims the glimmer of hope residents on the island had following months of lockdown and little economic activity.

“I am disappointed and concerned to learn that Sandals Emerald Bay will once again close due to the cessation of commercial flights from the United States. Exumians were once again experiencing a glimmer of hope after suffering much over the past four months,” he said in a statement.

“The government must put in place an effective system of testing, contact tracing and better border control protocols to ensure that the country’s borders can reopen and we can adjust to the “new normal”. Meantime, Team Cooper remains committed to assisting those in need as much as we possibly can. My prayers and my heart remain with Exuma.”

While Sandals Royal Bahamian on New Providence delayed its reopening to November 1, the hotel chain opened Emerald Bay on July 2.

At last report, Sandals Emerald Bay employed in excess of 400 employees.

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