Govt flip flops on “dumb” hotel staycation policy
Amid swift backlash, the government has flip flopped on a proposed policy that would have prevented hotels from accepting guests without a negative Covid-19 test.
The policy, that was expected to be included in the ever-changing emergency order, would’ve dealt a devastating blow to the few hotels that are open and targeting locals seeking a “staycation” during the coronavirus pandemic.
The government’s rationale was because hotels are being considered as quarantine sites, a negative covid-19 test would be required.
Local hotels had already begun advertising holiday weekend packages to attract locals seeking a change of scenery during the upcoming three-day lockdown.
Observers pointed out that hotel employees interact with far more people than guests do.
Hotel owners were furious over the move and got a communication from the government today that it would reverse its decision.
The Ministry of Tourism said in a statement,” Following consultation with the Ministry of Health, the Competent Authority has affirmed that a negative COVID-19 RT PCR rest will not be required by Bahamian and resident guests of hotels.”
As a concession, hotels are not allowed to offer indoor dining and must adhere to strict sanitization and social distancing protocols as well as ensure guests wear masks. Police will also be keeping a close eye on hotel properties, according to tourism officials.
Tourism stakeholders and Bahamians are growing weary of the constant changes to emergency orders, which fail to take into consideration the negative impact on businesses and entrepreneurs.