Independent hotels in the Caribbean have been trying to navigate a way through the coronavirus crisis, by keeping staff employed somehow and maintaining interest with possible future guests.
Kyle Mais, the general manager at Jamaica Inn, said he was trying to give staff the opportunity to work in other essential departments such as hotel maintenance to supplement wages during closure.
“We are working assiduously to ensure our team members are not displaced,” he said.
“During this period of closure, team members are currently being placed on rotation and utilising their vacation leave. Due to the fact that the majority of our team members have been loyally employed for upwards of 15 years, they do have many weeks’ vacation at their disposal, which is very helpful during this time.
“We are also taking the opportunity to conduct our annual maintenance and refurbishing projects, so this has allowed us to keep quite a few team members very busy.”
Meanwhile, some of the hotel’s towels, bed linens and other soft furnishings have been donated to the Jamaica Hotel Tourism Association, which is issuing them to infirmaries and Covid-19 care centres in local communities.
Perishable items and goods such as fruits and vegetables have been offered to staff at reduced prices.
Meanwhile, the hotel’s dog, Shadow, has been enjoying having the resort to herself and has become something of a movie star, with the paddle-boarding pooch playing a leading role in live webcasts the hotel has instigated under closure, to try to keep interest alive for the hotel.
The hotel’s chef is also still there doing live cooking demonstrations on the beach, while yoga classes are also being streamed.
While closed, the hotel is also focusing on its initiatives such as the White River Fish Sanctuary, a marine association established to protect the island’s coral and fish.
One upside of the crisis? Empty beaches and fewer boats on the water are making for an excellent opportunity to accelerate regrowth of coral reefs; dolphins have even now been spotted on the sanctuary boundary.