Basseterre, St Kitts – The fallout from the coronavirus continues to rock the hospitality industry in St Kitts and Nevis when scores of employees at the St Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino were “laid off immediately due to loss of business caused by COVID-19,” management said on Friday, March 20.
“We have reviewed our hotel operations and have made a number of cost controlling decisions to ensure the long-term survival of the hotel. Unfortunately, one of the decisions is to reduce our staff level and while this was a very difficult decision, the hotel is unable to support the current staff level with very little business at this time. You will be laid off effective immediately and will be paid all vacation and any other amounts owed to you. We will continuously review the hotel’s operations and we value the contributions and hard work of all our associates,” Managing Director Jacques Hamou said in a letter to affected workers.
Employees of other hotels and tourism-related businesses have also been let go after a sustained downturn in occupancy, rate and revenue as a result of the worldwide pandemic.
Restrictions have also been imposed on some travel. Major cruise ships have suspended their itineraries globally, affecting travel and tourism and other related services.
Dr Terrance Drew, the NextGen SKN candidate for St Christopher 8 of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) last week expressed concern that Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris has failed to inform the nation of the negative impact that COVID-19 will have on the St Kitts and Nevis economy.
In a video address to the nation on Tuesday afternoon, Political Leader of the SKNLP, The Right Hon Dr Denzil L Douglas called for stringent price control on food items to prevent price gouging, the establishment of an unemployment stipend to those who are financially challenged, a stimulus package for businesses, suspension of payments on mortgages and student and other loans, a moratorium on penalties and late fees, a recall of retired nurses and special attention to the elderly and vulnerable groups.
Dr Harris has remained silent on the proposals submitted by former prime minister Douglas.