NEW YORK — Effective Sept. 1, 2021 Elite Island Resorts’ nine properties in the Caribbean and Central America will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination upon arrival for all guests over the age of 12.
The company represents five resorts in Antigua (Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Hammock Cove, St. James’s Club & Villas, Pineapple Beach Club and The Verandah Resort), plus St. James’s Club Morgan Bay in St. Lucia, The Club Barbados, Palm Island in The Grenadines and Los Establos Boutique Inn, Panama.
Elite Island Resorts founder and CEO Robert A. Barrett says mandating vaccines “was the wisest option in protecting the critical tourism industry of these beloved destinations.”
Here is Barrett’s statement in full:
“With hospitality at the core of what we do, compassion lives deep within our souls, so it has always been our duty to protect the health and safety of our guests and our employees, first and foremost.
“Further, we have a commitment to our communities and the destinations in which we operate. Current science tells us that if you’re vaccinated, you are less likely to become seriously ill, or end up taking up a hospital bed in a fragile medical environment such as the Caribbean where local resources cannot afford to be overburdened. It’s imperative for us to protect the hospitals of these smaller island nations, and while they have had a good track record so far with COVID-19, we must remain vigilant, and all do our part to become part of the solution
“While we understand that news of our vaccine mandate may be disappointing to select travellers, it will be uplifting and encouraging to others.
“Travel breeds tolerance and with this decision, we don’t seek to divide, because as hoteliers, we bring cultures and people together. Yet, in today’s world, we must consider so many more variables to do that, all while respecting the integrity of these beautiful islands and the people who work in them.
“After weighing all the choices, issues, and concerns, mandating vaccines was the wisest option in protecting the critical tourism industry of these beloved destinations which are so crucial to the survival of so many employees, and the only way we will be able to keep travel and tourism going strong throughout the fall and winter.
“People rely on us for work—to support their families and their livelihood—so in making this choice, we work for them, too.”