Minister of Tourism, Charles Fernandez, says he wants a meeting with the management of the Hodges Bay Resort and Spa, as well as the Antigua and Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association, after videos and images surfaced online purportedly of a recent event showing a complete breach of health and safety protocols.
“I will give full support to the Ministries of Health and Legal Affairs to conduct a full investigation into the recent incident as well as to undertake any course of action deemed necessary,” Minister Fernandez is quoted as saying.
Fernandez says his ministry’s priority has always been to keep everyone safe. “Even though in recent times there has been no known case of transmission of the virus at any of the hotels, we can’t afford to drop our guard. In addition, we must be careful about sending the wrong message to our visitors – that ‘anything goes here,’” he emphasized.
The tourism minister went on to state that this type of behaviour, on or off property, is not sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism.
“The ministry is concerned first and foremost with the health and safety of the workers, operators, and everyone who is involved in the tourism sector, whether directly or indirectly. While we agree the tourism sector must be allowed to thrive, it must be done in a safe, lawful and respectful manner,” he declared.
Noting the importance of tourism, Minister Fernandez stated that the health and safety of the citizens of Antigua and Barbuda are paramount. “We are also calling on travel and celebrity influencers, who obviously love and appreciate our beautiful island, to also adhere and appreciate protocols that are in place to keep our country safe as we continue our fight with COVID-19,” he said.