Sandals Resorts International has announced that it is closing all Sandals and Beaches Resorts from March 30th to May 15th, 2020, to protect guests and staff against COVID-19.
Describing the decision as difficult, Sandals founder and Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart said the downtime will be used to enhance his resorts “so that we will continue to surpass your expectations and provide you with the luxury-included vacation you so well deserve.”
In a statement, Stewart said: "We will not be able to accept new arrivals as of March 23rd, 2020. We also want to alleviate any additional worry you might have about your upcoming vacation. Our dedicated team will be reaching out to you personally to assist with rescheduling your future plans. This way, you can spend less time trying to reach us and more time with your loved ones."
In addition to health and safety concerns, recent global travel warnings combined with airline carrier cancellations were others factors that led to the decision.
“The Caribbean is resilient," Stewart continued. "We have always come back better, stronger and more passionate than ever. We promise this time will be no exception."
“When the time is right, you can trust us to be here, ready to welcome you back with open arms and a warm smile. Soon come back,” he said.
Sandals operates 19 properties in the Caribbean - 10 of which are in Jamaica.
The news comes as RIU Hotel properties in western Jamaica announced their closure due to low visitor numbers.
According to Caribbean National Weekly, around 1,000 workers are expected to be left without jobs during the period of closure at the three affected properties. That being, RIU Palace Jamaica, RIU Negril and RIU Montego Bay.