Caribbean Villas going above and beyond for employees during pandemic
Wednesday, September 9th, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic hit Belize hard, and since March thousands in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye lost their jobs when the tourism industry came to a halt. Many tourism stakeholders have tried their best to assist their staff, either by keeping them on at reduced salaries or by helping them with groceries. One of the tourism businesses is Caribbean Villas Beach Resort, which since March 24th has been supporting its laid-off staff with groceries, hot meals, a place to stay, and even covering some of their utilities.
Every Tuesday the hotel hands out bags full of groceries to 21 of their laid-off labour force. The remainder who are still employed, approximately 10, are on a reduced salary/stipend and those working in the kitchen and restaurant get tips from customers.
All this has been possible with the sole support of one of the owners/directors Hazel Hett and Manager Beth Hart, who have been using their own resources to support their staff. The assistance also includes housing some of the employees that have been evicted by their landlords. Those that had to leave the island were given the option of storing their belongings. There have been a variety of other helping gestures as the need arose.
Some of the employees spoke with The San Pedro Sun, sharing that they are more than grateful for their employers for not abandoning them. Although there has been little-to-no income, at least they have food to feed their families every week. They acknowledged that tourism will not return to what it used to be right away, but they are confident that things will eventually return to what it used to be or close. If for some reason tourism takes a different turn, some of them said that people may need to adapt to a different lifestyle, different job, but never lose hope, as better will come.
Caribbean Villas management added that as the current situation improves, the laid off employees are expected to return to their job posts. In the meantime, they will mainly cater to Belizean tourism, with specials in food and accommodation for the local market.
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