This action was taken after several verified complaints of breaches of the COVID-19 protocols taking place at the resort with respect to visitors in quarantine.
Additionally, police have held for questioning at least three tourists in relation to alleged breaches of COVID-19 protocols related to quarantine.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness takes the issue of breaches of the COVID-19 protocols very seriously and will take similar action if other designated quarantine hotels and villas refuse to uphold the rules and regulations that have been put in place to protect workers in the hotel sector, and by extension the rest of the country.
Designated quarantine hotels are advised to take this opportunity to immediately review the standard operating procedures with respect to the prevention and control of COVID-19 in Barbados.
On Monday evening Minister of Health and Wellness Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic warned that authorities would take firm action against any businesses or individuals who breached protocols.
It is not clear whether this means effectively closing the resort to foreign tourists.
On its Web site Sandals Royal Barbados puffs itself as “the all-new, all-suite resort from the geniuses at Sandals Resorts set in the St. Lawrence Gap area” where “every suite features a private Tranquility Soaking Tub™”.
However, in a lengthy, scathing review of the resort dated December 26th in TripAdvisor a reviewer called A.M.W says:
“Upon arriving at Sandals, we were assured our room would have been rigorously cleaned for COVID and sealed – the seal on the room was broken, multiple aspects of the room clearly were not dealt with (e.g., the liquor bar had not been cleaned or restocked). In addition, housekeeping is frequently poor quality – they have forgotten to come to our room, forgot to provide towels and toilet paper, don’t restock waters, etc.”
“Another frustrating aspect has been the second COVID test. This test is mandatory, and you either pay a $60 fee for a cab ride into town to get the test at a local facility, or a $300 fee to do a test on the resort property.”
“We are assured that results will arrive within 24 hours so people can participate in offsite tours, use the gym, and other amenities, yet we find most people don’t receive their tests until 72 hours. In addition, if you arrive on a Friday or weekend (like we did), you have to wait until Monday to even schedule your test, meaning you won’t get your results until it’s time to leave the resort and can’t participate in many of the activities/amenities.”
But Sandals Resort has hit back and in a strongly worded, exclusive statement to Barbados TODAY, Sandals Resorts International vehemently refuted the allegations of repeated breaches and is accusing public health officials of heavy-handed action in the middle of dialogue between the hotel and the Ministry of Health, saying that they were given no warning of any violations or any chance to respond to the allegations or correct deficiencies.
The five-star property is also contesting an “implication” from authorities that three tourists currently in police custody regarding protocol breaches are even guests of the property.