By Kareem Smith

A proposal to enforce mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing on unvaccinated employees at the Crane Hotel has been withdrawn, following objections from some of the property’s 500-member staff complement.

Managing Director of the luxury beach resort, Paul Doyle has however made it clear that while two-thirds are either vaccinated or have expressed an intention to do so, he is “not going to be happy” until it’s 100 per cent.

Doyle is adamant that his relentless recommendations are more about the safety of workers and their families than attracting more guests to the property.

In a memo to all staff dated May 13th, Doyle expressed his intention to continue to “strongly advocate for all employees to get vaccinated as part of the resort’s “unyielding commitment” to health and safety.

In keeping with this goal, the managing director informed workers that those who choose not to be vaccinated would undergo weekly COVID-19 testing from Sunday, May 16th.

“This testing will be provided on-site, at no cost to you, and will be scheduled during your regular working hours,” the memo indicated.

“Employees who have been vaccinated privately, whether partially or fully, should provide proof of this status to Human Resources by Friday, May 14th, 2021,” the managing director added.

One employee, who requested anonymity, revealed that the latest memo is but one in a list of emails urging them to take the vaccine, which some staff consider intimidatory.

“I believe that you are picking on unvaccinated persons. I think some guests were asking about the percentage of vaccinated employees as they were shopping around, before they actually chose a destination,” the source at the St Philip resort indicated.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Doyle acknowledged that after hearing the concerns of staff, management would err on the side of caution and revert to vaccination as a suggestion, given that the law is unclear about whether such a policy can be enforced.

Nevertheless, he revealed that daily, more staff are signing up to be vaccinated and will be accommodated as soon as health officials dispense the second doses for the most recent round of immunizations sometime in June.

“I am not going to be happy until it’s 100 percent, unless there is a real health reason, but I am yet to see any of those. I feel very strongly that persons, for their own sake and their families’ sake and their fellow workers’ sake should be vaccinated,” Doyle declared.

“We’ve had far too many deaths in Barbados and around the world to not take this very seriously. And there’s no logical reason not to be vaccinated. There’s too much fake news around and when people’s lives are at stake and their families’, friends and fellow workers, it is very very important,” he contended.

The managing director noted that over the last two days, unvaccinated staff have been doing “the responsible thing” and coming forward for testing.

When contacted, Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Geoffrey Roach revealed that the subject of frequent employee testing has been a major area of discussion among employers given the country’s “relatively low” vaccination rates.

Meanwhile, Doyle contended that with the country’s new protocols acknowledging vaccinated travellers, visitors have a “valid expectation” that hospitality workers who come into direct contact with them are either ideally vaccinated or routinely tested for COVID-19.

He added that bookings for the Crane Resort have picked up with the release of the new protocols, but with hardline policies restricting Canadian and British travellers, the market remains compromised.

“This leaves us with the U.S, which is Barbados’ second largest market and because of vaccinations, their cases are dropping in a very good way. So I’m confident that when we bring over more vaccinated people it should work well for the country, for the hotel and I’m glad to see that happening and I expect it to continue with other countries as well,” he concluded.


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