Bay Gardens Resorts in St. Lucia is offering resort credits on future stays to travelers who donate to a relief fund created to support its staff members during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The family-owned group of five properties, which suspended its operations in mid-March, launched the fund to augment the enterprise's cash support that has helped to keep its 350-member workforce off the breadline.
For contributions between $100 and $250, the resort will reward donors "dollar-for-dollar" with gift vouchers that can be used towards a future stay at any Bay Gardens Resorts property.
In the context of COVID-19, global travel restrictions and the local government-mandated scale-down of non-essential business activity, Bay Gardens' management team says it helped to cushion the impact of the loss of revenues by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide income support to its employees, who received a minimum of 50 percent of their base salary, up to a maximum of 75 percent. Health insurance benefits have also been continued, Bay Gardens executive director Sanovnik Destang said in an official release.
For the months of May and June, the government of St. Lucia, through the National Insurance Corporation (NIC), will provide income support to employees who have lost their income as a result of COVID-19. Bay Gardens has made arrangements to administer these payments to affected staff on behalf of NIC.
"Even with the income support that we have provided or facilitated, our staff are still going to be severely impacted. Virtually all of them would have suffered major income losses for the months of April through June with no guarantee of a resumption of normality after June," Destang added.
Bay Gardens Resorts is hopeful operations will resume on June 4, but says it will be guided by local and international public health officials and tourism authorities.
To donate to the fund, visit www.gofundme.com.