Atmosphere Hotels supports Maldives coronavirus response efforts
Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts has collaborated with the Maldives government in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, offering one of its luxury resorts as an isolation and quarantine facility.
VARU by Atmosphere, the recently-opened fifth resort of Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, will be used as a location to station government teams and increase nationwide efforts against Covid-19 from Monday.
“The company wishes to continue to practice their philosophy of ‘The Joy of Giving’ by giving back to the Maldivian community and play their part in helping to overcome this difficult time,” a statement read.
“All guests travelling to VARU by Atmosphere from now and until further notice will be relocated to one of the Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts sister properties.”
Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts is a dynamic and fast-growing Indian Ocean hospitality group currently based in the Maldives.
Atmosphere’s first property, Atmosphere Kanifushi, opened its doors in December 2013. The group opened its second property, OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli, in November 2015; followed by their flagship lifestyle luxury sub-brand, OZEN by Atmosphere, in July 2016; and then OBLU Select at Sangeli, which opened in July 2018. The newest addition to the portfolio, VARU by Atmosphere, opened in October 2019.
The global coronavirus outbreak has hit the Maldivian economy hard, as travel restrictions and other preventive measures affect the country’s lucrative tourism industry, which contributes the bulk of the island nation’s state revenue and foreign reserves.
Several resorts across the Maldives had been closed.
Government on Thursday launched an emergency MVR 2.5 billion ($161.84 million) facility and a package of financial measures to shore up the local economy against the coronavirus pandemic.
The MVR 2.5 billion stimulus plan includes MVR 1.55 billion ($100 million) in emergency loans for businesses to meet short-term working capital needs.
The emergency facility is complemented by a package of financial measures, including a six-month moratorium on principal and interest repayments for personal and business loans sanctioned by commercial banks.
Meanwhile, Bank of Maldives (BML) has announced a $2 million short-term financing facility for the tourism industry.
The facility by the country’s largest bank allows operational resorts and guesthouses finance up to $2 million to manage their working capital requirements, with a repayment period of three years.
On March 8, Maldives reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus, as two hotel employees tested positive for Covid-19 at a luxury resort in the archipelago. Eleven more cases — all foreigners working or staying resorts and liveaboard vessels — were later identified.
However, five out of the 13 have made full recoveries, whilst the rest are being treated at designated quarantine facilities.
Maldives announced a state of public health emergency on March 12, the first such declaration under a recent public health protection law.
The public health emergency declaration has allowed the government to introduce a series of unprecedented restrictive and social distancing measures, including a ban on inter-island travel of tourists, including for excursions and between resort islands.
A nationwide shut down of all guesthouses and city hotels has also been ordered. Spa facilities located on inhabited islands have also been closed.
The Maldives had closed its borders to arrivals from some of the worst-hit countries, including mainland China, Italy, Bangladesh, Iran, Spain, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Visitors from three regions of Germany (Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg), two regions of France (Île-de-France and Grand Est) and two regions of South Korea are also banned from entering the country.
All direct flights to and from China, Italy, South Korea and Iran had also been cancelled.
Cruise ships and foreign yachts had also been banned from docking at any of the country’s ports.
The island nation had installed thermal screening cameras at its international airports.
Quarantine facilities, including designated islets from the 1,192 islands that make up the archipelago, had been established.