Cinnamon Hotels gears for reopening after extensive safety protocols

Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts has implemented a series of group-wide safety protocols, taking a holistic approach to sanitation across all hotel spaces.

Enhanced safety measures include high frequency cleaning and disinfection of guest areas, use of approved disinfectants, compliance to supply chain deliveries, and cleaning protocols for culinary and housekeeping areas.

Modifications have also been made to limit contact and maintain physical distancing through seating arrangements in public areas and restaurants.

Airport transfers, and check-in and check-out procedures, as well as the use of hotel facilities such as the pool, gym and sports activities and banqueting have also been enhanced to meet the standards.

“The global pandemic has created new challenges and requirements for the health and safety of travellers across the globe. We have implemented health and safety guidelines in alignment with the protocols of the World Health Organisation and the government of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, to ensure a safe and comfortable experience,” John Keells Holdings Leisure Group President Jit Gunaratne was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“The hotel premises and staff are trained and well equipped to serve our guests with the promise of a clean, safe and inspired experience at Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts both in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. We are looking forward to welcoming and catering to our guests and partners.”

Sri Lankan conglomerate John Keells, under its Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts brand, runs four resorts in Maldives: Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa, Cinnamon Dhonveli, Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon, and the recently-opened Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives.

The Maldives is preparing to reopen its borders to visitors in July.

The country’s tourism ministry has drafted and invited comments from industry stakeholders on its own guidelines on reopening the borders.

The 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.

All international airlines have suspended scheduled operations to the Maldives, as the island nation enforced a blanket suspension of on-arrival visa in late March in a bid to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Cruise ships and foreign yachts were also banned from docking at any of the country’s ports.

Before the pandemic, the government had been bullish about tourism prospects, targeting two million, high-spending holidaymakers this year after last year’s record 1.7 million.

However, tourist arrivals saw a year-over-year decline of 22.8 per cent in the first 10 days of March. Officials say the number of tourist arrivals to the Maldives could drop by half in 2020.

With arrival numbers falling and the visa suspension in effect, several resorts across the Maldives had been closed.

Tourism has been the bedrock of the Maldives’ economic success. The $5 billion-dollar economy grew by 6.7 per cent in 2018 with tourism generating 60 per cent of foreign income.

However, the government is at present projecting a possible 13 per cent economic contraction this year — an estimated $778 million hit.

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.

Eighteen more cases — all foreigners working or staying resorts and liveaboard vessels except five Maldivians who had returned from abroad — were later identified.

A six-case cluster of locals, detected in capital Male on April 15, confirmed community transmission of the coronavirus. Several more clusters have since been identified, bringing the total number of confirmed case in the Maldives to 1,883.

Seven deaths have been reported and 717 have made full recoveries.

The 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 stay-at-home orders in capital Male and its suburbs, a ban on inter-island transport and public gatherings across the country, and a nationwide closing of government offices, schools, colleges and universities.

Non-essential services and public places in the capital such as gyms, cinemas and parks have also been shut.

Restaurants and cafes in the capital have been asked to stop dine-in service and switch to takeaway and delivery.

A nationwide shutdown of all guesthouses, city hotels and spa facilities located on inhabited islands is also in effect.

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