April 20, 2021

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Inn owners demand limited pool opening to attract guests

The Association of Owners of Paradores de Puerto Rico today made an urgent call to Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced to allow them to use 25 percent of the capacity of their swimming pools and recreational areas in order to increase their occupation with the In order to continue operating in defiance of the economic crisis they face, many of them since the beginning of the year due to the earthquakes.

The president of the association, Jesús Ramos, who is also the owner of the Villas de Sotomayor parador, in Adjuntas, said that at present it is impossible to calculate the million-dollar losses that businessmen face because the Covid-19 pandemic has not ended.

Ramos stated that the warning voice was issued at all levels since July when the executive order was issued to close the swimming pools without their claims being addressed despite the fact that there is no evidence of contagion in those aquatic recreational areas , for which he extended his call for the guideline to be made more flexible in the next Executive Order that would come into force on September 12.

“We are asking that, at least, 25 percent of the swimming pools and recreational facilities be opened to us in order to reach 12% occupancy, to be able to defray some of the operational expenses and maintain the operation,” said Ramos, who attributed the decline in the number of guests, who mostly do domestic tourism, to the few entertainment options they can offer.

The spokesman pointed out during a press conference through the Zoom platform that the occupancy until the first two weeks of July reached 71 percent, while since the opening of the pools were prohibited there are paradores that only have 2 percent of its occupied rooms and others have opted for their partial closure.

It is estimated that almost 76% of its employees have been laid off in the inns of Puerto Rico.

“With less occupation and with the same operating expenses, unfortunately the only thing that has gone down is employment, many of us have had to lay off and not lay off completely but partially give people the opportunity to come to work for a couple of hours to keep it,” because we understand and know that this is going to happen. When? We don’t know, ”Ramos declared.

For his part, Tomás Ramírez, vice president of the association and representative of the Combate Beach Resort, said that the permission to operate the aquatic recreational areas in a limited way should apply to all those inns that have invested money in their family businesses to comply with all the guidelines of health, hygiene and safety which are duly regulated by the Tourism Company.

He stated that the industry they represent has received unequal treatment compared to independent accommodation, which does not even regulate the use of swimming pools, where they have been captured in videos of people at parties without keeping social distancing using this type of facilities irresponsibly.

Meanwhile, Juan López, president of the Tropical Inns chain, warned that if the governor does not agree to her requests, she would evaluate the possibility of suing or violating the EO by allowing the use of the pools since there is no evidence of contagion.

They recalled that the economic incentives, federal aid and moratoriums granted by the banking institutions were of great help, but they are about to end between the months of September to October.

“The situation is going to begin to affect many of the inns and other small inns that operate within the legal framework with all the requirements and permits in Puerto Rico because all these aids are running out and they are not allowing us to operate responsibly after we made a gigantic investment based on the protocols developed by the Tourism Company together with the industry, ”said Ramos.

The owners of paradors dissociated the disorders observed in beach areas and chinchorreo areas during weekends, which were one of the causes for the EO to be more strict, since they assured that they have been faithful adherents of the regulations.

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