The Heritage Quay Duty Free Shopping Center reopened select stores this week in accordance with COVID-19 Emergency Orders established by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda. Several of the stores that make up the shopping center relaunched operations on Friday, May 1, including various retail and food and beverage outlets.
Dona Lisel Regis-Prosper, General Manager of Global Ports Antigua Ltd, described some of the changes that have been implemented to improve the shopping experience and to protect tenants and shoppers. “Several of our tenants serve the local market and we want to ensure a safe shopping environment. The open-air shopping environment here at Heritage Quay makes it easier for our customers to practice social distancing properly while getting their shopping done. We’ve been extremely proactive about mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on our tenants and our entire community since the start of this outbreak, which led us to implement some significant changes several weeks ago.”
“Customers will see that we’ve installed additional handwashing sinks in common areas and increased the frequency and soundness of our cleaning and sanitizing protocols, including the disinfection of public spaces. We will provide face masks for customers who don’t bring them and have also installed new signage to encourage everyone who enters the shopping center to practice proper hygiene to protect themselves and others.”
She continued, “This pandemic has been especially devastating on smaller retailers and our tenants are no exception, so we’re launching some initiatives to help them through it. On Friday, May 8, we are hosting a webinar for our retailers that will focus on the future of the cruise industry and the current cruise tourism industry outlook from a local perspective. The Hon. Charles Fernandez, Minister of Tourism, Investment & Economic Affairs, will be one of the featured speakers. We have also shared updated operating guidelines to help them increase the safety of their operations. I would like to sincerely thank all our retailers for their continuous cooperation and support as we work together to make the best decisions possible during this difficult period.”
Regarding developments in the cruise industry, Mrs. Regis-Prosper added, “We remain in close contact with the cruise lines and are monitoring their plans as they prepare to return to market. This industry is very resilient, having survived wars, severe weather events, even 9/11 – so you can rest assured that the best and brightest minds are working together to determine how bring them back to our shores with everyone’s safety in mind as quickly as possible. There will be a lot of change, but on the bright side, this gives us the opportunity to enhance the way that we manage our businesses in preparation for the resurgence of the industry. That’s what we’re focused on.”