Month: March 2020

Mar30

Dear loyal Members,

Some of you may have been following the situation in Aruba via your own digital means but we felt that we should summarize the significant developments up to March 30th 2020 for those who may not be aware of the changes and following are the measures taken by the Government of Aruba in order to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19 which has accounted for 50 cases island-wide with only 1 hospitalization.

  • Starting Tuesday, March 24th 2020, the Government of Aruba mandated that every establishment has to be closed by 8:00 p.m. Every bar and restaurant will be closed for dining in service, with only an exception for drive-thru or delivery until 8:00 p.m.. Gas stations can stay open until 8:00 p.m.. The only exception to this directive is for the Pharmacy on duty and the Hospital which can stay open.
  • Starting Saturday, March 21st 2020 until April 19th 2020 – at the moment – the Government of Aruba has implemented a curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. During these hours, nobody is allowed on the streets. Those who work essential night shifts and have to go to work or back home must have a document with them issued and signed by their Employer that proves this. Those who do not comply with the regulations of the curfew can get a fine up to 10,000 Aruban florins and for violation of opening hours up to 1,000 florins.
  • Starting Saturday, March 21st 2020 until April 19th 2020 – at the moment – the Government of Aruba has decided that the Aruban borders will be closed for entry. Nobody is allowed to enter the country. Only empty flights can come in to pick up passengers leaving Aruba to take them to their destination and International Airport Reina Beatrix has elevated its control of all flights coming from countries which are not on the restriction list which are mainly European countries.
  • This restriction counts for residents of Aruba as well but residents who are abroad and are having difficulties to return to Aruba have a special number to contact for assistance.
  • All educational facilities will be closed from March 16th 2020 until further notice. These measurements include schools, Day Care Centers and all organizations in charge of education and care of our children.
  • It is prohibited to visit retirement homes.
  • Government departments are working with limited personnel. Services to the public will be given on appointment basis only, and if necessary, all other services will be given via telephone or email. This is to prevent overcrowding in Government Departments and public spaces.
  • Effective Sunday 29th March 2020, the shelter-in-place policy has been mandated for an initial 2-week period and below is a list that describes what businesses / activities are considered non-essential and they have to be closed day and night.
    • Schools and childcare 
    • Restaurants (except for takeaway, drive through and delivery) 
    • Recreation (Casinos, movies, gyms, etc) 
    • Events/Meeting spaces 
    • Church services 
    • Shops (shopping centers, kiosks also) 
    • Beauty Salons and Barber shops 
    • Construction 
  • At the moment, other businesses – which includes hotel operations – can remain open under the following very specific conditions:
    • The Government urges them to work with a skeleton crew
    • Ensure all employees and clients obey the 2-meter distancing rule. If it is violated, the establishment may be shut down
    • No specific permit is required for the shelter-in-place, but the Employer letter is still required for the curfew.
  • As part of the shelter-in-place directive and until April 19th 2020, a recommendation goes to all owners or organizers of social, religious, restaurant activities, where there is a mass gathering to keep it to a maximum of four (4) persons and while still observing the social distance of two (2) meters. Funerals are an exception where a maximum of ten (10) persons are allowed. All public and private activities for which a Police permit was granted have also been canceled.
  • On March 30th 2020, the Minister of Justice introduced a grace period for tourists stranded in Aruba as a result of The Coronavirus pandemic. Their allowed stay period on the island has either recently expired or is about to expire in the near future as a result of the closure of borders and / or flights being cancelled. In light of the aforementioned circumstances, the Minister of Justice, Security and Integration introduced a temporary grace period policy allowing those stranded visitors on the island to remain until April 17th 2020. The policy can be adapted accordingly if the general circumstances change.

Currently, Paradise Beach Villas is empty – like all other Resorts – and the beaches are bare. Most of the staff is on paid vacation at the moment but we have Security, skeleton pool maintenance, and Front Desk. The Maintenance and Housekeeping crews have special projects – room care programme, deep cleaning etc. – also operating with skeleton crews. Wherever possible, work from home is being enforced e.g. Accounting.

Travel to and from the island is also affected and at the moment, no non-nationals are allowed entry. This is obviously important information to our loyal visitors who annually make Aruba their preferred vacation destination and we will share any information with you as soon as we receive it. In this regard, please check our website for how we are planning to deal with the weeks that are affected.

As a reminder, we encourage you to follow the official site for updates from the Ministry of Health and Tourism of Aruba for the latest updates on our island’s preparedness, plans and travel requirements at  https://www.aruba.com/us/traveler-health-requirements

Stay as well and as healthy as you possibly can in the circumstances. Stay positive as this will be behind us at some point and will be in touch next week with some more updates from Sunny Aruba.

The Management

Mar21

Dear Member,

We are in unprecedented times and coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc not only from a health perspective, but also on our economies our Resort operations and has also caused grave concerns for the immediate financial wellbeing of our associates. With no definitive timeline for an end, we ask for your patience and understanding as we deal with the several unique and unforeseen issues that may arise.

One of those current issues is how to handle the weeks for owners who are financially current and were ready to take their annual vacation to Aruba and use their week but were prevented by the sudden changed travel regulations. At the moment, we are inundated with requests from members who fall into this category but also even for some members who own weeks as far in the future as June and July and we are working on a realistic solution. In this regard, we once again ask for your patience and understanding as we try to work out a feasible solution.

Our first target are those members of week #11, week #12 and week #13 (March 14th 2020 to April 5th 2020) who were affected by the travel restrictions and it was too late for them to bank their week(s) with the Resort or deposit their week(s) with Interval International (I.I.) For those specific members we can:

Bank their week(s) with the Resort or the Resort can assign a week to be deposited with Interval International to be used somewhere else but please bear in mind the following:

We are a sold-out timeshare Resort and this situation is occurring during the High Season when we have no available inventory. This means that the possibility of redeeming your banked week(s) with the Resort during this time in the future is virtually impossible with no available inventory. Therefore, assume that the situation is normalized by next year, if all the members who banked their week(s) this year want to redeem it / them next year by extending their stay at this same time, we cannot do it because we literally do not have the inventory available. Consequently, all we would have done would have been to offer a promise to our owners that we could not live up to which will only end up extremely frustrated and upset members. However, even with the available inventory we have in the summer, it will never be enough to redeem the number of weeks that could potentially be banked.

Therefore, to deal with this reality, we will extend the period of banking for up to three (3) years in an effort to give the system time to satisfy the load.

If affected members have the flexibility to travel at different times of the year when we have inventory available, we will advise of those available time slots and we will waive the switch fee that is normally charged. In these cases, in order to avoid making promises that we are unable to fulfill, we have to impose a limit of one hundred (100) annually on the number of switches we can realistically offer and this is based on a first come first served basis.

Once again, to resolve this issue, flexibility and patience will be the keys.

Deposit the week with Interval International

For those members who would are unable to wait for a possible redemption period of up to three (3) years as mentioned above, we are prepared to work with our exchange partner Interval International for them to deposit their week(s). However, please be reminded that in this scenario, there is no guarantee that that the exchange will be back to Aruba or Paradise Beach Villas – but at least, the week(s) is / are not lost.

We know that many members never exchange to other vacation destinations and consequently never had the need for affiliation with Interval International (I.I.) As part of the last renewal deal with I.I., you may also recall that a two-year complimentary membership for all our members of our Resort was offered. If you are an I.I. member, an option would be to deposit your week with them and redeem it later. If you need our assistance with this Bianca or Sandra will be more than willing to assist as they usually.

We are currently in touch with I.I. – and the issue of non-members will be part of the discussion. We are awaiting their proposal so we can share their plan of action with you as soon as we receive it.

Rent the week

This is an option but in the present climate, with the current lockdown on travel to the island for visitors, this may not be viable.

At the moment, there is no indication as to when this situation will be normalized but we know that the air travel to Aruba will not resume prior to early May. Therefore, our advice for members is:

  • This is specifically for those members whose travel plans have been impacted by travel and health restrictions as a result of COVID-19.

  • Consider the option of depositing your week(s) with Interval International because of the limited available inventory at the Resort and the time when we have that availability may not be suitable.

  • Many of you have emailed Reservations at the Resort and we are handling these requests at the moment at a rate of over 100 per day. We ask you to be patient we will get to you. Please be aware that we still have members at the Resort and we are dealing with flight concerns, more general issues than normal with many facilities closed, staffing, Government-imposed curfews which shortens work time, the more stringent health procedures we have to abide with etc. etc. Therefore, please be patient.

  • For travel later in the current High Season or for the coming Summer, please give us early notice whether you are able to travel to Aruba or not. We understand that while you may be willing, the airlines or there may still have restrictions on the island – so we ask you to be realistic even if you are disappointed.

  • Exchange your week for an available week at the Resort in the summer months. This once again stresses the need for flexibility – if at all possible – as mentioned a few times previously.

We recognize the uncertainty caused by this pandemic. It is a new development for you and it is also new for us. We look forward to your understanding, patience and cooperation as we try to resolve this together.

The Management and the Board of Directors

Mar16

Dear Members, 

At this period of uncertainty occasioned by the COVID-19, which has become a rapidly spreading pandemic, first of all our thoughts are with those countries and persons affected worldwide and while travel may not be your first priority at the moment, the safety of our members and staff is of the highest importance to us.  

There is a lot of social media exchanges on various aspects of the COVID-19 activity but please verify your sources of information before spreading information that could be misleading and therefore worsening the situation which is already dangerous.  For the current worldwide status updates we encourage you to visit the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) website https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019. 

 

This virus forcibly reminds us personally to be more mindful as we go through our regular activities and whether you are at home or traveling, the WHO recommends practicing good hygiene habits to protect yourself against infection by washing your hands frequently with soap or alcohol-based sanitizer, maintaining distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you become sick, please seek medical attention quickly. Additionally, at the Resort we engage in the latest guidance from our Aruban Health and Medical Authorities and our health and safety measures address and comply with the proper cleaning procedures of our guest rooms and public areas cleaning procedures.  

Below is some additional useful information on the most significant developments so far at your Home away from Home. 

The Ministry of Health and Tourism of Aruba is collaborating with all Government Authorities on a national, regional and also on an international level in actively implementing Aruba’s preparedness and response plan for COVID-19.  For the latest updates on our island’s preparedness, plans and travel requirements, please visithttps://www.aruba.com/us/traveler-health-requirements. 

 

  • The Department of Public Health has set up specific protocols and procedures for Resorts and frequent meetings are held to adjust to the situation as it evolves. This includes specific contact numbers in cases of suspected infections, testing procedures at the Resorts or at our Hospital, isolation and / or quarantine handling and dealing with travel companions.  Our Management is involved in these meetings. 
  • If you cannot travel, please immediately contact Bianca via email bianca@paradisebeach.aw or Sandra at sandra@paradisebeach.aw or call them at the Resort – (297) 525 4000 to get the best options for future travel.

On March 15th 2020 the Government of Aruba has made the difficult, but necessary decision to mandate a suspension of all inbound travel to Aruba by non-residents of Aruba.This will be in effect beginning midnight Monday, March 16th 2020 and ending March 31st 2020. These restrictions are subject to change as we may consider additional precautionary measures as needed. 

Specifically: 

  • Anyone who is not a resident of Aruba, will not be permitted to enter Aruba. 
  • Visitors currently in Aruba will be able to leave Aruba. 
  • Aruba residents currently traveling abroad will be permitted to return home to Aruba. 
  • A negative travel advisory will be in place for Aruba residents advising against outbound travel during this period. 

As you can imagine, this decision does not come without serious consideration as tourism is the lifeline of the Aruban people. However, our highest priority is the health and well-being of our people and our visitors. 

In these current unsettling times, please continue to practice healthy habits whether you are traveling now or in the future, do not panic, avoid unofficial sources of information and accept sudden changes to the norm as new developments come to light.  

Please visit our website, Facebook page and the above-mentioned links for the latest updates, stay safe, and well-informed! 

The Management