BVI News

Another business quits early amid insufficient tourist arrivals

Top of the Baths Restaurant on Virgin Gorda. (Google image)

Yet another business in the local tourism industry has announced a premature closure due to the impact of COVID-19.

Top of The Baths Restaurant & Bar on Virgin Gorda said it will be calling it quits because it is financially impossible to keep its doors open at this time.

“It is with a very heavy heart and tremendous concern for each and everyone that we regretfully have to make the following decision. [It is] a decision which comes out of the factual reality of COVID-19 — resulting in a negative market for our tourism industry,” a statement on the company’s Facebook page said.

The company said it will reopen once they find it feasible to meet their daily obligations.

“The negative result has manifested itself in a manner which makes it financially impossible for us to continue to be open at this time. Therefore, we are giving notice that Top of The Baths Restaurant and coffee bar will be temporarily closed until such time as the economical conditions return to a point where the business can meet its daily obligations,” the statement said.

Many businesses have closed their doors because of the few tourists who’ve visited the territory since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the BVI to implement strict border protocols to govern visitor arrivals.

Recently, Quito’s Gazebo in Cane Garden Bay announced its closure due to the effects of the government’s COVID-19 protocols.

“It is with great sadness that we share our difficult decision to close Quito’s Ltd on January 31, 2021, for the season. While we applaud the government for trying to keep the country safe, the protocols and the expense they put on visitors has demolished the tourist industry,” Quito’s said in a statement.

Getting creative

While a number of local tourism-related businesses have closed their doors, others while others have been employing alternative strategies as they try to stay afloat amid the closure of the seaports – which account for the majority of the BVI’s tourist arrivals.

Just recently, Nanny Cay Marina established a creative way to attract business by circumventing the current closure of the territory’s sea borders.

Last year, taxi operators started offering delivery services to locals when tourist arrivals were cut off due to the full border closure of the territory.

Local hotels and resorts also started offering ‘staycations’ at reduced costs to attract locals to their business and stay afloat amid the trying times.

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41 Comments

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  1. Pandora's Box says:

    Quits early – really? You should give them a standing ovation for fighting this long!! Darker days are yet to come I fear!

    Like 55
    • Doh says:

      The economic avalanche is gaining momentum.

      It starts slowly, gradually building in power, sweeping away anything in its path. Prepare for its destructiveness as it is now upon us.

      But carry on

      Like 14
      Dislike 1
  2. WTF says:

    Early?! Most of the tourism and yachting industries have waited over a year with no help from government. Businesses have no choice other than to close or leave. Government certainly couldn’t afford to continue operations for a year with zero income.

    Like 43
    • Rastarite says:

      Don’t worry too much about the term charter bareboat companies. They still charging owners for dockage, utilities, insurance etc. Even if the boats don’t go out they makin’ money…

      • Wtf says:

        Uh huh. So they don’t make money if they aren’t booked. If the LOSE money, then they either leave or go out of business. When they go, the marinas lose money.

        Then tolans lose jobs, they can’t pay rent, can’t eat. See where this goes? Grab some fresh air and wake the eff up.

        Downward spiral.

        Like 1
        Dislike 1
      • Anonymous says:

        You’re an idiot and have no Idea about the charter business.
        Stick to what you know , like refusing to get the vaccine because you think it’s a bad idea, then complaining the government is keeping tourists away.

  3. Thanks to Andrew Fahie says:

    And still this government is not making an effort to to open up the sea port at an early date for tourist that’s the man port for tourism
    This government doesn’t have a proper protocols to protect the ppl
    Andrew is using coronavirus to destroy ppl businesses
    He should have already open the island with proper measures to protect the ppl
    On the bright side most places that are closing have the decency to pay off there staff
    Unlike my friend boss she choose to drag her feet, she get no intentions to open and no intentions to pay her staff and the government siding with her, she want the staff to resign on there own
    Vincent need to step up and stop being selfish towards the expats the are our neighbors and friends too
    I work in government but it makes me sick to see how you ppl treating the expats

    Like 47
    Dislike 5
    • UK Own says:

      Where is the 40 mil to help the Businesses..I Quest it was Gus Fault the Money Disappeared..

      Like 15
      Dislike 3
    • Yup says:

      Agreed.

      Xenophobia and racism is blatantly apparent in this government. Work permit holders don’t have a chance now.

      Time for the U.K. to step in and teach good governance as we can’t do it ourselves.

      Like 19
      Dislike 6
    • Dead says:

      We all going dead when these Tourist who feel they have money and dont have to follow rules come here. They already doing it

      Like 6
      Dislike 5
    • 007 says:

      People need to ask why this government is doing everything it can to ruin businesses in this country.

      And there is not only the Covid excuse. . This government is currently quietly trying to pass legislation give itself powers to seize businesses like Zimbabwe did, to put existing enterprises out of business by refusing to renew trade licenses, making trade licenses harder to get and costing up to $1500 a year for belongers and $15000 a year for non belongers, removing hotel aid, pioneer status and exemptions from trade licenses for finance and others, massively increasing bureaucracy by making people pay for trade license applications that must be accompanied by certificates of good standing from revenue, Heath, social security, and the FSA, and expensive Certificates of incumbency etc etc. and interestingly taking it on itself to reserve certain businesses for unspecified individuals ( the cronies ? )

      You think I am making this up?

      It’s called the Business Licensing Act and is in the Gazette where you can check it out for yourselves.

      There is a definite government agenda here that reads very like an attempt to create a communist state run by an elite.

      You have been warned.

      Like 1
      Dislike 2
  4. Unfortunate says:

    It’s so unfortunate that such businesses have to close. Yesterday, Banaqueet sent out they will be closing as off February 20. The hurtful thing is our government have not meet with these big establishments to see how they can assist in keeping them open. But the cronies who owns car wash, clubs, messenger services or owns nothing. And those businesses who have one to no one employed benefited from the stimulus package. It will get worst. In the midst of the pandemic brilliant Minister of Labor put heavy changes to renewing a work permit. My god! the people, the country are crying out. The days are so gloomy. Crime and murder rate out the window. WE NEED HELP NOW!

    Like 37
    • 007 says:

      The biggest businesses and employers in Fahies constituency are hotels and restaurants. Fahie has never set foot in any of them ( with one exception where he is a regular ). He has never discussed with any of them how they will survive all this.
      He doesn’t gaf.

      Like 20
  5. getting close says:

    after spending heavily in February last year to keep up with demand to get closed down 2 days after projects were finished was hard.
    We were full the Tuesday they announced the borders were closing on the Tuesday, fullon the wednesday then only 4 boats came on the day the borders were closing for entry.
    Then after jumping through hoops and spending money so we could open and serve people safely the rug waspulled again with 5 days before anyone can actually come into your establishment. Add livingon the outer island and it runs at business running at 3%.
    I have lost all but 1 of my staff and have been losing money since reopening in December, if things don;t change we won;t see next season.
    No help from the government.

  6. Reality Check says:

    Still waiting for our Business Stimulus check we were told would be sent in September. Struggling to stay open with no support from government and no government plan in sight for re-starting the economy.
    We need a change now!!

    Like 22
  7. Hotelier says:

    It is sad but no surprise. I hear Bananakeet on Tortola are to close also. Staycations are a joke. No hotel even on Anagada can survive on the very few of those that there are.

    More closures and people thrown out of work are inevitable.

    It seems the government simply does not care.

    Like 19
    • Anegada says:

      the hotel on Anegada getting the staycations is losing money big time but they have funds to do so as they lost money for the first 5 years of opening, no business should reasonably be able to survive that!

      there is also a restaurant who has a very rich foreign family propping them up or they would not be keeping 5 staff standing around to serve wings and a beer.

      The rest of Anegada is barren, February is like an anchor round peoples necks and its dragging us all down.

  8. So sad says:

    This is so disheartening and embarrassing. My heart breaks not only for this business but all the people of this territory because everyone is being affected directly and indirectly. It is time we learn to LIVE with this virus and not run and hide. Let tourist back in! This virus has a 99.7% survival rate and come March 22nd of this year it will make it an entire 365 days that we’ve been through various, at this point nonsensical, curfew periods. Tourism is one of our main economic pillars! This cannot go on.

    Like 16
  9. Barren wasteland says:

    The money that was to be used to help these businesses weather the Covid storm was allegedly siphoned off to cronies and party supporters by our di*****st and silly elected government. I really wonder what will be left of our tourism product after this govt is gone. This VIP govt was the worst election mistake that we have ever made. I honestly didn’t think it could get this bad in just 2 years soon our country will be a crime filled barren wasteland. I really hope the COI is going to really help clean up our corrupt political arena once and for all!

    Like 18
    Dislike 1
    • #Barren wasteland says:

      “I going in to do the same thing others before did, so shut your mouth,” were the words uttered from a now official in a very high position in VIP government. Suggesting that past elected officials helped themselves to tax payers money and so he is going in to do te same.

      It is just plane wrrong to think like that before one attains office. To speak to a voter in that manner, whether inperson or in cyber space is plain wrong. Hence, the motivation for being an elected official is not about serving the pountry and people, but about self enrichment.

      How can one have any confidence in a government where it is known to have charaters such a this in high goernance postion?

      Now that that individual is in office, very high office, what are the people to believe is being done? The people’s business, and not filling pockets? Think again!

      Like 10
  10. T says:

    The BVI needs an influx of money from the outside. Staycation deals will never be enough to keep businesses open. Trading money between citizens, some with incomes and many without, is not a viable economic plan. How could the BVI people possibly support an industry that was built and grown to support such a large number of people coming from outside the country? It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.

    I wish you the best, but I’m afraid that it won’t get much better until the current administration is gone from office.

    Like 14
  11. Vaccination says:

    Another pertinent reason why everyone should get vaccinated so that heard immunity can be achieved and we can open up the sea ports to get back to some level of normalcy. The longer we delay and buy into the conspiracy theories to avoid vaccination the longer this depression in the economy will continue. Wise up all the other territories are way ahead in getting their population vaccinated!

    Like 12
    Dislike 11
    • Hear says:

      Ayo nah hear that vaccine cannot and will not stop the spread of the virus.

      Like 6
      Dislike 4
      • Rubber Duck says:

        True, but being vaccinated means you will not suffer serious effects. But of course you can give it to someone who has not been vaccinated who may suffer badly or even die. But that’s really their fault if they choose not be immunized.

        Like 4
        Dislike 4
  12. The Answer says:

    As an ex-BVI tourist (20 years), I found a hidden gem in STJ.
    Spent 2 weeks there in January and going back early March (escape the cold midwest).
    No issues at all….actually quite crowded.
    A negative COVID test within 5 days of travel is the only stipulation….no big deal.
    USVI is reaping the benefits of BVI’s strict closures, and it’ll only get worse for BVI.
    Lockdowns don’t work; look at FL (no lockdown) vs NY or CA (strict lockdown). FL numbers are better than both! Fools ruin their own economy over 1 death in the territory. Sheeple.

    Like 23
    Dislike 6
  13. Eggs in one Basket? says:

    It is truly saddening to witness the closure of any business, because for every business that is closed, there are a dozen or more families that will suffer shortages in daily sustainance and other maaterials and needs.

    On another point, the business community, for decades have seen the tourist dollar as a sacred and the only important cow.

    As a result, catering to local dollars was and remain non-existent. They did not see the local dollar as a significant to their sustainability.

    They are now paying the price for a one tracked business model that catered to a fragile, unreliable and foriegn customer, while excluding their local from the business paradigm.

    It is always a slippery slope to cater to one at the exclusion of the other. Tourism is a fragile and unpredictable industry. A business should have a local component to its model.

    Hopefully, covid 19 has taught some vital lessons. Don’t put all the eggs in one basket.

    Like 5
    Dislike 4
    • 2cents says:

      Obviously the locals did not support this business otherwise it would not close. Bvi does not have a large diverse economy. So when you shut down half of it you’re going to see fall out. More to come…

      • 3cents, my says:

        Obviously the business catered fully to tourist. Everyone knows and is programmed to not go where tourist are, especially in significant numbers, because the owners have the false notion based on an ignorant fear that tourist don’t want to aroud locals, which is actually, based on personal haterds for peole of color though..

        Like 2
        Dislike 2
    • Local says:

      There is only so far the local dollars can go when employers can’t pay you….unless, of course, you’ve a guaranteed government salary

  14. Tell Tail Sign says:

    With the Baths being one of the most visited tourist sites in the BVI, this is a telling sign that your economy is in trouble.
    The decision by Top of the Baths to close has made my decision to cancel an upcoming April Charter to the BVI. Sorry for your loss.

  15. Hmmm says:

    Top of the Baths closed long time. They opened a few weeks ago Owners have lots of money. They did no advertising. Not even taxi drivers knew they were open.

    Like 7
    Dislike 4
  16. Charnele says:

    Hope Top of the Bath pay severance to their employees… They opened their doors in November with limited hours because the Government gave businesses until November to open or pay severance when the Government extended this time they cut their employees time even further. Now because the Government extended the time again in favour of businesses they are now saying they will close their doors these people have no concern about their employees but for themselves. This is a joke. How would employees survive, the bills are still coming. Shame on you.

    Like 7
    Dislike 4
    • Gdog says:

      I was in st john last month and a boat captain told me that 100 of the 200 barefoot boats were moving to stj or stt from bvi. The Usvi seem to be operating just fine with their protocols. Tell the silly politicians that they cant stop life! good Luck to the people of BVI!!

      Like 3
      Dislike 1
    • Ben says:

      I’m sensing from your comment that you are one of the employee there. You know a lot about cutting the staff’s working hours. Your comment is so biased. You shoudld seek government’s help. Where does your taxes go. I believe Top of the Baths made a right call before they go down in drain and can not even pay the severance that you are saying. It is temporary closure,it’s not terminating their employees without a reason.

  17. Gdog says:

    I was in st john last month and a boat captain told me that 100 of the 200 barefoot boats were moving to stj or stt from bvi. The Usvi seem to be operating just fine with their protocols. Tell the silly politicians that they cant stop life! good Luck to the people of BVI!!

  18. Simple solution to a bad government says:

    Until they start getting half pay or no pay they will never understand the struggle, the pain that people in the industry Who can’t get full hours in some cases no work at all,,,, The civil servants They are innocent they get their regular salaries, they too don’t understand the hardship people going through,,,,,I will just want them to stop and think of not getting a salary for 6 months, ow half salary for year that’s life on the ground, real life, real situation,,,

  19. Bombashack says:

    Social unrest is looming behind the corner.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  20. Hailey says:

    How did you know that the owners have a lot of money? Start learning business first before you comment that.

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