Thank you for joining us today.
I hope that you are all staying safe and healthy throughout these challenging times.
I want to take a moment to update you on what’s happening in Aruba and at La Cabana. After that, I will respond to some of your questions.
As of this morning, Aruba has 95 confirmed cases of COVID19 of which 39 have recovered, 54 are still recovering, 3 cases in ICU and sadly 2 deaths from the COVID19.
The shelter in place has been extended through April 28th with mandatory curfew being enforced from 9pm to 6am. Aruba did receive some medical supplies from the Dutch government and have been able to expand the ICU ward at the hospital to 31 beds. Additionally, a group of Dutch medics will be on island soon to assist the Hospital staff.
As you already know, this pandemic has created a ripple effect on our operation due to the current travel restrictions, social distancing and shelter in place orders mandated throughout the island.
Our Associates are all well and remain healthy throughout this pandemic. Roderick is still at the hospital and slowly recovering. The resort is being well taken care of, making sure that it is secure 24 hours a day, all Engineering systems functioning and to the extent allowed by the local shelter in place measures, we are safely performing maintenance projects whenever we can.
Unfortunately, we cannot confirm at this point in time when Aruba will reopen for business. There are many factors that will influence this timeline, mainly the safety of the Aruban people and our visitors, the relaxation of the travel ban from the USA and the availability of airlift to the island.
Even so, once Tourism starts trickling back to the island, the process of recovery will be slow and unpredictable.
La Cabana’s financial projections through the end of the year are being updated on a regular basis. Besides the MF, La Cabana depends on additional peripheral revenues from Food & Beverage, Room Rental and Store leases to just name a few representing 43% of our total operating income. As of March 20th, those additional revenues are no longer there, in other words Zero.
Even with our massive reduction in expenses and where possible, pausing or reducing contractual obligations, we had to maintain the payroll of our staff which represents our single biggest expense.
Despite the announcement by the Minister of Labor in late March to implement the no work no pay policy, the Government of Aruba did not decree this measure as law and only offered a minimal subsidy on the condition that a business must prove that it has depleted all its financial reserves before applying for such a subsidy.
Additionally, the labor law guidelines outlined that a reduction in pay was only possible if the employee agreed to it and could not unilaterally be decided by the employer.
This was an important decision by your Board of Directors who wanted to ensure on one hand the well-being of our Associates, many of whom you have personally known for so many years and on the other hand, to avoid legal jeopardy upon re-opening the resort.
For this reason and because of this crisis being a Force Majeure, the Maintenance Fee cannot be refunded. However, and depending on the time it will take for Aruba to reopen its borders, there may be options that your Board of Directors will consider although no guarantee can be made at this point.
We know how hard you have worked and saved to enjoy your annual vacation in Aruba and truly hope you understand that we are doing our best to maintain your investment under these circumstances.
As we prepare to welcome you back, our focus now is to get the Team and the property ready for post COVID19 with all the adjustments and expectations of the new norm.
We are fortunate to have you as loyal owners and we know that you will be amongst the first to return to your home-away-from-home, but we also want you to be safe and comfortable once you decide to return.
Until then, we hope that you remain healthy and safe and look forward to seeing you all back soon.