We are living extraordinary times, times which will change the world forever, with a before and after, like were The Black Plague, Spanish Flu, 9/11, The Great Depression, 2008 financial crash, and now Coronavirus.
No one is exempt or immune; nature has shown us just how vulnerable we are, and even though the experts gave warning about it in the past, the world was caught off guard and unprepared, some countries more than others.
In Dominican Republic the government response has been better than we anticipated considering the limitations, they are making their best efforts to attenuate the curve and provide medical and economic relief to its people. It has been very difficult to educate the 12 million people living here to stay home, especially those who live on a day by day basis to provide for their families, and in very and precarious living arrangements. We are now on our 3rd week of quarantine, which happens to be Holly Week, and the national emergency has been extended for seventeen more days, until the 8th of May. Many have lost their jobs, while other companies are making their best efforts to retain their employees as long as possible.
Tourism in the Dominican Republic is a very important sector of the country’s economy. More than 6 million tourists visit every year, making it the most popular tourist destination in the Caribbean and putting it in the top 5 overall in the Americas. The industry accounts for 11.6% of the nation’s GDP. Only the east coast region, popularly known as Punta Cana, hosts 45,000 hotel rooms, so just n imagine the extensity of the damage when all the boundaries where closed and 70,000 tourists went back to their homes in a lapse of 10 days.It certainly is very surreal to see the world come to a halt; it’s something like we have never experienced before.
It is also during times like these, where the nation comes together in a lending hand, not only the most profitable and solid companies, which have donated close to RD$500,000,000, but also small businesses and individuals, helping as best they can in their communities;from buying groceries and medicine for families in need, providing shelter, to something as simple as going to the supermarket for our most vulnerable population.
Grupo Puntacana and the Rainieri family, pioneers in the hotel, airport and real estate business in the east coast, for instance, made and outstanding RD$100,000,000(USD2,000,000 approx.) contribution in the fight against COVID19. This will be destined to buying equipment, medicine and utensils,mainly for the La Altagracia Sector, where Punta Cana is located, buttowardscountry in general.
As part of Puntacana Resort & Club and Puntacana Village, and I think we can speak on behalf of everyone who is living here at the moment, or who chose come to their vacation home at a time like this, we feel extremely fortunate to be here.
Although being in quarantine has been challenging, it has also been a time of introspection and gratitude for being able to provide for our families and work from home. We have also learned to further appreciate our low density and well-organized community, where it is safe to take a stroll outside for a breath of fresh air, go to the beach, walk the golf courses, or just enjoy our beautiful nature, always taking the precautionary measures. It has also given us food for thought about others who are struggling deeply every day and have lost loved.
I have no doubt that we will come out of this humbling life experience with a fortified spirit and we will be together again!