How we at Cinnamon Maldives handled the Covid-19 lockdown
By Rellyn Zaballero
As a staff member at Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts Maldives, I can say we deeply felt the adverse effects to the Travel & Hospitality Industry brought about by the COVID-19 lockdown across the world. The Maldives closed its borders in April 2020, resulting in many hotels and resorts being forced out of business. Sri Lankan Airlines and other international carriers ceased to function as well. Consequently, our hotels & resorts in the Maldives closed temporarily in an attempt to flatten the COVID-19 curve. Nevertheless, we were able to take engage in numerous initiatives to remain positive, productive and healthy despite the lockdown. .
To keep staff morale positive, the local staff were given the opportunity to go back to their homes. John Keells Group facilitated all arrangements for the majority of the expatriates among the staff, including myself, who chose to stay at the resort rather than risking our life travelling back to our home countries; their efforts in looking after our well-being was a great source of comfort to us during these trying times. Meanwhile, Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives developed a video titled “A Tribute to the World” to lift the spirits of our valued guests and people around the world. It reminded them that we keep them in our thoughts and prayers and we are all in this together.
With more free time on our hands, we took the opportunity to be productive and focus on our professional life beyond work-related activities. We took part in many self-study and online/ e-learning courses, as well as a classroom-based workshop specifically for the Food and Beverage Department. We utilized skills that we had learnt in cocktail mixing, bartending and flairtending, and were encouraged by the leadership to engage in training workshops. Personally, I do not look at the lockdown as boring or pressurizing; my goal is to keep myself sane and entertained! There was a fun quiz competition held at Velifushi and Hakuraa Huraa to hone every employee’s knowledge about the Cinnamon brand and we also busied ourselves with celebrating the 50th World Earth Day at Cinnamon Velifushi & Hakuraa Huraa. All the resort teams contributed to the worldwide campaign by planting trees on the islands, emphasizing the role each one of us plays to save our planet.
Keeping ourselves active, fit and healthy is a common practice across the Maldivian Resorts Sector. We took part in different recreational sports activities, such as volleyball, football, swimming, surfing, yoga and Zumba. We are committed to keeping the resort environment clean and beautiful, especially our beaches. We make it a point to maintain and improve of our own kitchen and garden, which supports our vegetables supplies at both Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa and Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon. This lockdown made us realize the importance of sustainable consumption. Our Training & Development Team strengthened our awareness about safety precautions and stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This allows every Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts ambassador in the Maldivian sector to be ready to welcome our guests to our respective resorts in the new normal.