In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, award-winning hotels Matachica Resort and GAÏA Riverlodge in Belize continue their community programs to benefit both future guests and their Belizean community at large. Though the total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Belize remains relatively low for Central America, both resorts remain temporarily closed. In addition to expanding the gardens at GAÏA Riverlodge for both staff and community, sister site Matachica Resort continues to extend housing and a food pantry program for staff.
Community Efforts amid COVID-19
In an effort to provide local produce to feed staff and the larger community, GAÏA Riverlodge has expanded its organic garden program. What began in 2014 as a sustainability-driven project with the aim of introducing guests to natively grown fruits and vegetables has since increased in scope. Today, the garden supplies those most in need, including the elderly community at the Octavia Waight Center in San Ignacio, Cayo. Both hotels are continuing to safely employ a select number of staff members to preserve and protect the properties during the temporary closure. Since staff members were unable to leave a quarantined Ambergris Caye during Belize’s initial state of emergency, Matachica Resort also offered free housing to several staff members during this period.
Fast forward 6 months later, GAÏA is continues to provide produce from its garden to feed both employees and their families; that is, in addition to produce for the Octavia Waight Centre. Matachica is also providing food deliveries to staff throughout the island; food packages include a two-week supply of groceries per family.
Sister Properties: GAÏA Riverlodge & Matachica Resort
“Making the decision to temporarily close our hotels was difficult,” said Daniel Lighter, hotelier and owner of Matachica and GAÏA Riverlodge. “However, as a participant in hospitality and tourism, we realized that we have an important role to play; and an example to set. We are utilizing our resources to help both our staff and others in need during this trying time.”
Both GAÏA Riverlodge and Matachica closed to the public on March 23 for the safety and well-being of all guests, staff, and local community. However as it stands, both properties plan to re-open for international guests on November 1, 2020.