The Bermuda Hotel Association (BHA) has announced a new joint initiative with the organizers of Bermuda Pride and Liberty Specialty Markets, to provide support to hotel workers hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with grocery vouchers.

A spokesperson said: “Bermuda Pride (with the support of OUTBermuda) kick-started the initiative by donating $5,000 to support their friends in the hotel industry.

“In recognition of the gift the BHA has agreed to contribute a further $11,600.

“Liberty Specialty Markets and a number of private individuals subsequently agreed to join the initiative, which will see $22,600 used to purchase grocery vouchers for those identified by BHA member hotels as being most in need. The aim is to have the vouchers distributed over the coming week.”

Organisers believe that “it is vitally important at this time to support those who have been adversely affected financially by the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19”.

“The global pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the hotel industry across the world, with many hotels in Bermuda having been forced to close since mid-March.

“Bermuda Pride’s organizers believe this community supporting initiative is consistent with the spirit of Pride.”

The organisers said: “We have had to rethink our Pride plans for 2020.

“There was such an overwhelming level of support for last year’s event from the BHA and Bermuda’s hospitality workers and we wanted to honour that support by doing something in return.

“We are unlikely to have an event in 2020 like last year’s. With the blessing and support of our sponsors we have been working with the BHA to provide financial support for hotel staff who may be struggling because of being laid off. As we won’t have many of the overhead costs associated with a large gathering for Bermuda Pride in 2020 we can use some of our resources to hopefully make life a little easier for others.”

Tim Morrison, President of the Bermuda Hotel Association, added: “At the Bermuda Hotel Association, we realise that this is an incredibly stressful and trying time for many of our colleagues, with the hotel industry being impacted like never before.

“We were incredibly touched by the generosity shown by Bermuda Pride and our member hotels through the BHA are happy to be able to provide this support to those hardest hit on our teams by this pandemic.”