I manage a luxurious three-bedroom villa in Anguilla, which is rented through Airbnb. It is a beautiful island popular amongst American visitors, but our guests also travel from Canada, UK, and Europe.

We pride ourselves on the speed of response, excellent communication, and professionalism.

We have built excellent relationships with our suppliers from the cleaner, pool maintenance firm to the local car hire, which is why we are one booking away from receiving super host status.

We were fully booked for the first six months of this year, and then COVID-19 came along. One by one, our bookings were cancelled. Our last guest, whose booking ended on the 10th of March, struggled to get home as the ports closed, and their flights were grounded. They returned home on the 4th of April.

Although Anguilla has an airport, most people fly into St Martin and get either the ferry or private speed boat over to Anguilla.

The impact of COVID has been swift and fierce. International travel stopped, and overnight a small developing country’s income stream ceased to exist. Speed boat owners and their employees lost their livelihood. The business for the car rental firms, restaurants, and local suppliers slowly dried up.

By the 20th March, the same thing happened in the UK; retailers, leisure centres, and hospitality industries were ordered to close their businesses. Isolation, quarantine and social distancing became the order of the day.

We decided that we wanted to maintain our relationship with our partners and suppliers beyond COVID, and so Furloughed our cleaner privately because, unlike countries like Germany, Netherlands, UK, and Spain, to name a few, there is no Furlough coming to Anguilla.

During the pandemic, the Anguilla government, with only 3 cases and zero deaths (to date), has restricted the licenses of Fishermen – which has caused great consternation. Also, they recently introduced several initiatives to help the poor and vulnerable and provided small interest loans to help businesses get back on track. As another example, the Dominica Republic has a temporary aid program for low-income families or those who are poor or vulnerable.

First-hand, I could feel and see the impact of our revenue being affected. But the arising question in my mind was how these developing countries would cope? How will the taxi drivers, hoteliers, restaurateurs, and tour guides survive?

We are worried about the impact COVID-19 has had on larger corporations – Airlines, Major Retailers and Food Chains – with regards to jobs and the supply chain in general, but in the case of developing countries, will they be there at the end of it all?  The impact of this pandemic could be even more long-lasting and catastrophic.

For example, the businesses whose livelihood relies on cruise ships several times during the year. The music festival or other events which draw huge crowds – like the Annual 4-day Regatta, which is held in May.

In the UK, there are schemes of support – Furloughing, Universal Credit, Self-employment Income Support Scheme for the self-employed, and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). All of these initiatives will go some way with helping the slow but gradual recovery

But, I want to suggest that we spare a thought for the developing countries whose governments cannot provide the support that mirrors what we have in the UK, Europe, and other countries in the West.

Please spare a thought for the small businesses and independents who have no means of support, no welfare state, and no income until COVID-19 turns the tide, because for them until then there is no Furlough coming.