“Harbor,” a luxury Southern California coronavirus retreat that would allow wealthy people to escape the virus in style, has been canceled. Oh really, but why? So sad.
But before we mock Harbor, an idea so ill-conceived it makes Fyre Festival look like a sound investment, let’s first explore what it was meant to be.
Billed as a “not-for-profit” two-month retreat “focused on weathering the storm during the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Harbor sought to offer moneyed guests a stylish respite from both coronavirus and poor people, where they “meet, mingle and collaborate with some of the brightest, forward-thinking individuals—no facemask required.”
According to the Guardian, Harbor guests would be treated to activities like drum circles and movie nights for the low price of just $3,000 to $6,000 per person per month. According to the “Why?” section of Harbor’s website,
“Harbor’s mission is to promote mental health of its members during the time when it matters the most. With most of our loved ones out of physical reach because of COVID-19, we were seeking a safe place fueled by compassion, creativity, and acceptance. Being trapped in lockdown for over three weeks and unable to find such a place, we decided to test a new model of co-living, co-working, and co-creating that we hope can one day serve as an inspiration for other safe harbors around the world.”
As for how Harbor intended to keep covid-19 from entering its gates, the website says that “quick and reliable testing is a pre-requisite, and that “publicly available tests are a must to protect our community.” Considering the desperate shortage of covid-19 tests across the country, it’s unclear how Harbor planned to supply tests for applicants.
Sadly, we’re never going to know for sure: Co-founder Jay Jideliov told the Guardian the project was being suspended following legal threats from the owners of the Palm Springs property whose rental home was being used to advertise the retreat.
“We do not know the folks from Harbor, I have no idea why they took an image of a house off our website,” a spokesman from Purveyors of Leisure said. “I frankly do not think their plan is very good and I would not rent to them if they called us.”
Jideliov and another co-founder, Mikhail Larionov, confirmed that Harbor was no more, telling the Guardian that “We have decided to close the Harbor open call based on the latest recommendations from the White House and the CDC, and will provide updates as the situation develops.”
In addition to being both in violation of California’s social distancing mandates and ethically atrocious, Harbor sounded incredibly lame. Board games? I can do that at home, thanks.