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Hard Rock Hotel in Dominican Republic to remove liquor dispensers from minibars

The hotel said that the decision was independent from the series of American deaths in the country.
Credit: Manuel Vidal/Invision/AP
A view of the room of the Hard Rock Cafe ahead of a press conference announcing the talent lineup for the Hard Rock Rising Barcelona global music festival at Hard Rock Cafe, on Thursday, March 19, 2015 in Barcelona. (Photo by Manuel Vidal/Invision for Hard Rock International/AP Images)

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino resort in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic, is removing liquor dispensers from guest room minibars.

Several American tourists have died while vacationing in the Dominican Republic in the past year. Autopsy results released by the country's Ministry of Public Health said that the deaths were unrelated and stemmed from "natural causes and pre-existing conditions." 

Despite the results, the Hard Rock Hotel said in a statement that it was implementing changes "based on guest feedback." In addition to the removal of liquor dispensers in guest room minibars, the hotel is also contracting with a U.S. based healthcare facility at it's existing on-site clinic to provide medical care for guests. 

The Ministry of Health inspected the hotel in its investigation of the tourist deaths. Hard Rock Hotel is also contracting a U.S. based 3rd party lab to provide inspections and lab testing of the food, beverage and public spaces in the hotel. 

"The safety and health of our guests is now, and has always been, our highest priority," the hotel said in a statement. "Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana follows internationally recognized regulations regarding guest health, sanitation and security. We implement rigorous food and beverage protocols, including purchasing products from U.S. licensed and reputable vendors, as well as daily inspections of all products served throughout the hotel. Additionally, our team members are trained to inspect all supplies, equipment and products that enter the property. The property employs more than 70 security personnel per shift and has hundreds of cameras on property to provide the utmost safety for guests and team members."

More than six million tourists visit the Dominican Republic every year, with a quarter million staying at the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana. Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia emphasized to reporters that the deaths in the Dominican Republic were not unusual and were unrelated.

"We're very sorry for the families' grief," he said. But "there is no wave of mysterious deaths."