The deadly virus has now infected almost half-a-million people in the world, killing more than 19,000 people in the process, with many countries, including the UK, going into lockdown to curb the effects. But, some of the world’s super-rich have taken measures even further to completely isolate themselves from society through outrageously lavish doomsday bunkers. Kitted-out with bowling alleys, movie theatres and gun-ranges, some of these safe spaces can cost millions.
Most come equipped with special NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) air-filtration systems which are also used in hospitals to suck in air and remove harmful particles.
Some also come with a secure safe room with a year’s supply of food in the event of anarchy on the streets.
Gary Lynch, general manager of Texas-based Rising S Bunkers, said he cannot keep up with the demand.
He told the New York Times last week: “As unpopular as coronavirus is, it’s getting the publicity of a Backstreet Boys hit in the Nineties.
A modern-day Noah’s Ark
“People have an infatuation with it, movie theatres are common.
“We built one in California that has a shooting range, swimming pool and bowling alley.”
Mr Lynch also confirmed a separate purchase for 1,000 of their NBC systems have been made, at a cost of $3,000 (£2,300) each last week.
The company has 24 standard options of their bunkers, with the smallest being 8 by 12 feet, complete with a bunk bed, air filtration system, kitchen counter and toilet, it costs $39,500 (£33,233).
Other models include a 2,400-square-foot bunker for $539,000 (£453,495) called the Eagle and a complex with 42 bunk beds, 15 private bedrooms, a gun room and panic room for $1.009 million (£850,000) called the Fortress.
But the most expensive, dubbed the Aristocrat, comes in at an eye-watering $8.35million (£7.4million) and has a gym, sauna, swimming pool, hot tub, greenhouse and garage.
Mr Lynch said it takes six to eight workers one to two months to build a 10-foot by 50-foot unit and added that the most popular buyers are self-made business owners.
He added: “In 2008, I talked to a guy for four or five months who was thinking about purchasing a shelter.
“I think he probably used the coronavirus to convince his wife, because he finally just bought one.
“That’s how most buyers are, they’re not in it for one single reason.”
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Ron Hubbard, CEO of Atlas Survival Shelters, echoed the sentiment, saying the outbreak has helped buyers on the fence decide to order a shelter.
He’s promoting a model called the Safe Cellar, which is a secret space installed under a 28-inch concrete slab inside a house.
It can be tucked under the kitchen, living room, closet or garage and boasts a safe room, wine cellar, gun room and tornado shelter.
But, it’s not just private bunkers that are gaining popularity.
California-based company Vivos – which translates to “living” — sells exclusive spots in community shelters in secure locations around the globe.
Its underground shelter in Indiana has room for 80 people with 120 square feet each.
For $35,000 (£29,500), it promises one year of autonomous survival with queen-sized bunk beds, a 30,000-gallon fuel tank and food for 12 months.
Vivos enquiries and applications are up 1,000 percent year-over-year, and sales are up 400 percent.
The company’s flagship bunker, Europa One, is located in Germany.
The 76-acre compound was carved from bedrock under a 400-foot mountain by the Soviet Union during the Cold War and owner Robert Vicino calls it “a modern-day Noah’s Ark”.
In addition to pools, theatres, gyms and bars, it includes 228,000 square feet of secure living areas, 43,000 square feet of above-ground space and three miles of tunnels.
Private apartments start at €2million (£1.8million).
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