Fears of mass retrenchments as 15 hotels cease operations indefinitely

Monday, March 30th, 2020 00:00 |
Dusit 2.

Bernard Gitau and Harrison Kavisu

Fifteen high-end hotels have  suspended operations following a government’s directive that restaurants should only offer take-away services.

The move puts the jobs of more than 10,000 employees at risk.

Apart from job losses, the closure of the big hotels has put the tourism sector, which is a leading foreign exchange earner, in jeopardy.

In statements to the media yesterday, the Serena Group, Sarova Group of Hotels , Sopa Lodges, Dusit-D2 and Eka were among leading establishments that announced suspension of their services for different periods of time. 

Some of the employees will be sent home on half-salary or unpaid leave while others are yet to know their fate.

“It is with a heavy heart that we advise that the Serena Lodges and Camps will temporarily cease operations until 15 June 2020,” read a statement from the Serena Hotels.

Operating in Kenya and Tanzania, Serena Hotels has closed 10 lodges and camps. The group runs 24 properties in the region.

Further notice

Sarova hotels and resorts has suspended operations in four hotels and lodges indefinitely.

The affected hotels and lodges include Sarova Woodlands in Nakuru, Sarova Lion Hill at the Lake Nakuru National Park, Sarova Mara Game Camp and Sarova Taita Hills Game Lodge.

However, city centre-based Nairobi Sarova Stanley, Sarova Panafric, Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa Mombasa, Sarova Shaba Game Lodge and Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge in Taita Taveta remain open.

In Naivasha, Enashipai Resort announced it was ceasing operations until further notice.

“As our responsibility to be part of the national solution to stop the spread of the coronavirus, we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend all our hotel operations from Friday, 27th March, 2020 until further notice,” said Enashipai Resort and Spa director James Mwangi.

Though the coastal region remains the hardest hit as the sector largely depends on tourism, Nairobi, Nakuru, Narok are among the counties said to be worst affected.

The Kenya Hotel Keepers and Caterers Association executive director Sam Ikwaye said about 10,000 workers in the hospitality industry have been affected by the coronavirus induced closures.

“Hospitality industry businesses are grinding to a halt due to the Covid-19 outbreak globally,” he said.

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