The hospitality sector among the toughest hit by the corona virus in the country and globally following the lockdowns and restriction orders to curb the spread of covid-19
On Monday April 27 the government through the ministry of health announced the reopening of hotels and restaurants, giving out strict measure and guidelines that hoteliers should follow in order to reopen.
The restrictions included the testing of workers, maintaining social distance of 1.5 metres between seats and avoiding self-service.
With many hotels still picking up on reopening and ensuring they meet the measures as stipulated by the government, a number of the sector managements are still struggling to meet the measures.
“It’s been a tough period for us but the government move reopen the sector was thoughtful. The hotels across the country have offered a majority of Kenyans employment,” said Miss Anne Wachira, acting PR officer at Aturkan Hotel in Kitale.
The government further reduced the cost of tests to hotelier’s to Ksh.1000 per test, a move that was confirmed by the tourism cabinet secretary Najib Balala, who also reiterated that the previous measures stated by the ministry of health remains in place.
“The cost of testing is quite expensive for many, despite the fact that many hotels have reduced the number of workers still the cost is high and that it is being done after every 14 days many cannot manage that. The government should reconsider, based on the fact that we have not been in operation for quite a while and carrying out that test after two weeks will be expensive on us considering the fact that we don’t know how long the virus will be with us.” she further added.
Aturkan hotel has reduced a number of its workers and resorted to take away services, with employees working in shift to maintain the social distance.
The management also ensures that the clients reaching out for their services have sanitized and their temperatures tested before being allowed in.
Some restaurants have resorted to offer accommodation facilities to their workers to avoid movement in and out.
“Currently we are working on orders to reduce loss and food spoilage. And you can see there is minimal activity going on. Business is low due to the current working hours as stated by the government and also no lodging services. We have people reporting during their shift hours and some have been staying at home, to resume when things get back normal,” she further said.
The hotels were closed in mid-March and are yet to reopen under strict guidelines with the government saying move was meant to reduce further effects on the country’s economy.
Hotel owners still hope that the testing charge can further be reduced from Ksh.1000 from if they are to carry on the tests after every 14 days.