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Abuja hotel owners send workers home, lament low patronage

Some hotel owners in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have shut down major operations due to coronavirus. Others have embarked on skeletal service as few workers were on duty. A hotelier, Alhaji Aliu Badaki, said most of the hotels have shut down their activities and some of them that are still in operations have sent home 80 per cent of their staff because of the huge running cost. He said, their guests are reducing by the day while some are not recording any guest at all, adding that there are no events either, for halls to be used. If you keep telling the staff to come to the office, the business will run at a loss. Also, the President of the Hotel Owners Forum, Abuja (HOFA) Chief Chike C. Ezeudeh, has said some hotels have closed due to the impact of coronavirus.

Eeudeh said the occupancy rate at hotels in the nation’s capital is now between 20 and 30 per cent, forcing some hotel owners to close down. He said, “This is not the best time for us, we are only trying to survive and keep afloat and then we still have to pay our staff, it is not easy. Some have shut down but the greater per cent are still on. We do not know what is going to happen next. The impact is much on us. Guests are not coming in and movement has been curtailed we are only struggling.” Sources in some hotels in Wuse II said a greater number of the workers have been told to stay at home due to low patronage. “The tourism and hospitality industry is most hit because they depend on domestic and international people coming into Abuja and now everybody is running for their dear lives so it has seen a reduction in the type of guests we get,” he said. He said some hotels have already closed while those that are still operating have adopted various means to curtailing the spread of the virus. “Some now use an infrared thermometer to check people’s temperature, sanitizers for their hands. We have introduced another innovation by finding out their travel history and their contacts should anything happen we know who to contact,” he said.