By Jimoh Babatunde
Hoteliers in Lagos State have called on the state government to jettison the proposal regarding the reopening of hotels dubbed ‘Register to Reopen’, and advocated “reopening protocols” for the sector.
Speaking on the effect of COVID-19 on their businesses, on Thursday, the hoteliers, on the platform of Hotel Owners and Managers Association of Lagos (HOMAL), said its members are not willing to be subjected to rigorous bureaucratic and cost-laden reopening exercise.
The President of the association, Chief Samuel Alabi, said: “We are grateful to the Federal Government for the lifting of restriction on the operation of hotels and restaurants within the hotel.
“Nevertheless, our members’ attention has been drawn to the Lagos State Government proposal regarding the reopening of hotels dubbed ‘Register to Reopen’.
“While we support the state government’s intention to combat the spread of coronavirus in the state, however, our members are not willing to be subjected to rigorous bureaucratic and cost-laden reopening exercise.
“We propose that government should release Reopening Protocols as done for manufacturing, retail shops, banks and other sectors that were allowed even under the relaxed restriction regime for compliance by our members.”
He said going by the large numbers of hotels in Lagos, many of their members feared that it will not come to their turn weeks after being granted permission to reopen their business if the ‘Register to Reopen’ policy to stands.
“We hope the government will accede to our request in the overall interest of the economic development of Lagos State.”
While calling for a palliative for the sector, Alabi said going by the large number of employees that could be affected by paucity of funds in the sector, failure to receive government palliatives could result in a massive loss of jobs and the resultant increase in crime rate in the state.
“During the lockdown and even under the relaxed lockdown regime,” he said, “manufacturing, banking and some other key sectors of the economy were allowed to continue in operations subject to certain guidelines, while all hotels and restaurants were mandated to close down.
“This abrupt closure had engendered total loss of revenue on members’ businesses.”
He said to bring their members back to business, government should consider some palliatives like the creation of Tourism Development Funds for their members, fund reopening expenses and repurchasing existing loans that could not be serviced due to cessation of revenue from their business among others.
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