COVID-19 Lockdown Cripples Hotel Business

Raymond Ozoji, Awka

The total shutdown of activities across the nation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has completely crippled the hospitality industry.

Hotels in the Anambra state capital Awka responded to the total lockdown because they were under lock and key except for skeletal movements within the premises by security operatives as well as those offering sanitary services.

Chief Titus Anigbogu, chairman and chief executive officer of Orthon Palace Hotel Ekwulobia and Orthon Residence and Suites Awka, told our correspondent that his hotels were completely shut down and out of business due to the coronavirus pandemic because no one knows who is a carrier of the disease.

Anigbogu said, “We don’t allow guests because nobody knows who is carrying this virus. I don’t want my hotel to be stigmatised. So we should wait until when the lockdown is over.

“We have not been open to guests so that we don’t host some of these foreigners that are coming in. Basically there are no customers. The hotel is just open but there is no business.”

Again Chief Dilim Okafor, Chairman Hotel Association Anambra-Central and owner of Tracy Hotels Limited Awka said hotels were in total lockdown for fear of habouring people living with the Covid-19.

Okafor explained that no hotel would be in business during this pandemic because everybody was apprehensive of the order, stressing that government did not close hotels but that the onus lay on hotel operators to shut down their hotels as a control measure in stemming the spread of the COVID-19.

He said, “All my staff are laid off until further notice. Nobody will walk into the hotels. If someone is checking in, where is he coming from? If he is coming from Enugu it is not possible. If he is coming from Lagos it is not possible. Health first and everybody just has to bear it.

“Government did not ask hotels to close but once there is lockdown on movements, nobody goes to hotels to do anything.”

Vice President Anambra State Hotel Association and chairman Jolly Hotels Awka, Chief Henry Onuorah stated that hotels in Awka complied with the total lockdown order on all activities including all forms of commerical activities.

Onuorah noted that there were no lodgings and accommodation and hotel owners no longer spent money on fuel because there were no customers to recover money spent on fuel and other miscellaneous expenditures.

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