KAMPALA – More than 700 workers at Kampala Serena and Lake Victoria hotels have been sent on forced leave as the hospitality industry grapples with the coronavirus.
Sources at Lake Victoria Serena Hotel said starting April, 500 workers there will be sent on leave as the facility no longer receives guests, prompting it to close two restaurants as well as several rooms.
At Kampala Serena Hotel, Mr Anthony Charge, the hotel manager, told this website in an interview on Thursday, March 26 that they have almost zero occupancy.
“The most prudent thing has been to let staff take their pending leave. We hope that the situation normalizes soon,” Mr Chege said.
He added that the hotel has lost over 700.000 dollars in cancelled bookings due to coronavirus.
This comes after tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia announced closure of Speke Resort and Conference Centre, Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort as the sector is suffers massive financial collapse in the wake of COVID-19
The temporary closure takes effect from Friday, March 27, 2020 till “coronavirus issues is sorted out,”
Both hotels scooped international accolades at 2019 World Luxury Hotels Awards for their world class facilities and service excellence provided.
But with COVID-19 outbreak, Sudhir told the CEO EastAfrica Magazine that two other hotels, Dolphin Suites in Bugolobi and Forest Cottages in Naguru, would also be closed.
“It is really bad. We have decided to close Speke Resort and the Commonwealth Resort. We will reopen once Coronavirus issues sorted out,” he said adding: “For the others like Kabira Country Club, only a small section will remain open,” he was quoted by CEO Magazine as saying.
Sudhir, whose Ruparelia Group owns a string of hotels and country clubs and more than 200 commercial properties in the country has already sent home 1,000 workers and 2,000 will follow over the next few days.