By Ozioruva Aliu, Benin-city
Despite an appeal by Governor Godwin Obaseki for employers of labour not lay off workers because of the adverse effect of COVID-19, investigation yesterday showed the disease has started taking its toll on businesses in Benin, the capital with some Hotels, Lounges and Bars closing down owing to no patronage and laying off of staff.
A very popular three-star hotel has since closed down as the proprietor complained that at a time he had only two customers yet he was running on generator to give them comfort.
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Seyi Abiodun, a manager of one of a popular hotel along Etete area of Benin, said that the decision to shut down was painful. He said that before the decision to shut down, the hotel with 106 rooms, could hardly boast of guests in 6 rooms on a daily basis.
According to him, “It was not an easy decision for us especially against the background of hard-working staff we have. But like we told them, we had to close down for now in order to remain in business after the pandemic.
Another popular hotel along Airport road had to close down for lack of patronage. A worker in the hotel who pleaded anonymity said eighty per cent of the workforce were asked to stop for the now until things normalised.
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A hotelier along Ihama Road, GRA in Benin City, Bob Osato said the situation is not any different with most hotels within the same axis.
He said “It is sad that this is happening but what can one do than to wait for normal business activities to resume. These people (Workers) that were asked to go for the now will definitely be recalled when we are back on our feet again.
“Hotel is not the only business affected by this COVID-19 matter, you can even see that there is a lull in business one usually experience along Ihama, mostly at nights. I think the issue of safety comes first comes any other thing,” he stated.