The Ghana Hotels Association is pleading with government to support the payment of salaries for hotel staff that have been sent home due to low patronage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hospitality and tourism industry is among the sectors severely hit by the pandemic as hotel rooms and conference rooms are almost empty due to restrictions on movement in and out of the country.
Already, some hotels in the Greater Accra Region have closed down sending hundreds of workers home.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the President of the Ghana Hotels Association, Dr. Edward Ackah-Nyamike, said hotel managers may be compelled to lay off more workers and stop paying salaries for this period if government does not step in.
“The stimulus package we’ve been talking about relates more to how to maintain our staff during this challenging period, because a lot of the hotels have been able to manage to pay salaries for March; but the challenge is going to be for April. I have heard quite a number of them have shut down. The big question is what happens to their staff. What we are saying is that, is it possible for the government to support us in paying some of these staff so that we keep them on the payroll, so that when things get better, we just pick up the pieces and move on,” he quizzed.
“We don’t want a situation where we layoff the workers after all the investments and training and then when things change, we are now going to recruit more and train them again. That is going to be far more expensive than maintaining them. We are not asking for full salary support, it could be some percentage of the salary so that they are able to keep body and soul together through these times,” he added.
Restaurant operators call for gov’t support
Already, some operators of restaurants in the national capital, Accra, say their operations have been severely hampered as they’re unable to host large numbers of people as the economic impact of the COVID-19 spreads across many sectors and businesses
They have called on government to offer them some relief such as a reduction in utility tariffs.
As at Sunday, April 5, 2020, Ghana’s case count of the novel Coronavirus stood at 214, with three deaths.
Six of the cases were confirmed in the Greater Accra Region while the remaining three were recorded in the Ashanti Region.
One of the patients who contracted the disease in the Greater Accra region, a 37-year-old woman, had no travel history, neither did she have any contact with another confirmed case.
In the Ashanti Region, one of the three new patients also had no travel history and had not come into contact with any of the already confirmed cases.