Hoteliers unsure how long business can last if MCO is prolonged

Johnny Wong

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SIBU, March 30: A prolonged movement control order (MCO) will only heap more problems on local hoteliers who are already struggling since the order came into effect on March 18, says Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association chairman Johnny Wong.

He highlighted that most hotels here are struggling to find resources to pay staff salaries as they have hardly had any business for almost two weeks, and they cannot simply let go their staff as they must follow the labour law.

The double whammy of high expenses and declining revenue may mean some of them will have little choice but to shutter their operations.

“Some are still open but with very poor business as people are not allowed to travel, they will also have to close shop also. We are hoping for the best for this pandemic to end soon,” he added.

Meanwhile, hotel general manager Lang Jai Lee that since his hotel had been in lockdown starting March 18, the housekeeping department has been very active doing general cleaning.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is causing a huge dip in business for hotels since the MCO was enforced two weeks ago. During this MCO period most hotel departments are doing cleaning and sanitising,” he shared, adding the pandemic had also affected businesses related to the hotel industry such as hotel catering.

The assistance from the state and federal governments were of great relief for the hotel industry, he pointed out.

“The government is giving us a one-off exemption of licensing fee for one year while the state government is also providing discount for electricity. These will help us a lot to tide over the difficult time,” he said. — DayakDaily