Mar 22, 2020

Why were 3 luxury hotels given for quarantine process? Featured

Three prominent luxury tourist hotels in Waskaduwa, Trincomalee and Negombo were yesterday (21) offered to the government as quarantine centers, in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis which has gripped the country.

Citrus Waskaduwa of Citrus Leisure PLC , Trinco Blu of John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), and Club Hotel Dolphin in Waikkal owned by Hemas Holdings PLC were offered for the state quarantine process in this manner.

Citrus Waskaduwa, owned by media mogul Dilith Jayaweera, said in a press release that it had arrived at this decision in consideration of the valiant efforts made by the Government, the health sector, and the security forces to control this situation in the country.

“In keeping with the group’s nation mindedness ethos, the Board decided to offer its 150-room resort, Citrus Waskaduwa, to be used as a quarantine centre by the National Operations Centre to Prevent Covid-19 on a temporary basis, should the need arise,” it said.

The statement added that, in the event that the authorities decide to use the resort temporarily, the resort will be completely decontaminated in keeping with international standards before normal resort operations commence.

Meanwhile, JKH Chairman Krishan Balendra has written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday (21), offering the 81-room Trinco Blu by Cinnamon, as part of the broader public-private sector collaborative effort to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Club Hotel Dolphin, which was similarly offered, is a 4-star property with 154 rooms situated in Waikkal. It is owned by Serendib Hotels Plc, which is part of Hemas Holdings Plc.

Meanwhile, Dhammika Perera, widely regarded as Sri Lanka's number one businessman, yesterday donated Rs. 70 million worth of emergency medical care facilities from his personal fund to mitigate the Covid-19 spread.

Accordingly, The ICU has provided 485 hospital beds, including six ventilation beds and 169 beds for intensive care.

The reason?

Meanwhile, doubts have been raised over the lack of a clear plan on what will happen to staff of these hotels.

Economists believe that due to the Covid-19 calamity, it will take a long time for the local tourism industry to revive. They also say that the collapse of the Colombo Stock Exchange will further lead to hotels being made into quarantine centers.

Meanwhile, the Business Times report that some Sri Lanka’s hotels are likely to close by the end of the month or until tourists leave the country while some others opt to remain open.

“We are currently staying open and we and most others too are open till the end of the month – we might be shutting down, a decision we are still debating,” Sri Lanka Hotels Association President Sanath Ukwatte had told the Times Online on Friday.

He had noted that there would be no point of having hotels open; some staff will be sent on paid and unpaid leave as weddings and other events have either been postponed or cancelled.

Currently there are only a few guests and whoever wishes to leave can do so and those willing to stay on will be accommodated, he said.

At present, SriLankan Airlines, Emirates, Edelweiss and Qatar Airways are among those operating flights to and out of the country.

However, some hotels like the Jetwing group are looking at staying open with a skeletal staff in operation even though guests may leave.