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COVID-19 pandemic drives Serena, Fairmont out of business in Kenya

Serena hotel workers sent on indefinite unpaid leave


The economic impact of COVID-19 continues to hurt the hotel industry in Kenya and as a result, top names in the sector are now calling it a day.

Over the past week, Serena hotels sent home all employees in Kenya on an indefinite unpaid leave effective June 1.

The workers will only get an allowance of Sh10,000 for June as the pandemic continues to bite.

“Further to our memo dated 2nd April and the separate communication sent out to staff regarding April and May 2020 salaries, it is clear that our units will not open for business in the Months of June. The situation is being monitored and we hope and pray that we are able to open for business in the not too distant future,” Serena said in a statement signed by Managing Director Mahmud Janmohammed.

He added that to ensure the property remains in good shape amid the pandemic, a section of workers will be allowed to render their services on a rotational basis. They will be entitled to 30 percent of their June salary.

“Where staff are needed on a rotational basis to keep the properties serviced; the staff shall be paid for the days worked,” he added.

“It is our sincere hope that you will understand the desperate situation that we are all in and support this decision,” the statement noted.

A few days ago, the iconic Fairmont Hotels and Resorts shut down Fairmont The Norfolk and Fairmont Mara Safari Club and fired all employees.

Mehdi Morad, Country General Manager said that the decision to close the two establishments was informed by the uncertainty in knowing when COVID-19 pandemic will end.

“Due to the uncertainty of when and how the impact of the global pandemic will result in the business picking up in the near future, we are left with no option but to close down the business indefinitely,” Morad said in a memo.

He added: “It is therefore the decision of the management to terminate the services of all its employees due to ‘frustration’ by way of mutual separation and taking into account the loyalty and dedication the employees have put into the success of our company in the previous years.”


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