Offer free Coronavirus testing, hoteliers tell State

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The Uasin Gishu Hotel Owners Association now wants the government to test their staff for COVID-19 free of charge.

Their chairman Kevin Okwara said testing of employees is costly and they cannot afford it without government support.

Already the sector has suffered due to business paralysis as a result of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has rendered our businesses unprofitable and the economy is in shackles,” Okwara said.

“While we think testing is very critical, as hotel owners, we find it very expensive. You cannot expect us to get Sh 1,000 for testing of every hotel attendant after every two weeks. It is totally unaffordable,” Okwara told the press today in Eldoret Town.

The members further lamented that there are no COVID-19 testing facilities in the county and wondered where they will take their staff for testing.

“We are aware of the pronouncement about testing of hotel staff but where is it happening? We have gone to various government institutions to request whether they can do the testing but none are committal,” added Okwara.

They asked the government to allow hotels in counties that have not registered any or minimal COVID-19 cases to be allowed to operate while strictly taking precautions.

“Counties that have registered higher cases of COVID-19 like Mombasa should not be used to dictate how other counties are going to run their affairs especially where no cases have been identified.

We demand to be allowed to operate like other businesses so that our children and our workers can eat,” added Okwara.

The chairman said they feel that the industry is being targeted unfairly since other businesses had returned to nomalcy amid the Corona virus directives.

“Supermarkets, agrovets, hardwares, banks, and government offices are operating as usual. Why are hotels not allowed to operate like all these other businesses and asked to implement the health directives uniformly?” Okwara posed.

He said some of hotels have so much space and ensuring social distancing was an easy thing to do.

“Why are we being sacrificed while other businesses are in operation? We need fair treatment like key industry players in the county,” he said.

World Health Organisation (WHO) has already warned that the virus is endemic.

PHOTO: Kevin Okwara who is the Uasin Gishu Hotel Owners Association chair with other members addressing press in Eldoret Town, today.

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