Some entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry have expressed fear of new coronavirus infections (COVID-19) might lead to more job losses with serious economic implications in 2021.
Already, countries globally are experiencing the rippling and devastating effects of new COVID-19 infections as many have locked down to control the spread of the virus.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), the entrepreneurs, including hoteliers and restaurant operators in the Sunyani Municipality, called on the citizenry to comply with government directives on the COVID-19 to avert any possible spread.
Strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, they noted remained the surest remedy to fight the pandemic and appealed to the public to wear nose masks and to also use hand sanitizers.
Some employees in the industry were laid off while others had their salaries cut, following the outbreak of the pandemic in the country.
Though national COVID-19 cases dropped due to good and realistic interventions of the government, new infections are resurfacing because of people’s attitude and behaviour to the health and safety protocols.
A GNA survey showed major hotels and restaurants in the municipality were undertaking staff rationing, while small ones had cut their staff strength to 50 percent.
They indicated that despite a dip in the COVID-19 figures, patronage was still low.
Mr Frank Osei-Bonsu, the Proprietor of Moonlite Hotel, around the Sunyani Airport, noted it was extremely difficult to maintain and pay monthly salaries of employees, saying the new wave of infection could worsen the situation.
At the Tropical and Tata hotels, as well as Bob Pierce guest house, attendants told the GNA patronage had slowed with serious repercussions on their operations.
Mrs Ophelia Osei-Bonsu, the proprietor of the ‘Sweet Touch’ restaurant, a popular food joint at the Sunyani central business district, said she had laid off seven out of the 17 workers because of poor patronage.
Chop bar operators told the GNA they feared a new wave of COVID-19 infections would collapse their businesses.
Meanwhile, the Sunyani Municipal Assembly has warned the public to wear their nose masks or face shields in public places.
Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive, indicated a taskforce would from December 23 arrest people who failed to wear the masks.
She said the COVID-19 education had gone down well with the people, saying there would not be any need to advertise operations of the taskforce anymore as people were deliberately not wearing the nose masks or face shields.