Kenya: Norfolk Hotel Closed Indefinitely, All Employees Fired

Owners of The Fairmont Norfolk, an iconic hotel in Nairobi, announced Wednesday that it is closing its doors indefinitely and will fire all employees over the impact of coronavirus pandemic on the business.

In a memo to staff dated May 27, the country manager Mehdi Morad said owing to the uncertainty of the direction the global pandemic will take, they have been forced to terminate employee contracts and close their properties.

The Fairmont Hotels and Resorts said they are going to close Fairmont The Norfolk and Fairmont Mara Safari Cub as a result of the "spiral effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent flooding of Fairmont Mara Safari Club".

"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," Mr Morad said in the memo.

"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."

Employees will receive their termination letters by June 5.

Fairmont joins a growing list of hotels that have closed or suspended operations due to the effects of coronavirus.

Most five-star hotels rely on tourism, events, and conferences that have since dried up.

In March, Nairobi's Tribe Hotel, Ole Sereni, and DusitD2 stopped operations days after the government imposed travel restrictions and social distancing rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Other high-end hotels followed suit to cut costs as the pandemic drags on.

Restrictions on foreigners coming into Kenya have delivered a big hit to the country's tourism industry, which brought in Sh163.56 billion last year.

Most hotels have reported occupancy rates of well below 10 percent against 75 percent normally.

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