The Fairmont Norfolk Hotel, Nairobi. The hotel has been shut down after 116 years.

The Fairmont Hotel Group on Thursday resorted to shutting down two of its hotels including the iconic Nairobi Fairmont Norfolk indefinitely over the impact COVID-19 has had on its business.

Fairmont also closed the doors of the Mara Safari Club in a decision that forced the company to sack all its employees working in the two hotels in one swoop. The Norfolk had been operational for 116 years.

In a memo to staff seen by Business Today, Fairmont Country Manager for Kenya Mehdi Morad said owing to the uncertainty over the trajectory Coronavirus will take, the company has been forced to shut down the properties indefinitely.

“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,” wrote Mr. Morad.

“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.” he added

The country manager stated that the employees will be issued with that termination letters by Friday next week adding that they will be entitled to one month’s pay as well as their pension contributions.

“Employees will be entitled to one month’s pay in lieu of notice. You will be entitled to your pension as per the rules of the Scheme,” added Mr Morad.

Hospitality on Its Knees

Fairmont joins the bandwagon of hotels that have closed or suspended operations due to effects of Coronavirus.

The hospitality sector is heavily reliant on tourism and the aviation sectors which are the biggest sector casualties of the pandemic.

Tribe Hotel, Ole Sereni and DusitD2 have all stopped operations over lack of business compounded by the government’s decision to limit movement to curb spread of the virus in the country.

In April, Hemingways Hotel Group suspended its operations in Ol Seki Mara and Hemingways Nairobi properties due to the Coronavirus pandemic but retained all its 400-plus employees, albeit with slashed salaries.

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