ZOMBO. The proprietor of the famous Daudi courts hotel in Paidha town, Zombo district has said his hotel business is at the brink of collapse even after the government eased a number of restrictions on COVID-19 preventive measures including re-opening of hotels across the country.
Mr David Oyergiu Owino, the proprietor of Daudi courts hotel said his clients have abandoned the hotel on account of the two Chinese who tested positive for COVID-19 after a two-day quarantine at the facility in March this year.
Owino recounted that a total of six Chinese nationals and two Ugandans had escaped from Kampala before completing their 14-day mandatory quarantine.
He said they were intercepted by a joint security team at Padea custom in Jangokoro Sub County, Zombo district as they attempted to cross into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
He revealed that at least 13 hotel workers, 3 of whom are his children and 3 relatives who were at the hotel when the incident occurred were also quarantined at the hotel for two weeks as they waited for the results of their samples.
He said it was too costly to maintain them during the quarantine since they were not in business.
According to Owino, the news of the two Chinese testing positive for COIVD-19 has negatively impacted on his hotel business and the number of clients have drastically dropped ever since the government approved the re-opening of hotels.
“I got a call from the hotel manager that the security team and COVID-19 task force had brought some Chinese to be accommodated at the hotel and I took it lightly until they tested positive for COVID-19 and that is when I realized we had landed into trouble”, he recounted.
He said his hotel has practically lost business because even after the government easing some restrictions like re-opening of hotels, people are still cautious of coming to the hotel and there are days when they register zero customers.
Owino said among others, the hotel lost outside catering contracts with Centenary bank, Paidha branch and this has greatly reduced its profit margin.
“The district taskforce disinfected the hotel but people are still afraid of taking our services up to now and above all, they accuse us of bringing the virus”, he said with remorse.
Owino said his family and hotel staff got the first pinch of the pandemic and needed counselling but this was not done, a situation that has continued to socially and economically haunt them.
“The future of this hotel hangs in balance and yet there are thousands of people who directly or indirectly benefit from it”, he said.
He, however, wondered if the government has recovery plans for businesses that were affected the most during the lockdown.
Mr John Onen, a businessman in Paidha town said it was not only Daudi Courts hotel that got affected the most but also other businesses particularly those that were plying the DRC routes.
He acknowledged the devastating effect of the pandemic on Daudi courts which he said was still being avoided by most people except visitors.
“It is true Daudi courts Ltd is being seen as the virus’ hot point just because the Chinese were accommodated there before being transported back to Kampala”, Onen said.
Onen added that up to now, the people who knew of the Chinese don’t believe that Daudi Courts premises have been successfully disinfected, an attitude he believes will continue to affect the hotel.
He appealed to the government to identify the worst affected business entities like hotels and public transport among others for deliberate interventions to enable them cope up.
By the time the West Nile Web reporter visited the hotel, only the proprietor and a couple of workers were cited in the once busy hotel premises.