Friday 10 April 2020
News ID: 77152
Publish Date: 16 March 2020 - 22:12
BEIRUT (Dispatches) – Pierre Ashkar, president of the Syndicate of Hotel Owners in Lebanon, said that hotels in the country have laid off around 17,000 employees given the economic slowdown and COVID-19 outbreak, local media say.
"Around 90 percent of hotels in Lebanon have stopped 95 percent of their operations and services and the remaining employees are paid half of their salaries or even less,” Ashkar was quoted as saying by Elnashra, an online independent newspaper.
He said that occupancy rate in Lebanon’s hotels currently stands at 5 percent while many hotels have closed down to reduce expenses.
Lebanon is currently witnessing paralysis due to the outbreak of COVID-19 with most businesses asked by the government to shut their doors down in an attempt to curb further spread of the virus.
Beirut’s usually congested streets were largely free of cars and pedestrians stayed away from its seafront Corniche as government measures to curb the spread of coronavirus took effect with varying degrees of success on Monday.
Police ordered closed several shops that were open in Beirut in violation of the shutdown order, and a group of swimmers were cleared from the beach in the southern city of Sidon, Reuters journalists said.
The government declared a medical state of emergency on Sunday, announcing a shutdown that included most public institutions and private companies as it looks to rein in the virus that has infected 109 people.
It also ordered the closure of borders, ports and airport from March 18-29 and said Lebanese are obliged to remain at home except for matters of "extreme necessity”.
Beirut traffic was unusually light on typically heavily congested roads.
A security official said compliance with the government decision was still lacking, noting that some people had no choice but to go to work.
"The traffic is definitely less but there are still cars in the streets,” he said "There are awareness campaigns but they are not reaching all parts of society”.
A security source said security forces were acting to disperse gatherings of people. Police cleared people off the Corniche, where some were walking wearing facemasks and surgical gloves.

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