CdeO hotels lose millions in bookings due to MECQ

A fast food worker cleans and disinfects their restaurant in Divisoria after curfew hours in Cagayan de Oro City on Monday (7 June 2021). The city government implemented a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew to curb the rising COVID-19cases. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 01 July) – Just days after the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) was extended here, hoteliers complained of losing millions of pesos in cancelled bookings.

Amy Saniel, manager of an upscale hotel here said clients have cancelled their bookings they made for July 1 to 15 after the National Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) extended the stricter quarantine measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“In two days we lost one million pesos in bookings and sales. I do not know how we can survive this,” Saniel said.

She said local hotels had already bounced back before the MECQ was imposed last June 1.

“Now what you see are hotels with darkened lobbies, unoccupied rooms, empty restaurants and function rooms. It is really very sad,” she said.

The IATF imposed the MECQ for Cagayan de Oro from June 1 to 30 after the city experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases that threatened its hospital system.

Last Monday evening, the IATF again extended the MECQ after the number of infections did not go down.

The National Economic Development Authority in its briefing “Northern Mindanao Socioeconomic Outlook” said hotel, accommodation and food services lost P166 million from June 1 to 30.

NEDA 10 regional director Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño said some 320 business firms and hotels in Cagayan de Oro have reduced or retrenched their employees.

Cariño said some 4,200 employees were affected by the retrenchment and reduction of workforce.

Saniel said they have reduced their hotel employees from 100 before the pandemic to only 29 workers at present.

She said these employees are only working for three days a week.

“Some of our employees took turns in working these shifts just to earn money,” she said.

Saniel said local small pension houses have resorted to converting their establishments into temporary isolation units for COVID-19 cases and get paid for it by the local government.

She said big hotels like the one she’s managing could not do the same just to survive because it may create a stigma.

“We have our image to protect. Our clients will not go back to us once they learn we converted into temporary isolation units for COVID-19 patients.`she said.

“Besides, our employees are not even vaccinated yet,” she added. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)