Penang hoteliers appealing to reopen facilities in stages

(From left) Raj Kumar with MAH Penang Chapter secretary Tony Goh and vice chairman Ben Ho observing a staff member checking on the food basket items for the Hands of Hope programme at The Wembley — A St Giles Hotel in George Town, Penang.

HOTELIERS in Penang are appealing to the government to be allowed to reopen their facilities in a staggered manner to ensure the industry’s survival.

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang Chapter chairman K. Raj Kumar said guests who made bookings for their holidays might expect to use the hotels’ facilities.

This is following the government’s announcement that tourism activities involving homestays and hotels within the same state are allowed for states under Phase Two (and above) of the National Recovery Plan.

“If guests book rooms at our hotels, they might want to use the swimming pool, ballroom, or visit the gardens and beaches.

“For a start, we could limit the capacity of ballrooms at 20%, and the respective hotels can ensure sufficient physical distancing and strict observance of the standard operating procedures,” he said during a press conference at The Wembley — A St Giles Wembley Hotel on Tuesday.

Raj Kumar said by slowly allowing hotels to revive in stages, it would not only prepare them for full operations when the time comes, but also help ensure that their workforce remains employed.

“If we wait for all hotel staff to be fully vaccinated, it will take a while more, maybe up to Novem-ber, as 98% of staff in all hotels have only received their first dose.

“It is not that we are delaying or refusing vaccination.

“We have even appealed earlier to be prioritised to be vaccinated, but the dates are fixed and there is an interval between doses before getting fully vaccinated,” he said.

Earlier, Raj Kumar launched a corporate social responsibility programme called Hands Of Hope by MAH to offer 600 food baskets to 96 affected hotel staff members.

“These are challenging times for all of us and our employees need our support.

“We hope this little contribution will alleviate their burden and lessen the cost of living of those underprivileged families,” he said.

The food basket aid was made possible thanks to donations from MAH (RM20,000), Penang government (RM20,000), state tourism and creative economy committee (RM10,000) as well as MAH Penang Chapter (RM15,000).

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