- Claims hotel employees have had little to no access to national vaccination rollout so far
- Calls on Govt. to vaccinate all hotel employees as a priority with immediate effect
Disgruntled tourism industry stakeholders yesterday claimed that the Government has neglected hotel employees from the national Covishield vaccination program, despite the sector being identified as a
“Although the hotel industry staff, among other tourism staff, have been categorically informed that they will be given priority in the national vaccination drive, it is very unfortunate that employees have had little or no access to the vaccination rollout so far,” The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) President Sanath Ukwatte said.
He pointed out that since the start of the pandemic, the hotel industry has supported the frontline healthcare workers, offering temporary accommodation facilities, free meals and later converting their hotels to quarantine facilities to assist government efforts.
In this background, hotel employees were categorised as essential workers. There are four main categories of hotels: Level-1 hotels where only tourists are allowed, quarantine hotels for Sri Lankan repatriates during their first 14 days of isolation, intermediate care centres where hotels serve COVID-positive persons isolate, and all other hotels open to the general public.
“As a service industry that takes care of people, the hotel industry has taken all steps to support and strengthen the country’s efforts to fight COVID-19. Our hotel staff are regularly exposed to the virus and we must recognise their significant contribution to the nation during this health crisis, whilst supporting the community at large,” he stressed.
Ukwatte said the industry remains committed to supporting the Government and the vulnerable population as the country continues to fight the pandemic, and called on the Government to vaccinate all hotel employees with immediate effect
“Hotels are following strict guidelines issued by health authorities and have continued operations implementing the necessary protocols outlined. Thereby, prioritising hotel employees with access to the vaccine will provide another level of protection to this committed group performing an important role.”