Lockdown: Hotels close shop in Port Harcourt

Port Harcourt International Airport

Some hotels in Port Harcourt have closed shop, following the outbreak of Coronavirus which has resulted in lockdown in Rivers.

Visits by a Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to some parts of the city on Tuesday showed that many hotels were under lock and key.

NAN recalls that the outbreak of COVID-19 in the state had resulted in closure of markets, schools, drinking joints, air traffic as well as the state borders.

When NAN visited Echelon Height Hotel on Elekohia Road, which used to be a beehive of activities, it was firmed locked, with only security men seen manning the entrance.

Other hotels in the city were also not open for business, while the usual hustle and bustle around them had vanished.

Also, the ever-busy Presidential Hotel, which used to play host to different categories of guests and events, was enveloped with unusual calm, as no activity was taking place there.

NAN also observed that the few hotels, which opened for business, witnessed low patronage, as their bars and swimming pools were without customers.

A Port Harcourt-based economist, Mr Ugochukwu Nyenke, said that the outbreak of COVID-19 had been taking its toll on the hotel business in the state capital.

According to him, the closure of borders and the ban on inter-state movement were negative signals to the hospitality industry.

“The implication is that people will not come to the city, while those in the city have remained in their homes. And so, people will hardly need accommodation in any hotel.

“The clubs and bars are places that require close contacts, and this is really not an auspicious time for such businesses to boom,” he said.