More than 200 employees at the four-star Nexus Hotel were left without a job when authorities suddenly shut it down on Wednesday, August 4, 2021.

Wereda officials have shut down Nexus Hotel for allegedly violating COVID-19 protocols and operating with an expired business license, leaving 200 employees out of work.

The closure comes barely a week after the announcement that a businesswoman had acquired the hotel for 740 million Br. The four-star Nexus Hotel, located in the Gerji Mebrat Hail area with 150 rooms, was bought by Tiliksew Gedamu, owner of the Grand Resort & Spa in Bahir Dar.

The closure was sudden; city officials and police officers abruptly entered the property in the late afternoon on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, and ordered the building evacuated within 10 minutes, according to staff members in the Hotel. There were no arrangements made on the part of officials to relocate the guests, and several left belongings behind due to the rush, said the staff. They have since had their property returned to them.

A meeting of 100 people was on when officials gave the unexpected order, and guests booked in 40 rooms were forced to vacate the property unceremoniously.

"They didn't have a warrant," a staff member told Fortune.

A security officer at Nexus told Fortunethat the incident happened quickly, and officials refused to show their identification when they entered the Hotel's premises.

The Hotel's management, which sees an average monthly turnover of 10 million Br, claims that all COVID-19 protocols were complied with, and their license is valid for the year, the latter Fortune has confirmed.

Selamawit Alemayehu, deputy head of Bole District Woreda 06, told Fortune that Nexus is not the only one, but bars and restaurants in the area have also been closed based on similar allegations.

"People are dying; public health is our priority," said Selamawit. "Hotel employees aren't the administration's concern, and our mandate is to regulate."

Officials are looking to close more establishments in the coming weeks, she disclosed.

The security personnel says many of his coworkers are distressed, feeling that they will have a hard time finding work at another hotel as officials seem to be closing them down unsparingly. Nexus is the latest of many hospitality establishments authorities have shut down in recent weeks, including Kaleb, Harmony, Diamond, and Addissinia hotels.

Ermiyas Alemu, a hotel service consultant for more than 12 years, sees the issues city officials raise as "meaningless."

"We see even senior government officials violating COVID-19 protocols," he told Fortune.

His concern lies mainly with the employees that have been left without jobs as a result of the closure. The hospitality industry only recently began recovering from the effects of the pandemic, which had plunged hotel occupancy rates to as low as two percent last year. Ermiyas urges the authorities to reconsider their decision to shut down such businesses.

"How are they expecting the employees to survive?" Ermiyas asks.

Zena Dawit, the Managing Director of Nexus Hotel, and the new owner, Tiliksew Gedamu, declined to comment on the matter.

Laying on a 3,000sqm plot of land, Nexus Hotel was first opened in 2012 with an investment of 150 million Br made by the family of Dawit Gebrestadik. The Hotel saw a 410 million Br expansion project four years later, adding nearly 100 rooms.

Last week, the previous owners disclosed the Hotel's sale to Tiliksew, who acquired the Bellevue Hotel in the Megenagna area last year. The motivation behind the sale was to shed off debt, including 25 million Br in soft loans provided by Awash Bank.

PUBLISHED ON Aug 07,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1110]

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.5 / 5. Vote count: 4

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Put your comments here

N.B: A submit button will appear once you fill out all the required fields.

Editors' Pick