Mysore/Mysuru: Mysuru’s iconic Hotel Southern Star on Vinobha Road has shut its operations from today due to COVID-19 global pandemic.
In a signed notice sent to staff dated May 19 (today), the Hotel General Manager has stated that due to Coronavirus epidemic and the lockdown, business has come to a standstill and as such the Southern Star management has decided to close down the Hotel by terminating all the employees and staff, numbering over 80.
“The global crisis has affected hotels badly and the situation will continue indefinitely even after the lockdown is lifted. The management will settle all the dues, including termination compensation to all employees as per rules,” stated the notice put on the Hotel notice board.
Hotel Southern Star has been a landmark in Mysuru for over 40 years and the unit is owned and operated by Indra Hotel (Mysore).
Speaking to ‘Star of Mysore’ this morning, Hotel owner H.R.B. Jairaj said, “The hospitality sector is the worst hit and the situation will not ease out anytime soon. Even the Government is not in a position to help. The hotel industry has been crippled by the virus and even if we continue operations, there are a lot of restrictions and impractical protocols to follow to curb the spread of virus. In such a situation we are deeply pained to close operations.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Financial Officer Ganesh cited an observation made by the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India that, over 70 percent of hotels and restaurants in India are staring at closure within the next 30 to 45 days due to COVID-19 pandemic. He then added saying, “Just last December and January we refurbished and redesigned two floors of the Hotel. We have borrowed huge bank loans and this pandemic has hit us hard, so we are not in a position to continue anymore.”
“Our business runs on travellers. And tourists, both foreign and domestic, will not turn up unless a vaccine is found and the pandemic is eradicated. Even the Government has not provided us any stimulus package or any sort of relief so we are staring at a bleak future. Hence we have been forced to take this painful decision,” said Jairaj.
Apart from this Jairaj said, “We are not getting support from any Government, be it State or even local. Mysuru City Corporation has increased tax by 15 percent and the Excise Department says we must pay up next year’s excise tax this year and that also immediately. This being the situation, how can we run a hotel?” The Group owns hotels in Bengaluru and Hassan, which have also been closed and employees let go.