I woke up today to the news that Le Bristol Beirut is shutting down after 70 years. Even though this was not confirmed yet by the hotel’s management, it goes without saying that Lebanon’s hospitality industry has been suffering for months now and the latest COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation ten times worse.

Just to give you an idea, Lebanon’s hospitality industry employs more than 394,000 people which is 18.4% of total employment. Added to that, the Tourism & Hospitality sector contributes 10.4 Billion USD to Lebanon’s GDP.

Since September 2019, more than 785 #restaurant.s have shut down, 25,000 people have lost their jobs, and approximately 500 Million USD 💸 is being lost per month! With the rapid spread of #COVID19 😷, businesses are forced to either CLOSE or rely solely on delivery services.

While almost everyone agrees that a lockdown is needed to flatten the curve, but the government is expected to manage this crisis better vis-a-vis businesses and especially hard-hit ones likes hotels, restaurants and pubs:

An initiative called “SaveLebaneseHospitality” has been pushing for weeks to implement the below:

1️⃣ The freezing of all loan entitlements and postponing due dates by granting a grace period.
2️⃣ Extensions on all contractual leases deadlines and exemptions of payment for no less than 6 months.
3️⃣ Postponement and reduction of all fixed costs for six months; such as the national pension, sales tax, electricity, water and municipality fees.

Without these measures, countless businesses will never be able to reopen.

Aside from the government, he’s a good read by our good friend Patsy on how you can help local businesses.