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COVID-19: bella center owner makes 350 staff redundant

The owner of Scandinavia’s largest convention centre has made 350 people redundant due to ‘a brutal slowdown’ in international travel caused by the coronavirus, according to national media reports.

B C Hospitality Group, which runs the bella center in Copenhagen, as well as Comwell Conference Center, Crowne Plaza Copenhagen and Copenhagen Marriott, said COVID-19 had resulted in a marked decrease in room bookings and many events had been cancelled.

It is not yet clear where the redundancies will fall.

“Our overall business has more than halved in the last 8-9 days, and as it looks set to continue at this level or maybe even get worse without us knowing when it will end, then we need to adapt the business without hesitation,” said Allan Agerholm director of BC Hospitality Group.

According to BC Group there had been a ‘brutal slowdown in tourism and international travel’.

“I am extremely sorry that the coronavirus situation has come so far that we cannot avoid these adjustments. However, we see no other options, ”said Agerholm.

Denmark has recorded 788 cases of coronavirus and has one of the highest infection rates in Europe at 135 per million population. So far the country has not recorded any deaths from the disease.

Meanwhile the European Commission has approved a DKK 91 million (€12 million) Danish aid scheme to compensate organisers for the damage suffered due to the cancellation of large events with more than 1,000 participants due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Commission approved the scheme under EU State aid rules within 24 hours of receiving the notification from Denmark.

Executive VP Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “With the scheme, Denmark will compensate the organisers of events cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak for the losses suffered. This is the first State aid measure notified to us by a Member State in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak. We stand ready to work with all Member States to ensure that possible national support measures to tackle the outbreak of the virus can be put in place as quickly and effectively as possible, in line with EU rules.”

Under the scheme, operators will be entitled to compensation for losses suffered as a consequence of cancellations or postponements of events where, for example, tickets were already sold.