Hotel chain sues Germany over coronavirus aid | News | DW | 02.05.2021
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Hotel chain sues Germany over coronavirus aid

The Dorint Hotel Group has filed a constitutional complaint over what it deems unfair treatment. Dorint says smaller firms have benefited more from government financial assistance during the pandemic.

A door into a Dorint Hotel in Cologne

Dorint hotels, like all hotels in Germany, have been closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus

The operating company of the Dorint Hotel Group is taking legal action against the state over what it views as inadequate aid to help the chain through the coronavirus pandemic, German media reported on Sunday.

Dorint Hotels, along with other similar establishments offering accommodation, have been closed to tourists since November as part of Germany's lockdown in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

According to the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, the Cologne-based hotel chain said larger operations are at a disadvantage because the aid is limited to €12 million ($14.4 million) per company.

But after deducting all government aid received, Dorint says its losses will reach €63 million by the end of June.

In a constitutional complaint, as seen by the Welt am Sonntag, DHI Dorint Hospitality & Innovation criticized what it deems the unequal treatment of small and large companies in the industry.

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Unfair treatment of big firms

"Today we are in the sixth month of the lockdown with a serious encroachment on the freedom to exercise one's profession under Article 12 of the German Constitution," read DHI's complaint to the Federal Constitutional Court, adding that "state aid is not granted in relation to the severity of the encroachment."

"I see us as a kind of sacrificial pawn," Dorint Supervisory Board Chairman Dirk Iserlohe told the German weekly newspaper. "I no longer expect business to restart by Whitsunday (May 23)," Iserlohe said. "Rather, hotels will probably be the last to [reopen], although according to the Robert Koch Institute, the industry has not contributed to the infection."

The firm also complained that Germans could visit hotels in other countries but hotels in Germany could not offer accommodations, which led to unequal treatment of people and companies in Germany.

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