Consumer Union Warns against Banning Chinese Customers from Hotels, Restaurants

Russian hotels and restaurants do not have the right to refuse service to Chinese customers, or they can risk facing penalties, the Consumers Union of Russia has said, according to Izvestia

The organization noted that the services of restaurants and hotels are public, which means that they are obliged to work with any client regardless of their nationality. Meanwhile, the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers disagrees with this. They feel that every establishment has the right to apply precautionary measures and there is nothing reprehensible about this.

“The only reason for any refusal is the objective inability to provide services, say, for example, a full restaurant or a hotel. Restaurant employees are not qualified medical personnel and cannot determine either the nature of the disease or its threat to others,” Co-Chairman of the Russian Consumers Union Alexei Koitov told Izvestia.

The Consumers Union recalled that a fine for an unlawful denial of service under the current Code of Administrative Offenses for legal entities is 20,000-30,000 rubles ($317-$475).

Prohibiting Chinese citizens from visiting cafes or hotels may result in criminal punishment, based on Article 136 of the Russian Criminal Code “Violation of the Equality of Human and Civil Rights and Freedoms”, and would involve a fine of 100,000-300,000 rubles ($1,585-4,756) or imprisonment for up to two years, the organization reminds.

On the other hand, the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers sees nothing wrong with the fact that some establishments refuse to receive guests from China since these are their precautions. 

“I think everyone has the right to take care of their health in their own way. It can hardly be called racial discrimination, rather a certain caution in relation to a well-known epidemiological case,” the Federation’s Vice President Vadim Prasov told Izvestia. told Izvestia that it “offers the possibility of free cancellation or modification of any reservations of accommodation facilities in China for arrivals before February 8, 2020, and also provides similar support to all customers from China who are sent abroad.” 

Airbnb investigates all reports of discrimination and, if necessary, takes appropriate measures, even removing users from the platform, its representatives told Izvestia.

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