Despite their business coming to a screeching halt, hotels are doing their part to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) announced that more than 15,000 hotels have joined the “Hospitality for Hope” initiative, which connects healthcare professionals to hotel chains and independent properties that are offering rooms as temporary housing. Through the program, emergency and healthcare workers will be connected to 2.3 million rooms located in close proximity to established healthcare facilities around the country. In addition, some of the hotels will be turned into emergency hospitals or spaces called “Alternative Care Sites” for those who are quarantined.
“It has been so impressive to see hotel after hotel join this important initiative as a way of giving back to the communities in which they operate,” said Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO, in a statement. “As an industry of people taking care of people, the hotel industry is uniquely positioned to support our communities by caring for the first responders who are on the frontlines of this public health crisis.”
As a result, healthcare professionals, relief workers, and first responders will be able to find lodging to reduce their commute to and from work and protect their families from possibly being exposed to the novel virus.
To streamline the process, the AHLA is working to create a national “Hospitality for Hope” database to assist the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and help properties connect with federal, state, and local governments.
“The number of hotels wanting to be part of the program is growing by the hour,” Michael Jacobson, CEO and president of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association said. “Our hotels are answering the call to action, and they want to be helpful to the city and the state.”
Last week, Airbnb announced that it will offer free or subsidized housing to 100,000 healthcare workers on the front lines in the battle to stop the spread of COVID-19.