AHLA, Others Offer Support During Crisis

INTERNATIONAL REPORT—At times of crisis, the hotel industry makes every effort to take care of its own, as well as others in the areas that they serve. Here are some organizations that are helping any way they can during the coronavirus pandemic:

AHLA Launches Hotels for Hope
In an effort to support communities across the country during this unprecedented public health crisis, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) has launched the Hotels for Hope initiative to connect hotel properties with the health community, which is struggling to find housing and support as the COVID-19 crisis grows.

The initiative, in partnership with AHLA partner state associations across the country, has identified more than 6,500 properties nationwide located in close proximity to established healthcare facilities that are at the ready to assist government efforts and work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local emergency management and public health agencies. It will provide access to hotel properties to support the health community and first responders who may be in need of temporary housing during this crucial time.

To help match and streamline the process for willing hotel properties to connect with federal, state and local governments, AHLA is working to create a national Hotels for Hope database at the federal level with HHS, as well as at the local level with industry partner state associations. Local, state and federal government officials will be able to search willing properties based on geographic location.

“As an industry of people taking care of people, the hotel industry is uniquely positioned to support and help strengthen our communities and first responders who are on the front lines of dealing with this ongoing public health crisis,” said Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO. “Hotels have always been active members of our local communities, and this time is no different. AHLA, in partnership with our partner state associations, is proud to work on behalf of our member companies to facilitate partnerships with federal, state and local governments to support the health community during this critical time.”

Hotels interested in joining AHLA’s Hotels for Hope initiative can volunteer here. Already, examples of hotels partnering with local and state officials in communities are being reported in Chicago and California, and more efforts are expected in the coming days and weeks, including New York City and Texas.

Oyo Hotels & Homes Offers Free Stays to Medical Personnel
Oyo Hotels & Homes is opening the doors to its hotels and offering free stays to doctors, nurses
and other medical first responders who are helping in the fight against the coronavirus.

“All of us at Oyo are grateful for the bravery and sacrifices all the medical personnel are making to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Ritesh Agarwal, founder and group CEO, Oyo Hotels & Homes. “Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this terrible illness. Oyo was founded on the principle that we all should ‘Live the Good Life’ and whatever we can do to make the lives of these brave women and men a little better, Oyo and our wonderful hotel partners want to do. It is our responsibility to give back.”

Urgo Hotels Ready to Serve First Responders
With 30 hotels in the U.S. and Canada, Urgo Hotels and Resorts is standing by to assist first responders, including medical personnel, government officials, and others on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis. Individuals and organizations in need of overnight rooms, function space for staging or F&B service can contact any Urgo hotel for assistance.

“With hotels among the essential services approved to operate during the crisis, our hotels are available to facilitate short- and long-term needs that may arise due to the shifts in personnel and resources required to deal with the crisis,” said Collin D. Urgo, SVP of operations. “We are ready to be a resource for those leading the charge to flatten the curve and stop the spread of the disease.”

MP Hotels Steps Up in Spain
Two of MP Hotels properties in Spain are currently housing military and healthcare workers in the Spanish Canary Islands archipelago as they work to contain COVID-19. The two hotels are Bex Deluxe Suites, located in the center of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; and Club Caleta Dorada in Fuerteventura.

“We must all take part in this global fight in however way we can,” said Roula Jouny, CEO of MP
Hotels. “The more we do, the quicker we will get out of this upsetting situation.”

MP Hotels had previously closed all of its properties on March 19 to ensure the safety of
its guests and employees. It expects to open them again to the public on May 1.

Cicero’s Development Corp. Named an Essential Infrastructure Provider
Cicero’s Development Corp. is maintaining its regular business activities during the COVID-19 crisis, as it is considered an “essential infrastructure” service provider under guidelines issued by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker that closed vast numbers of businesses statewide on March 21.

In response to COVID-19, Cicero’s Development Corp. has implemented increased safety, sanitation and quality protocols above and beyond the already rigorous standards it maintains every day. Employees who can work remotely from home are doing so. Where required, employees will wear masks and gloves to avoid any possibility of infection. No employee has tested positive for the COVID-19 nor have any shown symptoms.

Gov. Pritzker’s restrictions have temporarily closed offices, schools, hotels and retail outlets throughout the state to avoid spreading of the coronavirus. Many of these organizations have put off routine maintenance and renovations, making now an opportune time for taking on these important projects. Within an empty building, contractors can complete a project faster and more cost efficiently.

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