The NHS has started looking at a national system for using spare hotel capacity for staff accommodation.
The rooms would be used for staff who have family members that are self-isolating and/or were showing symptoms.
Thomas Page, global head of hotel & leisure group, CMS, said: “From speaking to many hospitality clients, there are plans in place to close many hotels across the UK as occupancy percentages have dropped to near zero as a result of COVID-19 coronavirus advice on social distancing and wide-ranging travel restrictions. When these hotel close, staff will be temporarily laid off (either on unpaid or part paid leave) or permanently made redundant.
“Once hotels close, the staff will be sent home, supplier arrangements terminated and the buildings closed. This makes them difficult and costly to re-open.
“I have been liaising with senior contacts at NHS England about the possibility of the NHS making use of surplus hotel capacity for staff accommodation, in particular for those NHS staff members who have family members self-isolating or showing symptoms, so that those vital workers can remain available for work.
“But this is a short window of opportunity as once the hotels close, they may no longer be available for such use. We understand that this is being considered at the very highest level in NHS England and are promised some national communications about this soon. But if the NHS wants to take advantage of this resource, it must act quickly. We will keep you updated as soon as we hear more.”