The hospital-room shortage during the coronavirus spread might be solved by an unlikely savior: hotels.
As hospitals in the US and Europe gear up for an increasing number of coronavirus cases, there is a very real fear that there won’t be enough beds to accommodate the new patients. This potential shortage requires a creative and expedient solution, and some hotels are considering converting into temporary hospitals to alleviate the strain on health facilities.
Best Western Great Britain (BWGB), for example, will be holding discussions this week with each of its hotels to determine the viability of easing pressure on hospitals by converting bedrooms into hospital rooms. BWG has 260 independently owned hotels across England, Scotland, and Wales, and over 15,000 bedrooms that could be repurposed as hospital rooms.
Significant hotel cancellations and a sharp decline in summer bookings have resulted in empty hotels across the world, potentially freeing up much-needed space for new coronavirus patients.
Rob Paterson, BWGB’s chief executive, told The Caterer, “We are in unprecedented territory so we would be willing to take unprecedented steps to support the national effort. If the NHS (National Health Service) wants additional bed space, and we can partner with other companies to provide the right medical equipment and supplies and do it safely, then we would be willing to start having those conversations immediately. Whatever we can do to help.”
Forbes reports that Best Western International has 4,000 hotels in 80 countries, so if the solution is adopted in the UK, it could potentially spread and ease the pressure on hospitals worldwide.