Chicago announces ‘pioneering model’ to rent hotel rooms for patients

Eloise Hanson Eloise Hanson Uploaded 27 March 2020

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US: Chicago will reserve at least 1,000 hotel rooms to quarantine confirmed and suspected cases of the new coronavirus illness in a bid to offer relief to hospitals.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a news conference earlier this week that five hotels would provide 1,000 beds initially, and 2,000 beds by the end of the week.

A partnership with Oxford Hotels & Resorts has since been announced. Hotel Cass, Hotel Essex, Hotel Felix, Hotel Julian and Hotel 166 are all included in the agreement.

The hotels will provide three meals a day, and “strict protocols… around sanitation procedures” have been imposed in all properties. This includes frequent sanitation of high-contact points such as elevator buttons, door handles, reception counters, and bathrooms.

"Chicago is the first city to adopt this hotel plan, and we are gratified to be able to assist the city during this difficult time," said George Jordan, president of Oxford Hotels. "In addition to helping the city, this arrangement allows Oxford to retain a number of its employees who are interested in contributing to the relief effort. It's inspiring to see our hospitality teams come together, even when they've had to weather the storm themselves."

John W. Rutledge, founder and CEO of Oxford Capital Group, added: “As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout our community, we wanted to do our part to provide a sanctuary for those who need it during this difficult time. We're proud to help the city combat this crisis and allow our brave medical professionals to focus on their most critical patients in their hospitals."

The reserved hotel rooms are intended for this who have tested positive for COVID-19 but have mild symptoms. The rooms are also to be used by people awaiting test results but are unable to wait a home due to risk of spreading the virus.

The plan will help to provide revenue for the hotels as it allows employees to continue working. Staff will receive training from public health employees on such things as cleaning linens and handling meals.

Deputy Mayor Sami Mayekar told the Chicago Tribune: “What we’re announcing today is a pioneering model for the country. It’s one of the first situations in any major city where we’ve actually worked out an agreement with a hotel operator, owner and the workers to help staff with this type of agreement.”

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