How the Hospitality Sector Can Mobilize a Meaningful Covid-19 Response
By Lawrence Chalfin President, Samuelson Furniture | April 19, 2020
Over the past few weeks, it has become clear that we are in desperate need of spaces to help [proactively] combat the potential of hospital overflow as COVID-19 spreads across the country.
As a professional who has been providing furniture to the hospitality sector for many years, I have witnessed many ups and downs. But one thing has always remained consistent––the resiliency of our industry. And, with a rising number of vacant hotels, a consequence of worldwide travel bans, the hospitality sector is in a unique position to offer real solutions to this overflow by offering to house patients and healthcare workers, while also creating revenue for an industry that will be absorbing massive losses during this uncertain time.
This would present a positive two-fold solution, as many hotels have emptied out and closed their doors already, while at the same time our nation is facing an increasing risk of hospital bed shortages.
Guest rooms aside, the vast public spaces within these hotels could serve as areas for hospital beds and equipment. If the healthcare and hospitality industries come together in the height of the Coronavirus, they could collectively offer, in a timely and effective way, makeshift wards to provide the growing affected population with both the spaces to be treated and those spaces needed to recover––while also protecting the rest of the population from further spreading of the virus.
This solution would need focused brainstorming, conversations and logistical workshopping, of course, in order to find an efficient and beneficial nationwide approach. This concept could also provide spaces for hospital patients that are recovering from other [non-contagious] illnesses, freeing-up spaces in traditional facilities. It also could offer temporary residences for healthcare workers regularly exposed to COVID-19, thus ensuring the protection and safety of their families while these vital medical personnel undertake the selfless, exhausting work of caregiving to such an overwhelming number of people in need of help.
Hospitality is by definition the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, and generous way. Our industry is by nature composed of individuals characterized by their kindness and leadership. I believe the hospitality sector has the wherewithal and compassion to stand up to this unprecedented infectious disease, not only to help us make it through, but to overcome it in the coming weeks and months.