Ireland’s hotel industry could have a real & important role to play in the management of the Covid-19 crisis. This is the view of leading property consultants, Savills Ireland, who say that an assessment of the current market supports the contention that hotels throughout the country, which may otherwise be vacant for many weeks, could be used to house Covid-19 patients who need to self-isolate.
Tom Barrett, Director, Hotels & Leisure at Savills Ireland explained exactly how the industry could team up with the health service: “The hospitality sector has already been hit hard by this national crisis. But feedback from our hotel clients is that they are ready to assist the cause in whatever way they can. Holidaymakers and business travellers have curtailed and cancelled their travel plans all over Ireland and hotels are facing very low occupancy and are closing. But the sector is perfectly positioned to use its resources to provide shelter and sustenance to those in need. China has, so far, successfully contained the virus, and one of the key tools it deployed was the use of enhanced medical centres and a large number of centres of isolation”.
Savills contend that much of the tactics used in China in terms of repurposing buildings and accommodation to deal with growing numbers of Covid-19 patients can be replicated here in Ireland. The property experts say that Ireland’s hotels which were designed to house, feed and support thousands of people in segregated areas can be used at this time to assist in managing this emergency.
Tom continued: “Ireland has 60,000 hotel beds and we estimate that approx. 15,000 of these are close to the main hospitals and are therefore ideally suited for this purpose.”
Late last week, the Tanaiste Simon Coveney said that hotels and other large-scale properties could be used as isolation units, if necessary. At that time, he asked the HSE to identify thousands of extra beds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. There have also been calls from bodies such as Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) for support in the way of hotel accommodation for those without a home who may contract the virus.