Hotels conversion to hospitals a misplaced move: Mandeep Lamba

Mandeep S. Lamba, President ( South Asia), HVS ANAROCK shared his view on the Delhi government’s move to take over hotels and convert them into extensions of hospitals. He said that, “It is a misplaced one and done without any prior discussion with the stakeholders involved. Neither are hotels nor the staff working in these hotels geared up in any way to deal with this sudden conversion, which goes much beyond the ‘quarantine facility’ that hotels were so far being used for. Even though the sector has extended complete support in every manner during these trying times despite severe monetary losses, this requisitioning of hotels for use as hospitals has led to wide spread dismay in the industry.”

He continued, “While creating adequate infrastructure for medical treatment, as the number of infected people continues to rise, is the pressing need for the government, the forced conversion of leading hotels into COVID hospital extensions is spreading further panic in the beleaguered hospitality sector. The move to use hotels, if at all, should have been done in consultation with the sector’s representative bodies and with a fully agreed and thought through plan on how the facility would be put to use, along with the staffing of the same through qualified health workers and not regular hotel staff, who may out of fear choose not to report on duty. The government should have through dialogue requested for one hotel and worked on the plan to make it function as a hospital extension, understanding fully the several challenges that would be faced and whether these could be adequately addressed before issuing the order to attach hotels under the Disaster Management Act.”

“Without necessary paper work and agreements in place how do hotels handle liability issues should any patient die in the hotel regretfully or if any of their staff members contract the disease? How will hotels get compensated for the many changes that may need to be done to facilitate treatment related medical infrastructure?  How will these hotels deal with the loss of business that is likely to take place once these revert back to normal operations and customers are reluctant to use them for fear of infection, since it was being used as a hospital and the perceived stigma attached to the same? How will these hotels bring back their lost staff who have left due to fear? How have the commercial arrangements been decided without understanding the nature of hotels operating costs and without any minimum guarantee being paid to hotels even though the entire hotel has been requisitioned by the government?” he added.

“While hotels continue to provide support across the country for quarantine facilities without even recovering their costs for the services being rendered, there are no simple or comforting answers to the questions raised above and it is really disappointing that our sector is being treated in this manner without any participative and meaningful consultation,” he concluded.