Up to 15,000 hotel beds could be freed up to help with outbreak

Analysis by real estate advisory Savills shows number of available beds beside country’s hospitals

Tánaiste Simon Coveney asked the HSE last week to identify thousands of extra beds to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw /  The Irish Times

Tánaiste Simon Coveney asked the HSE last week to identify thousands of extra beds to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw / The Irish Times

 

Up to 15,000 hotel beds located within close proximity to Ireland’s hospitals could be freed up to support the HSE in managing the Covid-19 crisis.

That’s the view from commercial real estate advisers Savills Ireland, as the Government prepares for a significant increase in the number of cases requiring treatment in the weeks and months ahead.

Commenting on the role the hotel sector could come to play, Tom Barrett, director at Savills hotels and leisure division said: “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. Holiday makers 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.”

“Ireland has 60,000 hotel beds and we estimate that approximately5,000 of these are close to the main hospitals and are therefore ideally suited for this purpose.”

While Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outlined in stark terms the measures that will need to be taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus and treat those affected by it in his address to the nation on Tuesday night, the potential for hotels to be used as isolation units was confirmed by Tánaiste Simon Coveney last week. At that time, Mr Coveney asked the HSE to identify thousands of extra beds to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

There have also been calls from bodies such as the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) for hotel accommodation to be used for those without a home who may contract the virus.

Commenting on this, Tom Barrett added: “Self-isolation for those who are homeless is virtually impossible – so we need to look at ways in which we can make this feasible. Again, hotel accommodation is an obvious solution.”

“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.”