Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic erupted last March and hospitalizations soared, healthcare facilities looked for additional space. As a result, convention centers and warehouses were turned into field hospitals. Now, as healthcare organizations seek to build distribution networks for vaccines, a different sector of the facilities market is getting the call.
Few industries have been hit harder by the pandemic than hospitality. While that has meant months of empty hotels, the slowdown now could become a benefit. Since mid-January, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has been advocating the Biden-Harris administration to enlist the more than 50,000 hotels of the AHLA as vaccination sites, according to Orlando Weekly.
Hotels bring unique infrastructure and operational capabilities to serve as vaccine administration sites that public health agencies could consider utilizing. With a substantial network of properties across the country with excess capacity due to the drop in travel demand, hotels could be a major asset in helping administer the vaccine safely and more conveniently to the American public.
Hotels are unique in what they can bring to the vaccination rollout. Companies like Microsoft have offered to donate their currently unused offices as vaccine administration sites. In Orange County, the convention center’s massive parking lot has served as a testing center and now a vaccine location. But hotels offer both large parking lots and the potential for indoor spaces.
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