As tourism takes a dive, hotels offer isolation stay
BBMP official says such centres are permissible as long as COVID-19 guidelines are followed
As travel plans have been thrown out of the window due to the second wave of COVID-19, the hospitality industry is offering a different product to cater to the times – isolation packages. Many big hotels, chains and portals are coming up with ‘safe hotels’ that promise stay, meals and medical facilities for those who want isolation facilities. Most of the hotels say they have partnered with hospitals to offer medical care too.
MakeMyTrip, for example, is offering ‘Safe Hotels for Isolation’, and has partnered with over 500 hotels. “Most of these hotel stays include meals, and may require a COVID-19-negative test report,” it said on the website.
A MakeMyTrip spokesperson told The Hindu that the portal had launched ‘Stays for saviours’ during the first wave of the pandemic in a bid to support temporary accommodation needs of the medical frontline force fighting COVID-19. “We rolled out that initiative in partnership with hotel chains and independent hotels that pitched in to support our healthcare heroes across 26 States and four Union territories. During the second wave, as the healthcare infrastructure deals with the massive surge in cases amid a high infection rate, we have observed the need of individuals or even several family members to go into isolation until they are in the clear,” said the spokesperson. Currently, these hotels are available in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Pune, Jaipur, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Ludhiana, among other places.
Another budget hotel chain offers “well-equipped private rooms for isolation, breakfast, lunch and dinner, 24×7 nursing assistance, one doctor visit per day, trained concierge, oxygen and ambulance available on call, and easy availability of medicines”.
Columbia Asia Hospital, Yeshwanthpur h as tied up with a popular luxury hotel for such packages. Its marketing manager Ankush R. said the response has been good. “The doctors, after consultation, decide if they are to be hospitalised or if home isolation is enough. Those who find it difficult to isolate at home, choose these hotel packages. The package includes medical supervision, with doctor consultation twice – tele and personal, 24 hours nursing coverage, and availability of oxygen. This also helps decongest hospital beds,” he explained. The package costs ₹12,000 per person per day.
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Joint Commissioner Sarfaraz Khan, who is in-charge of the COVID-19 Care Centres (CCCs), said as long as private players were following the guidelines to set up such centres, they are permissible. The BBMP’s CCCs are yet to see the expected demand, and the civic body recently revised guidelines for home isolation, making it mandatory for people to have certain facilities, failing which they should be shifted to CCCs.
“We have requested volunteers to identify people without quarantine facilities so they can be shifted to CCCs. As for hotels, there are some that have been converted into CCCs, such as in Bommanahalli and Mahadevapura. Some companies have also done it for their employees. Dos and Don’ts have been issued for establishment of CCCs and they need to be followed. They need to have medical backup,” he said.
The guidelines include daily monitoring and medical supervision, provision of nutritious diet and separate ancillary services such as garbage management, sanitation and logistics for COVID-19 patients, among others.
From the business perspective, Karnataka Tourism Forum President Sanjar Imam said though such packages may offer some relief to hotels, they may not do a great deal as far as occupancy rates are concerned.