The Madrid hotel industry provides help during COVID-19

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Eleven hotels are medicalized in Madrid in order to provide support and air to a healthcare system that has been pushed to the limit.

The global crisis of COVID-19 broke out strongly in Europe, with Spain being one of the countries most affected by its spread. In this situation, the hotel industry was one of the first sectors to receive the impact. After seeing their activity level reduced considerably, the hotels had to hang the closed sign. Without a doubt, a difficult decision to make as well as necessary.

During this period, the Madrid region has been the most affected, and hotels have acted proactively and have contributed to the common benefit in a supportive and altruistic way, adopting a relevant role in a scenario that concerns us all. As they would say in hotel slang, they have gone one step further ( go the extra mile ).

The community of Madrid has had medicalized hotels to serve patients who do not need intensive care and healthcare professionals, thus being able to use the resources of the hospitals for the most critically ill patients. In these hotels, the rooms have changed their appearance, only having the bed (laminated headboard), nightstand and TV. The rest of the furniture or superfluous material has disappeared.The “Ayre Gran Hotel Colón” hotel was the first on the list to be set up for the care of minor patients and healthcare personnel. All of them have behaved as a true support of the health system and they deserve our admiration for their capacity and willingness to adapt.

It is interesting to know that more than 40 hotels have offered for medicalization (around 9,000 beds), but not all of them met the necessary operational requirements. This data shows how the industry has turned to the cause.

In addition, the hotels have provided beds, enabled their spaces for people without resources, created platforms to coordinate collaboration and provided food to the community, among other measures. We are talking about true heroes.

It is curious to think that the word hotel has its origin in Latin (hospitalis domus), which means house to welcome guests. In the Middle Ages, monks who cared for the population sick by epidemics, called their shelters as “hospitale”, giving rise to the term “hospital”. At that time it was necessary to establish a greater difference between a hostel for travelers and the sick, and then the French coined the word “Hôtel”, which, due to its simplicity and phonetic ease, was later accepted as a universal synonym for “hostel”.

Personally, I have felt this crisis first hand. My mother is a nurse and she perfectly recounts the meaning that it has had for many professionals to have been able to stay in these “homes”. Some because they have moved from other provinces and others for trying to protect their family after marathon shifts giving their best.

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