The city is pursuing plans to convert entire hotels into makeshift hospitals, as the coronavirus crisis continues to hollow out the hospitality industry.
Hotels will also be used to quarantine individuals, including the homeless, says Deanne Criswell, commissioner of the city’s Emergency Management Department. The city already has contracts in place for 1,500 hotel rooms as of Tuesday, she said.
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The Hilton Hotel in midtown will close on Friday, and numerous others are at near-zero occupancy, according to Vijay Dandapani, President and CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City. “This is just going to destroy our industry,” he said. “It’s going to take us years to recover.”
The Hotel Pennsylvania across the street from Penn Station is among the completely empty hotels that could be repurposed immediately, he said.
Hotels would house non-COVID-19 patients, in order to clear space in existing facilities to treat new cases. Workers brought into the city by the federal government could also stay there, according to Criswell, who said the city is also in discussions to make use of the Javits Center.