Some Nevada hotels are following the examples of other hotels nationwide and letting first responders and health-care employees working on the coronavirus outbreak stay overnight for free. But many Las Vegas properties appear reluctant to let outsiders stay in their hotels.
Last month, Diamond Resorts said its open properties would give first responders and health professionals complimentary rooms. That includes Cancun Resort, Desert Paradise Resort, and Polo Towers in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Nationally, more than 2,500 free nights were used by eligible workers at Diamond Resorts as of earlier this week, the report said. Before the offer started, Diamond Resorts had a 20 to 30 percent occupancy rate. Now, they are using some of the empty rooms to benefit the frontline workers.
Many of their suites include a washing machine, dryer, bathroom, and a kitchen. That makes it easier to reside there for several days or weeks.
It is truly having an impact,” Diamond Resorts CEO Mike Flaskey told the Review-Journal. “We think it’s the right thing to do.”
Many relatives of first responders and health care professionals were anxious about family members who came into contact with coronavirus patients coming back home. The illness is very communicable.
“We were able to provide an opportunity for (these families) to get that distance … to make sure those with underlying health conditions weren’t affected,” Flaskey explained to the Review-Journal.
To minimize risk to hotel employees, the company’s hotels has check-in and checkout without personal contact, extra room cleaning, and 72-hours between guest stays, the report said.
Thirty-Six Las Vegas Hotels House First Responders
Beyond Diamond Resorts, 67 or more hotels in Nevada were open to first responders and health professionals. Some 36 hotels taking part in the Hotels for Hope initiative were in Las Vegas, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), the Review-Journal said.
It is unclear how many were providing rooms at reduced or complimentary rates. It is also unknown which properties were involved.
The hotel industry is uniquely positioned to support and help strengthen our communities and first responders who are on the front lines of dealing with this ongoing public health crisis,” AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers said in a statement last month. “Hotels have always been an active member of our local communities, and this time is no different.”
Some Nevada properties associated with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts appear to be taking part in the AHLA program, the Review-Journal said. Some of Hilton’s properties in Nevada may also participate, the report adds.
Wynn Resorts Ltd. had offered its Las Vegas properties, but given its size, a regional coordinating body said the hotels “are not ideally suited for medical housing,” company spokesman Michael Weaver told the Review-Journal. Wynn, like some other companies, is providing money, food, and personal protective equipment to health care operations and nonprofits in Las Vegas.
Similarly, Caesars is not participating because its employees are currently not working at Las Vegas region properties, the Review-Journal said. Several other prominent casino operations declined to comment if they were providing rooms for health care workers and first responders.
In Detroit, the city’s Greektown Casino-Hotel has set aside 40 free-of-charge rooms for police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. Numerous Detroit first responders have fallen ill, and a few have died from the virus.
Las Vegas Has 150,000 Hotel Rooms
Las Vegas has about 150,000 hotel rooms and other spacious properties that could temporarily hold, if needed, the escalating number of people afflicted with coronavirus, experts told Casino.org last month. But hotel floors are very different in design from hospital floors, so using hotels is not ideal, experts explained.
Health officials have said many US hospitals will be overrun with patients. Well before the outbreak, in total, Nevada had 6,304 hospital beds in 2017. Nevada’s 2.1 hospital beds per 1,000 people is lower than the national average of 2.4, according to the Nevada Current.
Nationally, some patients with coronavirus are already residing in hotels. In California, passengers who had been quarantined on the Grand Princess cruise ship were reassigned to the 120-room Fairfield Hotel in San Carlos after the ship was docked in Oakland.
There were concerns in Las Vegas about where to house the at-risk homeless population.