Chelsea Football Club announced it will be joining the medical response to the coronavirus outbreak by offering the Millenium Hotel at Stamford Bridge to NHS staff.
The initiative came from club owner, Roman Abramovich and chairman Bruce Buck later conferred with the NHS regarding the matter. Abramovich will now cover the costs of providing accommodation to health workers in the area.
The number of rooms given to the NHS will initially depend on demand, but the club said that there was potential to offer up all rooms for this purpose. The hotel will be available for a two-month period, though this will also be “reconsidered in light of circumstances at the time”.
The rooms are currently on offer to NHS staff working in north-west London hospitals, though the club said it may extend the offer to hospitals in other districts.
In a statement, the club said: “Many of the medical staff will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes.
“Local accommodation helps maintain the health and well-being of these crucial personnel at this critical time.”
At the same time, GGHospitality, a hotel operator owned by former Manchester United stars Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, has pledged to close Hotel Football and Stock Exchange in Manchester, offering both hotels to healthcare professionals in the NHS.
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) will now be able to accommodate its workers free of charge at Hotel Football in Trafford and Stock Exchange Hotel in the city centre, in order to “provide them with a comfortable place to stay in these challenging times”.
GG Hospitality CEO, Winston Zahra, said: “We are living in unprecedented times and we have taken these decisions in the most responsible way possible and in a way that supports our team members while also extending further support to the wider community and ensuring our business is stronger when things get back to normal.”
Neville said: “We have taken this decision as we believe in being proactive and decisive. We feel that we have a responsibility to protect our team members and as shareholders we have put together the resources to put us in the best position to do this.
“Our company’s success is all down to our team and we feel it is critical that we look after everyone in these challenging times.”
All staff will be kept in employment, and the hotels will close to the public on 22 March. The sites are set to reopen “once the situation is declared safe”.