5 things to know: 24 March 2020
5 things to know: 24 March 2020
24 MARCH 2020 9:45 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Hotel companies finding temporary work for furloughed staff
  • Chicago to rent out hotel rooms for coronavirus isolation
  • FF&E delays easing, but US developers are hitting pause
  • MGM Resorts names Bill Hornbuckle as acting CEO
  • Deadline for Real ID requirements to be pushed back

Hotel companies finding temporary work for furloughed staff: To help employees furloughed as hotels have been temporarily closed because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, some hotel brand companies are partnering with other companies to find short-term jobs.

In a news release, Hilton shared it has partnered with companies such as Albertsons, Amazon, CVS, Lidl, Sunrise Senior Living and Walgreens to find temporary work solutions through its Hilton Workforce Resource Center. The company hopes to expand this program globally and “plans to welcome these Team Members back when travel resumes,” the release states.

Marriott International has a similar program in place and has partnered with CVS, Albertsons, Manpower, Pepsi, HCA Healthcare, First Service Residential, Kroger, Walmart, Shipt Grocery Delivery, Home Depot, Alight and Amazon with more to come.

Chicago to rent out hotel rooms for coronavirus isolation: The city of Chicago has plans to rent hotel rooms in the area for people diagnosed with COVID-19 or those who believe they have been exposed to it, the Chicago Tribune reports. The idea is to slow or stop infections and help ease the burden on hospitals.

Five Chicago hotels with a combined 1,000 rooms are currently part of the plan, and there should be more than 2,000 rooms available by the end of the week, the article states. Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association President and CEO Michael Jacobson told the newspaper the number of hotels wanting to help is constantly growing.

“Statewide, we’ve already identified over 12,000 rooms,” Jacobson said. “This morning I’ve gotten five or six new hotels that have volunteered. They’re answering the call to action and they want to be helpful to the city and the state.”

FF&E delays easing, but U.S. developers are hitting pause: The COVID-19 outbreak affected both the production and delivery of materials needed for hotel development. While that has started to ease somewhat, U.S. developers have had to slow or stop their projects, HNN’s Dana Miller reports.

Factories in China are beginning to reopen, but they are “not out of the woods” yet and they are in a “completely different spot than where (the U.S. is),” said Alan Benjamin, president of Denver-based purchasing firm Benjamin West.

MGM Resorts names Bill Hornbuckle as acting CEO: MGM Resorts International has appointed President and COO Bill Hornbuckle as acting CEO and president to replace Jim Murren, who announced in February he would step down from the role, according to a news release. The company has also named board member Paul Salem as the board of director’s new chairman.

“I fully support accelerating the planned leadership transition to help MGM Resorts address the rapidly changing environment,” Murren said in the release. “I have great confidence in Bill Hornbuckle and the management team to lead MGM Resorts at this critical juncture, as we have together through numerous hardships of the past. I will continue to dedicate my efforts to help during this uncertain time, and I will be assisting the state of Nevada in its crisis response and recovery efforts.”

Deadline for Real ID requirements to be pushed back: President Donald Trump said the government will push back the 1 October deadline for travelers to obtain a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or state ID card, USA Today reports. By delaying the deadline, the government hopes to avoid crowds at state department of motor vehicle offices during a time when people are encouraged to stay home because of COVID-19.

Without pushing back the deadline, travelers without a Real ID-compliant identification card would not be allowed to board any plane after 1 October, the article states. As of February, nearly two-thirds of Americas still do not have a compliant license.

The U.S. Travel Association praised the decision to extend the Real ID deadline, calling it a “wise course of action at this juncture.”

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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