5 things to know: 25 March 2020
5 things to know: 25 March 2020
25 MARCH 2020 9:53 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • White House, legislators reach deal on $2-trillion stimulus
  • Stocks rise after news of stimulus deal
  • The steps hotels are taking to keep guests, staff safe
  • Japanese hotel boom a bust after Olympics postponed
  • Swiss luxury hotel offers quarantine package

White House, legislators reach deal on $2-trillion stimulus: After extended negotiations, U.S. senators and the Trump administration have come to an agreement on a stimulus package estimated at $2 trillion to help American citizens and businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Senate is expected to vote on it later Wednesday, and the House will quickly take the bill from there.

The bill includes provisions for providing money directly to individuals and their families as well as an expansion of unemployment benefits, the article states. It also includes $150 billion for the U.S. health care system and $500 billion in corporate aid, “much of which will go toward backstopping Federal Reserve loans.”

The bill includes the creation of an inspector general and oversight board to monitor the corporate aid, according to the article. The bill also places a ban on stock buybacks for companies who take out a government loan from the stimulus package that lasts the duration of the government assistance plus one year.

Stocks rise after news of stimulus deal: Stocks rose Wednesday morning following the news that the White House and legislators reached a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus package, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 3% while the S&P 500 grew 1.8% and the Nasdaq Composite by 1.4%.

These gains are followed by the biggest “one-day rally in 87 years Tuesday,” the article states.

The steps hotels are taking to keep guests, staff safe: While many hotels have closed because of COVID-19, those staying open have been taking extra steps to make sure their employees and guests are staying safe, reports HNN contributor Laura Koss-Feder.

Many housekeepers are now wearing gloves and are cleaning public areas and “touch points,” such as elevator buttons and door handles, more frequently, the article states. Regarding food and beverage, there are new requirements increasing the frequency of handwashing among other new standards.

“Hotels are also implementing protocols related to guests who arrive for check-in and exhibit symptoms of a virus or inform the property that they have tested positive for the virus and wish to self-quarantine at the hotel,” said Andria Ryan, partner and co-chairperson of law firm Fisher Phillips’ Hospitality Industry Team. “Some hotels have made the difficult decision to turn away such guests; others have decided to allow the guests to check in and work with local health officials to handle that situation.”

Japanese hotel boom a bust after Olympics postponed: Japanese hotel owners and developers rushed to build and open new hotels to meet the demand created by the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, those same owners are seeing the fruits of their labor go to waste following the coronavirus outbreak and this year’s summer games being postponed to 2021, Reuters reports.

“Across Japan, hotels have seen a drastic fall in bookings as countries restrict travel to stem the spread of the virus and the Japanese government discourages people from unnecessary travel,” the news agency reports. “A boom in hotel construction and overinvestment in the hospitality sector in recent years had already sparked concerns over the sustainability of the market, even before the spread of the coronavirus.”

Swiss luxury hotel offers quarantine package: Swiss luxury hotel and serviced apartments Le Bijou is offering a COVID-19 service quarantine package to hotel guests that offers in-room testing, doctor visits and around-the-clock nurse care, The Washington Post reports. Demand for this service has increased from two inquiries a day to up to six a day within the last week and a half.

The hotel offers automated check-in, food delivery and personal chef services, the article states. Staff only cleans the rooms before and after guests check out. Those who want to can order medical services a la carte from a partnering private medical service. Testing is available for $500, while nurse checks twice a day costs $1,800 and 24/7 nurse care costs $4,800.

“While the company can arrange medical coverage for guests, it is not encouraging those with COVID-19 to relocate to Le Bijou properties,” the article states.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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