Hotel owners in the ACT have offered their facilities as isolation units to the ACT government as a way to keep the businesses afloat and staff employed while relieving future pressure on the hospital system.
The ACT government has signalled it will announce extra support for front-line workers and vulnerable individuals, including making accommodation available to those who need it.
The Australian Hotels Association's ACT general manager, Anthony Brierly, said the association's members had offered support to free up critical care and hospital beds.
"Hotels can safely facilitate the accommodation of patients in the later stages of recuperation to make way for those diagnosed with COVID-19, through a number of systematic measures including sectioning off entire floors and allowing medical staff to support patients as they would in hospital," Mr Brierly said.
Ramada Encore Belconnen general manager Carol Sinclair said she could offer 140 rooms across two hotels in Canberra, where cancellations have left both close to empty.
Ms Sinclair said the Belconnen hotel, formerly known as Premier Hotel and Apartments, was ideal for self-isolation as all rooms had separate external access.
"We could easily provide accommodation for self isolation and we can provide meals for them. We're not doing that at the moment because we haven't been requested, but we're already set up to do that should it happen. We would just have to bring staff back in and we would do that," Ms Sinclair said.
Ms Sinclair said she had put in place procedures in line with ACT Health guidelines to ensure safety for those isolating and hotel staff.
"There are some complexities and you do need to be prepared. We have written procedures around it. And we've made sure that it's only management staff that have direct contact with them and things like that. We even have a procedure if they have symptoms," she said.
Staff have been briefed on how to deliver food and supplies to rooms, how often to sterile door knobs and the correct cleaning chemicals.
Ms Sinclair said she did not want to be called upon to provide isolation accommodation and not be prepared.
"We worked out we could even put together a roster so that anyone who's self isolating, because the mental health's an issue, where we can say, 'OK, you're in room 202, you can go outside through this door between 10am and 10.30, and you're not allowed to talk to anyone.' And then they come back in, we sterilise all the door handles and we tell the next person they can go out," she said.
Ms Sinclair said her staff would be eager to follow any health requirements so they could keep working in what she said was the worst period in hospitality she had ever seen.
"My staff will absolutely put ensuring they wash their hands and follow every procedure and work with us on this rather than stand down. They would do anything not to have to stand down at the moment. It's heartbreaking," she said.
An ACT government spokeswoman said a small number of Canberra Health Services staff had been provided accommodation support to self-isolate from family.
The NSW and Victorian state governments have already announced support for workers to access accommodation to isolate from vulnerable family members.
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