BENGALURU: Hotel owners on Wednesday told the State Government that they are ready to convert their establishments into step-down hospitals or Covid Care Centres, but wondered aloud that where is the staff needed to man the facilities. The matter was raised at a virtual meeting between hotel associations and Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and PHANA members.
A member of a hotel association, who did not wish to be identified, told The New Indian Express that so far, 1,000 rooms in 10 hotels have been set aside for this. The government wants 2,000 rooms, but the association said that 1,200 can be given at the moment as housekeeping staff for these many has been trained.
“The rooms are ready as there is no business. But does the government have the doctors, nurses, staff, oxygen and ventilators (as emergency) for the hotel rooms?” he said. “Due to the pandemic, our business is very slow. If a hotel becomes a CCC, then depending upon the category, a hospital will pay Rs 1,500- 2,200 per bed. The money is paid as room rent and for food. If it is a reputed hospital, then the rates will be higher. So even though it’s not profitable, the money will help meet the salaries of hotel staffers, provided at least 60-80 per cent of the beds are occupied. So, hotels are keen to offer rooms, but hospitals are taking time as they need the infrastructure.”
At the meeting, Bommai instructed the officials to find more facilities with rooms in BBMP zones and gradually increase the number of beds in step-down hospitals. BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said that hospitals registered under the KPME Act can tie up with hotels in their neighbourhood and start a health facility immediately.
Health Department officials assured the meeting that they will provide doctors and nurses for these facilities. Retired doctors and students will also be utilised in these centres. Hotel association president P C Rao said that already, with the help of 13 hospitals, around 1,200 hotel bed have been kept ready.