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On the brink of closing, Baltimore hotel finds purpose in helping frontline workers

Posted at 11:14 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 23:23:04-04

BALTIMORE — Health care workers on the front lines are working grueling hours to protect patients, and all of us during this pandemic, which is why a hotel in Baltimore is helping them get a good night’s sleep, after those marathon shifts.

The Residence Inn at Johns Hopkins, which typically provides rooms for the hospital’s patients, is now also providing up to 100 rooms for doctors and nurses.

The hotel teamed up with Johns Hopkins hospital, who are paying for the rooms, to help give frontline workers a convenient place to rest after a long day at work.

“They can actually get off, walk to work, come back, get some rest [and] go back again. And we need those folks to be there on the beat all the time.” said Ian Harvey, the general manager at the hotel.

Harvey says the partnership with the hospital started about a month ago. He says the hotel has been trying to make it as comfortable as possible for the workers.

"We can give them breakfast. If they want lunch, we have lunch prepared [and] up until 9:00 at night we have dinner," he said. “We don’t know medicine, but we know hospitality."

The collaboration is a win-win for them and the hospital.

Across the country, hotels have seen occupancy rates decline dramatically because of the virus.

Harvey says the Residence Inn had to layoff about a dozens workers due to the loss in revenue.

He says they were facing more tough decisions prior to the partnership with the hospital.

“We laid off about 47 total employees," he said. “We were thinking about possibly closing.”

But by being able to fill a need for the hospital, their occupancy rate is now nearly 70 percent. He says that number is expected grow.

"We have 194 suites. We do think by the end of this whole experience, we will be having all of those suites filled on some nights of the month coming in June," he said.

Harvey says he's glad they can keep their doors open for the people who have opened their hearts to all of us.

“We recognize how important it is to keep these guys functioning doing the things we all need to have done so we can get back to normal."