NEW DELHI: The process to convert five major hotels in Delhi, including the ITC Sheraton at Saket and Crowne Plaza in Okhla, into makeshift hospitals for covid-19 patients is facing resistance, with an hospitality industry body asking the state government to revoke the order.
The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has written a letter to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, asking to revoke the order which has asked five hotels in the city to be attached to covid-19 hospitals.
“It is quite ridiculous to allow hotels to start operations and then attach them to covid-19 hospitals. There will be a huge stigma attached to these properties and guests will not consider staying there,” Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, vice president of FHRAI, told Mint.
A day after the Delhi government order, the Centre had issued a notification allowing the hospitality industry to resume operations from 8 June, which in effect provided hope for an industry battered by the covid-19 pandemic.
Kohli added that the association will write a fresh letter to Kejriwal asking to revoke the order. The decision to write a new letter comes after Kejriwal’s recent statement, where he said that there is no shortage of beds, with 4,100 beds lying vacant to treat covid-19 patients.
The Delhi government on Friday asked five major hotels across the city to function as makeshift hospitals for patients of the deadly respiratory disease, and each of the hotels has been attached to a covid-designated private hospital.
ITC Ltd’s Hotel Sheraton at Saket has been attached to Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Hotel Crowne Plaza at Okhla Phase-I to the nearby Batra Hospital & Research Centre and Hotel Surya in New Friends Colony to Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
Dr BL Kapur Memorial Hospital and Sir Ganga Ram City Hospital will be attached to the Hotel Siddharth at Rajendra Place and Hotel Jivitesh at Pusa Road, respectively, as per the order.
While the Delhi government made the order public, it has not yet officially communicated it to the concerned hotels, as per officials from two of the hotels.
“Even in the past, the government has asked to keep our hotels ready for guests and medical-staff but it has not materialised. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions. Once we get the order, we will seek clarifications from the local authorities on the requirements,” said Sudeep Jain, managing director of South West Asia, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which owns Crowne Plaza hotel brand.
Emailed queries sent to ITC on Tuesday did not elicit any reply.
The hotel industry’s decision, however, would be a problem for private hospitals, who say that they are under increasing pressure for admission of patients as almost all of their covid-dedicated beds are occupied.
Max hospital at Saket, Indraprastha Apollo, and Sir Gangaram hospital are the worst hit, with 95-98% of their dedicated bed capacities occupied, according to hospital officials and Delhi government’s data.