Coronavirus: Free hotel room program for essential workers running out of funds

Coronavirus: Free hotel rooms for front-line essential service workers
A B.C. hotel company is providing free rooms to front-line essential service workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

What started as a promotion offering bottom rates for hotel rooms for front-line essential service workers soon changed to an outpour of support from B.C. communities.

“When this all started, we got a call from a nurse in Victoria who was desperate for a place for her and her colleagues to self-isolate,” said Trina Notman, an Accent Inn spokesperson.

“She told us a lot of nurses were sleeping in their cars. This shocked us and we immediately put together this rock-bottom rate for essential service workers.

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While the initiative has been a great success so far, Accent Inn’s Trina Notman says she doesn’t know how long the initiative will last.

“We’re still working with the United Way to get more donations in,” Notman told Global News on Saturday.

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“Right now, we’re able to cover workers’ stays but we’re worried the fund is going to dry up soon.”

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Accent Inn’s staff say the outpour of support from the communities is inspiring and if people feel the need to donate, they can head over to United Way Greater Victoria’s website to help.

Accent Inns then partnered with the United Way Greater Victoria and created the Hotels for Frontline Workers Fund.

“A wonderful surprise was we were flooded with calls from people that actually want to pay for a night’s stay for these workers.”

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Here in Kelowna, the Accent Inn has seen around 30 front-line essential service workers use its new program.

“We’re seeing everyone, from grocery clerks to doctors and nurses,” said Jessica Williams, a Kelowna Accent Inn staff member.

Across B.C., Accent Inns has now provided over 118 essential service workers with free hotel rooms.

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