To fight the coronavirus epidemic, the Spanish government has decided to close hotels, empty of their customers for several days. The establishments will be able to accommodate patients or nursing staff.
After schools and non-essential shops, it is the hotels that close in Spain. “Check out” signs are multiplying in front of hotel establishments in Madrid because of the coronavirus epidemic. In addition to extending the containment, the Spanish government is expected to tighten it up. The hotels have until Wednesday to close their doors across the country, but most have not waited, due to a lack of customers. In Spain, the toll linked to the coronavirus epidemic is increasing day by day with more than 1,700 deaths.
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The Catalonia Gran Vía hotel in Madrid closed on Sunday March 22. In recent days, customers have been scarce. Alberto takes care of breakfasts in this four star hotel with around 200 rooms: “Last night, eight guests slept at the hotel and there are only three left. Usually this season we are 80% full, he explains. It's brutal, there have been a lot of layoffs because of the closure of the hotel but it has to be closed, it's the government's order. ” Management promises to re-hire the dismissed employees when the days are better.
In a corner, Susana is having a coffee. She got stuck in Madrid because it's not just hotels that close. “They canceled my flight, she explains. I come from Santiago de Compostela and I live in Alicante. My husband is confined to the house and I am here. I'm going to try to have a train but it's a real way of the cross to go home because they cancel everything “, she says.
Also in Madrid, the Gran Colon hotel receives patients from the nearby hospital, near the implosion. At reception, reception is now done in white coats and medical beds have been installed on the upper floors. Xavier runs the newsstand right next to the luxury hotel: “It is requisitioned for the sick. This one has no more clients. The first patients arrived by ambulance”, he testifies.
In the coming days, more and more Madrid hotels should turn into hospitals. Forty say ready to receive the sick or carers to allow them to rest without risking contaminating their loved ones.