Hundreds of hotels in Wuhan call for financial aid after providing free rooms for medical workers

Society & Culture

Hundreds of hotels in Wuhan have teamed up on an open letter calling on the local government to issue financial assistance after they provided free accommodation for medical workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hundreds of hotels in Wuhan have teamed up on an open letter (in Chinese) calling on the local government to issue financial assistance after they provided free accommodation for medical workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative was created by “Hotel Apartment Volunteer Union” (酒店公寓志愿联盟 jiǔdiàn gōngyù zhìyuàn liánméng), an online community of more than 300 independent hotel owners and apartment building landlords who voluntarily provided free accommodation for healthcare workers.  

The letter calls for a series of aid packages and incentive measures from the Wuhan government to assist their businesses. The methods mentioned in the letter included financial aid, loan programs, rent relief, and vouchers designed to boost consumption in tourism.

According to the alliance, since Wuhan was placed under lockdown in January, over 300 hotels in the city have offered to house medical personnel for free. By its estimates, as of last week, when Wuhan ended its lockdown, these hotels have collectively provided 200,000 nights of free stays for healthcare workers, valued in total at more than 20 million yuan ($2.83 million).

The group also noted that as Wuhan gradually lifts its restrictions for many activities, the hotel industry is not yet seeing signs of recovery. Citing “exorbitant rent prices” and “low demand for hotel rooms,” the union predicted that a considerable number of small to medium-sized hotels would collapse in May and June if no government-backed assistance was given. Meanwhile, thousands of hotel workers would lose their jobs.

“Even though we exhausted most of our resources during the pandemic, we squeezed every penny out of our pockets to contribute to the battle against the outbreak,” the group wrote. “Now we are anxiously waiting for assistance from the government.”

The letter has received an outpouring of support on the Chinese internet, with many urging the Wuhan government to respond and come up with viable solutions to help the businesses back on their feet. “They’ve done everything at their disposal to contribute. Now it’s time for the government to return the favor,” a Weibo user commented (in Chinese).