A Stoke-on-Trent hotel is booked up until July – helping key workers who need to isolate from their families.
The Potbank Aparthotel in Stoke provides self-contained accommodation with ensuite bathrooms and kitchens.
And, while most other hotels across the country have been ordered to close, it is providing vital refuge for those who cannot stay at home during the coronavirus crisis.
Potbank is fully booked for the moment but its sister premises Lymedale Suites in Newcastle – which offers the same type of accommodation – still has some availability.
Owner Jeff Nash is letting out the units at cost price. He said: “All of our rooms have en-suites, a living space with sofas desks and TVs, and a mini kitchen.
“Because we offer self-contained suites we noticed even in late January that demand had been creeping up, with guests who wanted to manage their social contact and also self-isolate if they needed to.
“We also started seeing doctors and key workers amongst this demand who were obviously staying with us to manage their own risk of contact with vulnerable family members.
“As risks surrounding the virus began to increase it was obvious this was going to be a more widespread concern so we decided we would prepare to entirely focus on providing key workers with a safe place outside of their front line work places. We started this preparation several weeks ago and we are now ready to help.
“We really admire the sacrifices these people are making and we are determined to help keep them and their families safe while they stay with us.
“As a small independent company, we cannot offer these rooms for free, but we can offer them at cost and will be looking for other support to reduce these costs further.
“We would be happy to supply these rooms direct to the NHS if they request and have made them aware of our facilities.”
The Potbank Aparthotel, situated on the Spode Works, recently featured in Channel Four reality show Four in a Bed, after filming took place there last year. The Lymedale Suites in located on the A34.
Jeff said his business insurance would have covered him if he chose to close the hotels for the duration of the crisis, but he wanted to make the accommodation available to those who needed it.
“We carried on focusing on the key workers because it was clear to us it was needed,” he said. We have secured supply chains, acquired additional equipment, got the staff on board and developed special procedures to keep our staff and guests safe.
“We have also had help from our bank, Lloyds, our insurance brokers and also from virus experts at Keele University who agreed to review our procedures.
“We know the next few months are going to be tough, but we are determined to play our part in the effort to defeat the virus.”
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