SEOUL, April 1 (Korea Bizwire) — Hotels and other lodging facilities struggling with a plunging number of customers following the novel coronavirus outbreak are facing another problem with some of their guests turning out to be infected patients.
In an increasing number of cases, coronavirus patients, initially showing no particular symptoms, have stayed at hotels before testing positive for the infection.
Hotels that have accommodated an infected guest are left without any choice but to shut down temporarily.
These hotels have been requiring guests to go through strict check-in procedures of measuring body temperature with thermal imaging cameras, and checking if they recently visited a foreign country or engaged in physical contact with an infected patient.
Some customers have tested positive for COVID-19 during their stay or shortly after checking out, forcing hotels to shut down.
For hotels, there are no means to prevent the entry of guests who fail to disclose the possibility of infection or related symptoms.
Temporary shutdowns, ranging from two days to as long as two weeks, pose a serious threat to business. Businesses cannot receive reservations during the shutdown period, and refunds for guests and reservations are costly.
Also, the news of an infected guest can hurt an establishment’s reputation, leaving hotels seriously concerned.
For hotels, preparations for temporary shutdown are more complex than other businesses.
For starters, hotels notified of an infection by quarantine authorities should immediately reach out to their guests and ask them to check out or move to another hotel.
In addition, they have to contact all customers and cancel all reservations during the shut-down period.
Even after shutting down the building and carrying out various quarantine and disinfection procedures, hotels have to take extra care to keep their quarters clean and live up to their reputation.
“Hotels choose to stay open to keep their promises to guests, even if they are struggling with plunging demand. It is more so for larger hotels,” a source familiar with the hotel industry said.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)