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Published on Thursday, March 19, 2020

Gary Neville scores a blinder

Former Premiership and international footballer Gary Neville has pledged not to make any staff redundant at his two hotels, which are to be opened to health workers free of charge during the coronavirus crisis.

The ex-Manchester United and England defender is closing his two hotels to the public this weekend, freeing 176 beds for NHS and other medical staff.

Neville, who co-owns the Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester city centre and Hotel Football at Old Trafford with former team-mate Ryan Giggs, said staff will all be retained and none will be asked to take unpaid leave.

In a public message, Neville said: "It is something we are delighted to have been able to come to an agreement with.

"It is at this moment in time that the whole of our industry needs to show solidarity, not just for our staff in these uncertain times, but for the people who need the accommodation most in the coming months."
Both hotels will be available to health workers from Friday after consultation with the health service in Greater Manchester.

"Our staff will operate the hotel as normal when health workers are allowed to stay there without any cost whatsoever when they need isolation away from family members who might be affected," added Neville.
Chelsea Football Club announced on Monday that NHS staff in northwest London will be put up at the Millennium hotel at its Stamford Bridge ground. At the time, the NHS said it was 'enormously grateful' to the club and asked for similar offers of support.

Owner Roman Abramovich will pay for the costs involved. "It was decided the best way Chelsea can assist the NHS is to provide accommodation for NHS staff," the club said on its website.

"Many of the medical staff will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes."

Best Western Great Britain is also offering 15,000 hotel bedrooms and over 1,000 meeting rooms to help the NHS and local authorities through the coronavirus crisis. 

The rooms are available for NHS staff, care workers, families, lower risk patients and the over 70s to help take the strain off hospital wards.

Andrew Denton, head of hotel services at Best Western Great Britain, said: "Since our offer to help at the weekend we have had an overwhelmingly positive response from our hotels. Local hospitals, councils and local authorities have also been in touch directly asking for help and today we are repurposing our technology and our call centre to manage the interest and the demand. 

"We would love to plug our supply and support into the NHS system in a coordinated and organised manner. Every day counts now for people on the frontline of this crisis, so we want the NHS to know we are here to help. 

"We would urge the wider hospitality industry to join our cause too. We are serious about helping reduce the number of deaths. 20,000 is too many. If our rooms and our support can be part of the solution that brings that figure down, then we will have done our job." 

Best Western Great Britain is a not-for-profit membership organisation of independently owned hotels. 

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