Hotels push to become COVID-19 vaccination sites

American Hotel & Lodging Association advocates aid to national agencies, local hotel agrees

ORLANDO, Fla. – Vaccination sites continue to pop up, from grocery stores to convention centers and even the airport.

Add hotels to that list of possible sites, after the American Hotel & Lodging Association sent a letter to the President-elect’s transition team and other top government agencies advocating to assist in administering vaccines.

“America’s hotels stand ready to work alongside America’s governors as states continue to move forward in administrating the COVID-19 vaccine,” the letter said. “By quickly mobilizing an existing network of sites, hotels can help strengthen the delivery and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in communities across the country to better streamline and build on current state efforts.”

To view the full letter, click here.

“The quicker the vaccine distribution happens and we can get back to normal, the quicker our industry can get back to normal,” Chip Rogers, President, and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “As you know, we’ve been hurt more than just about anybody.”

According to Visit Orlando, there are more than 450 resorts, inns, and hotels in our area.

As managing director of Caribe Royale Orlando, Amaury Piedra embraces the idea.

“It’s definitely something people should help with,” he said. “I know from a Caribe Royale perspective, if we had the opportunity to be a part of it, I would welcome it.”

Back in October, News 6 watched as Caribe Royale stepped up to help those in need by donated mattresses, dressers, and box springs to the non-profit Mustard Seed of Central Florida, which was inundated with requests after many were laid off or furloughed during the pandemic.

Piedra points to large refrigerators, meeting rooms, ample parking, and existing cleaning procedures as key reasons why a site would make sense at many hotels.

“Whereas a mobile site or a site not used to hosting groups or things like that will have to put it together on the fly, large hotels, medium hotels have this in place already,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re all part of the communities that we serve.”

During a scheduled news conference, Dr. Raul Pino with Orange County told News 6 that Disney could also become a vaccination site down the road.

“They are coming [Friday] to see what we are doing at the Orange County Convention Center,” he said. “So that is a possibility they are looking at.”

It’s not clear when hotels in Central Florida could become vaccination sites, however, Rogers pointed to several examples across the country where they are already being used.

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