Former Man United footballer Gary Neville has announced that the two hotels he part-owns with former Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs will be made available free of charge to NHS workers.
National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded healthcare system in England, and one of the four National Health Service systems in the United Kingdom. It is the largest single-payer healthcare system in the world.
Hotel Football, located near Old Trafford, and The Stock Exchange in the city centre are owned by the pair through their GG Hospitality group.
It comes after Premier League club Chelsea offered NHS workers free accommodation for the next two months at the Millennium Hotel at its Stamford Bridge ground to help with the COVID-19 outbreak.
The cost of the rooms will be covered by club owner Roman Abramovich.
Neville said he and Giggs will do the same, with the scheme in place from Friday onwards in order to help accommodate medical workers during the coronavirus crisis.
“Over the last week we have been in consultation with the health services in the Greater Manchester area, in particular the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust,” Neville said in a video posted on social media.
“Our 176 beds will be occupied by National Health Service workers and medical professionals from Friday onwards.
“It’s at this time that I think the whole of our industry needs to show solidarity, not just for our staff in these uncertain times but obviously for those who need the accommodation most in the coming months.
“It’s something we’re delighted to have come into agreement with. It will operate free of charge and our staff will operate the hotels as normal.
“The health workers will be able to stay there without any cost whatsoever in these next few months when they need isolation away from family members who may be affected by what’s going on.
“Stay safe and we wish everybody all the best.”
Chelsea said in its statement on Wednesday: “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. Local accommodation helps maintain the health and well-being of these crucial personnel at this critical time.
“This will be for a two-month period, and then reconsidered in light of circumstances at the time. NHS staff will be those working in hospitals in the North-West London region, but that may extend to hospitals in other districts.”
It added: “The number of rooms utilised will depend on demand but potentially all the rooms in the Millennium Hotel could be given over for this purpose. No staff showing symptoms will use the hotel.
“Millennium Hotels and Resorts, who manage the hotel, are supportive and assisting the club in providing this service to the NHS.”