Updated: Caesars, Others Provide Comfort During Pandemic

NATIONAL REPORT—At times of crisis, the hotel industry makes every effort to take care of its own, as well as others in the areas that they serve. Here are some organizations that are helping any way they can during the coronavirus pandemic:

Caesars Entertainment Donates Food, Personal Protection Supplies
Caesars Entertainment has donated food and essential personal protection equipment across the country to assist healthcare workers, law enforcement and others during the coronavirus crisis. The company has supplied more than 250,000 pounds of food, which is equivalent to approximately 208,000 meals, to numerous food banks and charities. Additionally, it has provided thousands of items including gloves, masks and hand sanitizer to local hospitals, first responders and local charities.

“During these extraordinary circumstances, we are dedicated to assisting our local communities across the country that are heavily impacted by donating perishables to nearby food banks and charities, as well as necessary supplies to first responders,” said Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment. “We will continue to seek ways to give back to our neighbors who are in need as part of our commitment to help put this unprecedented situation we are all facing behind us.”

All Caesars Entertainment resorts and casinos across the United States have volunteered to assist their local communities. Its Las Vegas resorts have donated approximately 116,000 pounds of perishable food items to Three Square Food Bank, and provided gloves, masks and sanitizers from inventory to University Medical Center (UMC), Las Vegas. The company’s three resorts in Atlantic City, NJ, have donated more than 40,000 pounds of food to Community Food Bank of Southern New Jersey, Atlantic City Rescue Mission and Salvation Army. In addition, they have also donated food not suitable for human consumption to animal rescues in need like The Funny Farm in Mays Landing, NJ.

UPDATE: In tandem with Paris, France, the Eiffel Tower replica at Paris Las Vegas will feature a twinkling light show at 8 p.m. Pacific Time every night for 10 minutes to honor healthcare workers and symbolize hope as the world faces this unprecedented pandemic together.

Additionally, Caesars Entertainment will illuminate the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas and the High Roller Observation Wheel at The Linq Promenade in red, white and blue nightly as beacons of hope for America. The Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas will be lit static red, white and blue from dusk to midnight, while the light shows at the High Roller will begin at dusk.

Bruno Mars Donates $1M to MGM Resorts Foundation
Musician Bruno Mars, who has performed a series of limited dates at the Park MGM theater, has donated $1 million to the MGM Resorts Foundation to support MGM employees impacted economically by the pandemic.

A representative for Mars says, “The people at MGM have given Bruno Mars the rare opportunity to be able to continuously gig while he’s in the creative process of working on his next album. With the closures across Las Vegas, Bruno wanted to show his appreciation to the amazing employees who help make these shows possible in hopes that we’ll all be out of this situation and having fun together again very soon.”

The money will go toward The MGM Resorts Foundation’s Employee Emergency Grant Fund & Children’s Medical Support Fund, which is designed to help MGM employees and their immediate families with short-term assistance during unexpected hardships and emergencies. The fund may also provide disaster relief assistance to furloughed or laid-off employees whose compensation is suspended or employment terminated as a result of an extraordinary event (or events) that severely impacts a community in which MGM Resorts conducts business, such as the COVID-19 public health crisis.

DreamCatcher Hotels Donates Food to Cherokees
Memphis, TN-based DreamCatcher Hotels is sending food to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, with whom the company is building a new convention center hotel on the Cherokee’s Qualla Boundary reservation.

The reservation is under self-imposed quarantine and has closed its roads to prevent the virus from entering and spreading through the community. The tribe has 9,600 people living on the Qualla Boundary, many of whom are part of the at-risk older population and students who are no longer receiving school meals. The meal packages were prepared by Charlie Vergos Rendezvous BBQ restaurant in Memphis.

“Our goal is to provide some much-needed comfort to people in North Carolina who mean a lot to us,” said DreamCatcher Hotels founder Greg Hnedak. “We know the families on the Cherokee reservation are growing weary of coping with these challenging times, as are local restaurant employees. We hope to give both of them a boost of kindness and connection through the meals we’ve purchased and are donating.”

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa Helps Employees
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, located in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, is committed to continuing to care for the well-being and livelihood of its employees during the crisis while it is temporarily closed.

The resort is paying its full-time and salary employees during the one-month closure, including full-time servers, cooks, housekeepers, front-desk agents and others. It is also distributing to its hourly employees all perishable food such as milk, eggs, juices and produce.

Rancho Valencia has also launched a canned food drive and organized a partnership with local San Diego nonprofit ProduceGood to provide excess fruits and produce from local farmers and residents for employees and families in need of additional support once ‘shelter in place’ orders are lifted.

“Our employees are the heart and soul of our resort, and we are committed to keeping them healthy and safe,” said General Manager Coni Thornburg. “During these difficult times, our focus is on service to those in need, both within and outside of our Rancho Valencia family.”

Airbnb Hosts to Provide Housing for Medical Workers, First Responders
Airbnb has a new global initiative to help connect those responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with places to stay while they carry out their critical work. The company’s goal is to help house 100,000 healthcare professionals, relief workers and first responders around the world. Airbnb will waive all fees for stays arranged through this initiative.

“Medical workers and first responders are providing lifesaving support during the coronavirus outbreak and we want to help,” said Airbnb’s co-founder Joe Gebbia. “We’ve heard from countless hosts around the world who want to provide a comforting home to heroic first responders. We are connecting our nonprofit partners, government agencies and others with our incredible host community to work together in these extraordinary times.”

To enable healthcare providers and other COVID-19 responders to find housing, Airbnb will be working with businesses, nonprofits and government and emergency management agencies supporting these responders. Hosts can opt into the program and have the option of opening their homes for free through Airbnb’s Open Homes platform, created in 2012 to meet the needs of people requiring emergency housing. If hosts are not able to host for free, Airbnb will still waive all fees on the stay.