(CNN)Two hotels run by former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville will open their doors for free to National Health Service employees to help during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hotel Football and The Stock Exchange — both based in Manchester, England, are co-owned by Neville and his former teammate, Ryan Giggs, through their GG Hospitality group. To aid NHS workers who might have to be separated from their families while they treat Covid-19, Neville is freeing all up the beds in both hotels.
A message from our co-owner Gary Neville. @GNev2 @hotelfootballuk @StockExHotel pic.twitter.com/jxNSI5maUf
— GG Hospitality (@GG_Hospitality) March 18, 2020 “Our 176 beds will be occupied by National Health Service workers and medical professionals,” Neville said in a video posted on Twitter.”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.Read More”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.”Neville announced that both hotels would shut over the weekend, allowing medical workers to move in on Friday. And protecting the livelihood of the hotel’s employees in a time of crisis was high on the 45-year-old’s list of priorities. “We’ve taken this decision with that foremost in our minds. The second most important thing is our staff and our team members and that they retain their income over the next few months,” the former Manchester United captain said. “We will not be making anybody redundant or asking anybody to take unpaid leave. We’re working now on a package with our staff to ensure their income. They are our most important people and are the lifeblood of our business.”It comes a day after Chelsea’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich offered to pay for hospital staff in London to stay at a club hotel amid the coronavirus outbreak.Abramovich announced Wednesday that he will put up Britain’s NHS staff at the club’s Millenium Hotel for at least the next two months as support during the virus. READ: Olympics are ‘cursed,’ says Japan’s deputy prime minister
Giggs (left) and Neville (right) look on during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Fulham in 2011.
In the absence of football, one professional football club in Scotland is changing its name to ensure that people remain connected to the club as people spend time in isolation. Previously called Partick Thistle Football Club, the club announced it has rebranded to become Partick Thistle Family Club and would strive to “keep fans connected.”In an attempt to maintain that family atmosphere, the club will make efforts to keep in direct contact with elderly supporters, offer entertainment through past games and provide keep fit tips.
The Partick Thistle mascot Jaggy Macbee before the Scottish Premiership League match between Partick Thistle and Dundee United in 2013.”Nothing is more important than people’s health and wellbeing. Nothing is more important than the welfare of our supporters,” Thistle chairman Jacqui Low said in a statement. Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features, and videos
“Isolation is a troubling word — we don’t want any fan to suffer and feel socially disconnected. So our message to our family of supporters is clear: your football club is your family and we will be there for you.”As well as the name change, an updated club badge will also be released.