DOCTORS, paramedics, hospital cooks and cleaners could self-isolate at Wimmera and Grampians hotels, as part of a Victorian government scheme.
On Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos announced hospital workers who test positive for coronavirus - and those that have had unanticipated and unprotected contact with a person suspected of having coronavirus - will be put up in hotels or apartments to self-isolate free of charge.
In late March, accommodation providers were asked to fill in a form expressing their interest in the program, with the promise of $120 per room per night to each businesses selected to participate.
An email sent to providers said the government is seeking to secure 1000 rooms statewide. In a statement, Mr Andrews and Ms Mikakos said all rooms offered would be assessed to ensure they were appropriately located and set up, and did not put other guests at risk of infection.
Melinda O'Dowd, manager of Olde Horsham Motor Inn, said a lack of bookings and the unique facilities compelled her to register her interest in taking part.
"Being on three acres and out of town it's a bit more private, so we're probably well-placed to help people self-isolate," she said.
"We have three different sections of rooms, so we would keep any self-isolating patients completely separate from other rooms - they wouldn't pass other guests in the hallway.
"We are running at less than five per cent occupancy at the moment, so state government funding would be a more reliable source of income at this time.
"We've heard you have the option if they contacted you again to say 'yes' or 'no' depending on your situation. They have told us domestic violence victims, if facilities run out for them, could also be offered rooms."
Mrs O'Dowd said the business had updated its practices to stay trading.
"Our reception is closed and everything has to be done by phone," she said.
"We deliver breakfast going into a room we just pass it through a window, and the guests who have stayed so far - none of whom have needed to self-isolate, by the way - have been respectful of that.
TRIBUTE: Vale Olde Horsham owner Evan Mackley
Horsham Motel's Ashleigh Goraya said she decided not to apply as she and her children lived on the premises.
"We get many tradies staying here - two or three per night - so we don't to take any risks," he said.
Grampians Tourism chief executive Marc Sleeman said he had heard of other accommodation providers across the region that had applied to house self-isolating medical staff, and that the program had been "well oversubscribed" with applicants.
He said there were no guarantees Grampians providers that registered their interest would ultimately support anyone that come into contact with coronavirus.
"If people are self-isolating, it doesn't matter where they are," he said. "I think the biggest concern for us are people thinking they can self-isolate here in a holiday home and all of sudden we find there are 5000 people here. The closure of the national park overnight will certainly deter that."
Mr Sleeman said hotels and motels could still accept lawfully bookings during the lockdown period.
"If it's for non-essential travel, people can be fined for not staying home, but the businesses won't be," he said.
He also welcomed federal parliament signing off of $130 billion worth of wage subsidies to business owners, saying it would help hospitality and tourism operations in the Grampians.
"We will be well-positioned to host Melburnians wanting to escape city life, so we are going to need as many businesses ready to go as possible," he said.
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