Having backgrounds in the health care industry, Silas and Micky Patel said they followed intently the spread of the coronavirus long before it reached pandemic proportions in New York.
They saw the devastation in China and then in Italy, and how communities reacted.
Then they began to see how the pandemic was impacting their livelihood. As husband and wife owners of two hotels on Monroe Avenue in Brighton—the Clarion Pointe and the Hotel on Monroe—they depend on guest reservations. The spread of COVID-19 cases brought an abrupt end to check-ins.
So when they went from a fully booked Clarion Pointe for the weekend of March 13-14 to completely empty because of cancellations, the Patels decided to be proactive and do their part in the fight to flatten the curve.
They offered full use of the Clarion Pointe at 2729 Monroe Ave. to the Monroe County Health Department, and by March 18 had agreed to surrender control for at least two months.
“We understand health care, and in order to solve this problem, everyone has to contribute and this was our way to help,” said Silas Patel, who has a master’s degree in health care finance. His wife works part-time as a nurse at Genesee Valley OB/GYN.
The county announced over the weekend that the Clarion Pointe would provide lodging for Monroe County residents who are not able to isolate at home, perhaps because they live with someone who is immunocompromised or is at risk for other reasons.
“As we find ways to help people during this difficult and uncertain time, it is reassuring to know that so many businesses in our community are eager to step up and do the right thing,” Deputy Monroe County Executive Jeffery McCann said in a news release. “I am so grateful to Clarion Pointe Rochester and all of our partners throughout the county who are providing critical services and supplies.”
Three Clarion Pointe employees will continue working at the hotel for the county. Others had a chance to stay on but, because of the potential risk of working near people possibly infected with COVID-19, they opted not to stay on during the quarantine process, the Patels said.
There are 43 rooms at the hotel for use by the county. Persons quarantined will not be allowed to leave their room for 14 days. Meals will be delivered three times a day and the health of the people under quarantine will be monitored for the duration of the stay.
The Patels said they made sure room amenities like the entertainment system, mini fridge and microwave were fully functional.
The Clarion Pointe works well, Silas Patel said, because it’s a single building with just three entrances/exits, so it easily can be locked down.
During a remodeling and rebranding last spring—from a Comfort Inn to the newest brand line in the Choice Hotel chain—carpeting was replaced by hypoallergenic stone flooring and drapes were replaced by blinds. Those elements lessen the potential spread of the coronavirus.
The Patels expect to dispose of all bedding and towels once the hotel is returned to them. It also will be thoroughly sanitized, they said.
The county has not yet said how much they will pay to use the hotel. “Our motivation was not money,” Silas Patel said. “This virus is going to cross the globe and this is the right decision for the time we’re in.”
He said other hoteliers in the Rochester area have also offered to help the county if the need arises.
The Patels continue to operate the 23-room Hotel on Monroe, which is the renovated Towpath Motel. Three current guests are in town because family members are in the health care profession and need help with household duties or babysitting.
The couple said they’re not concerned that future guests may shy away because the hotel was used as a quarantine facility.
“You wouldn’t not go to the hospital because there are sick people there,” Micky Patel reasoned.