HOTELS in Oxfordshire closed by the coronavirus lockdown could be providing accommodation for key workers and vulnerable groups including the homeless.

Last week the government said businesses providing holiday accommodation, including hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses and short term lets, should take steps to close for commercial use as quickly as is safely possible.

The shutdown is a huge financial blow for the leisure industry, and hotels have been forced to close their doors to the usual guests while they wait for the restrictions to be lifted.

Oxford Mail:

READ AGAIN: Frontline air ambulance crew in need of kit

They are being backed by the Oxford Mail's #StillopeninOxfordshire campaign.

The Old Bank hotel in High Street, which also runs Quod restaurant, said on its website that a decision has been taken to temporarily close.

Oxford Mail:

The advice to guests added: “Our priority is to follow government advice, look after our valuable staff and be ready to reopen when the time comes.

“We are positive about the future; our teams are working behind the scenes and are looking forward to welcoming you back as soon as possible.”

READ MORE: Rules not taken seriously as residents request apple sauce

According to the government, full consideration should be given to the possible exclusions for residents that should be allowed to remain.

It added: “Any decision to close should be implemented in full compliance with the social distancing guidelines.”

Oxford Mail:

The Travelodge chain, which has its headquarters in Thame, is one of those which has been asked to accommodate key workers including staff from the NHS, at selected hotels.

The company has a number of hotels in Oxfordshire including one on Abingdon Road, which remains open for key workers and other emergency groups.

The company said: “Travelodge has been obliged to commence the temporary closure of its hotels in line with the instructions from the government.

READ MORE: Term time holiday fines more than double

“We do expect to remain open in selected critical locations across the country to support accommodation for emergency workers and other groups.”

Oxford Mail:

Oxford’s most famous hotel The Randolph in Beaumont Street shut temporarily on Friday.

Its website said: “While our team is deeply dedicated to serving both our guests and neighbouring communities, we believe closing our hotels is critical for the health and safety of all at this time. Rooms are still available for future bookings.”

Mirjam Peternek-McCartney, CEO of Oxford-based Lemongrass Marketing, said the lockdown has had a devastating effect on business.

Oxford Mail:

She said: “The Covid-19 crisis has been disastrous for our industry and as a consequence for our business.

READ MORE: Oxford homeless to be put up in hotels

“We have lost close to 70 per cent of our revenues within the space of 10 days.

Oxford Mail:

"We market hotels and tourist boards both in the UK and abroad and as the travel restrictions came into force, it meant all of our hotel clients had to shut down.”