Ascott houses healthcare staff in Singapore, China, France amid coronavirus pandemic

Surgical masks given to Ascott Jakarta from a long-term guest (left), and a note from returning nationals who stayed at one of the Ascott properties in Singapore. PHOTOS: THE ASCOTT LIMITED

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - CapitaLand's wholly-owned lodging business unit, The Ascott, is providing accommodation for healthcare workers, returning nationals, guests affected by border closures or city lockdowns, migrant workers and others around the world who have been stranded due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ascott on Monday said it offered lodging its properties to Singapore's returning locals when travel restrictions were introduced.

With support from CapitaLand's philanthropic arm CapitaLand Hope Foundation, Ascott also provided free accommodation for the care staff of Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home. Some staff members from the nursing home, which has a cluster of Covid-19 cases, were evicted by their landlords out of fear that they may carry the virus.

Sandar Swe, senior staff nurse at Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home, said: "We were at a loss when our landlords expressed their concerns, leaving us to find alternative accommodation overnight. We appreciate our management and CapitaLand in assisting and providing us a safe haven within such short notice."

Meanwhile in China, Ascott has offered 630 complimentary nights for healthcare workers there, "in appreciation of their hard work". This initiative is available at 31 lodging properties across 19 cities from May 1 to Dec 31, 2020.

As for France, Ascott is helping healthcare workers ease the demands of commuting to and from work across the country. Since March 23, the company has provided over 1,500 complimentary room nights at its properties in key cities such as Paris and Marseille, Ascott said. The initiative expected to last till the end of May.

In addition, from April 6 to May 5, its serviced residences Citadines Austerlitz Paris will provide 50 rooms exclusively for healthcare workers from Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris, a public hospital within walking distance from the property. This is done in collaboration with real estate services provider BNP Paribas Immobilier Promotion IE and Sucres et Denrés.

Kevin Goh, Ascott chief executive officer (CEO) and CapitaLand group's CEO of lodging, said: "We are lending our lodging expertise to provide safe abodes to our guests as well as affected communities who need alternative accommodation."

"Across the world where we operate, we stand in solidarity with the local communities to ride through this. Our doors and hearts remain open," he added.

Ascott's portfolio spans more than 180 cities in over 30 countries. Its serviced residence and hotel brands include Ascott The Residence, The Crest Collection, Somerset, Quest, Citadines, lyf, Préférence, Vertu, Harris, Yello and POP!.


The company on Monday also launched its #StayHomeWithAscott social media campaign to rally the global community to curb the spread of the virus by staying home.

Ascott has pledged US$200,000 through the campaign, with the support of CapitaLand Hope Foundation.

This donation will go towards Save the Children's food security and assistance programmes to support about 12,000 underprivileged children affected by the pandemic.

The first US$100,000 will be donated directly to Save the Children - an independent humanitarian organisation for children, made up of 29 national member organisations across 120 countries.

As for the second tranche of US$100,000, Ascott is calling on the global community to share photos or videos of their culinary creations in their home kitchens through Instagram.

With every Instagram post shared with the hashtag #StayHomeWithAscott, CapitaLand Hope Foundation will donate US$10, which goes towards providing food for a child over 20 days.

The campaign aims to garner 10,000 Instagram posts over two weeks from April 20 to May 4.

"From delivering medical supplies to hospitals and offering lodging to caregivers, to providing financial assistance to vulnerable children and the elderly, CapitaLand will continue to play our role not just as a responsible real estate company, but a community leader," said Tan Seng Chai, chief corporate and people officer of CapitaLand Group and the executive director of CapitaLand Hope Foundation.

CapitaLand shares dipped $0.02 or 0.7 per cent to trade at $2.96 as at 9.29am on Monday.

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