Commercial Maintenance Services UK Ltd (CMS) is ready to support the re-opening of mothballed hotels as the government prepares to introduce tough new quarantine measures on travellers returning from high-risk countries.

The Gateshead-based firm already works with several nationwide hotel chains, including Travelodge, installing, maintaining, and repairing business critical systems including heating, plumbing, electricals and refrigeration.

Concern has already been expressed that there is insufficient capacity to allow people to self-isolate for 10 days in hotels, given the widespread closure of the hospitality sector during lockdown.

Nic Smith, managing director and co-founder of CMS, said that, given the numbers involved, sufficient hotels could be reopened within a sensible time frame to cope with the expected demand.

He said: “This measure would mainly involve UK citizens and residents, as most foreign nationals from countries classed as high-risk are already prevented from entering the country.

“Any new quarantine rules will affect those arriving from South Africa and South America, so I believe that once the government makes a decision, the industry will be in a position to respond accordingly – especially in reopening hotels situated near the major airports.

“However, the industry will need time to properly prepare and ensure all services including heating, plumbing and electricals are not only safe and operating correctly but are compliant. Some buildings will have been closed almost a month during the current lockdown or perhaps longer following the general downturn in demand.”

CMS has itself countered the effects caused by the large-scale closure of the hospitality and leisure sector – which previously accounted for 25 percent of its work – by switching its engineers to meet the growing demand from care homes, hospitals, and retail sites.

It is currently recruiting for additional engineers to join its 120-strong nationwide team, which also provides a 24/7 emergency repairs service to keep vital services operational.

Nic added: “We are recruiting engineers across the UK in anticipation of the eventual reopening of the hospitality sector and I’m confident that we as a business have sufficient capacity to support the reopening of hotel facilities in response to any new quarantine rules.

“However, if the government envisages a more widespread use of hotel quarantining, that will require a more phased approach.”