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Hotels helping first responders, healthcare workers during COVID-19 pandemic

Virginia Beach Oceanfront hotel
Posted at 8:58 PM, May 04, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Hotels in Hampton Roads are opening their doors to help first responders and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Norwood Burdett is a volunteer EMT with the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad.

“I really like helping people,” Burdett said. “It's a very unique opportunity that we have. We're volunteers. We're not doing this for a paycheck.”

He told News 3 the pandemic has been stressful.

“You're always wondering, ‘Am I going to get sick?'" he said.

His family is top of mind.

“My parents are a little older, so they're more at risk if they were to be exposed,” he said. “I was really worried about bringing anything home to them.”

For about a month, his home has been Diamond Resorts properties around Virginia Beach.

From March through May 1, their properties offered free rooms to first responders and front line healthcare workers during the pandemic.

“There's no one in the world, other than these healthcare workers and first responders, that deserve an opportunity to have a safe place to stay,” Diamond Resorts CEO Mike Flaskey said.

Flaskey told News 3 Diamond Resorts will continue supporting first responders and healthcare workers by offering discounted rates at properties throughout the pandemic.

Diamond Resorts officials said they’re working directly with individuals to set up accommodations that meet their needs.

Related: Local bed and breakfast inns try to keep beds filled while pandemic forces many hotels to close

Volunteer EMT Thomas Gross also stayed at one of their properties.

“It gives people a break,” Gross said. “Some people, they work 12 on, 12 off, five and six days a week. Those people were probably burnt out, so something like this is actually pretty good to do.”

For Burdett, he's thankful for support while continuing to fight on the front lines.

“We're immensely thankful,” Burdett said. “It shows that they really actually care about their community.”

Diamond Resorts officials said first responders and medical personnel are encouraged to reach out to groups@diamondresorts.com or call 800-438-2929.

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