Going home between shifts isn’t an option for many pandemic responders. Thankfully, this new Google feature recently launched to ease the stress of finding alternative lodging.

By Maggie Seaver
May 28, 2020
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Throughout the long months of fighting the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare and essential workers of every stripe have continued to put the health and safety of us all before themselves day in and day out. And since the threat of the virus isn’t off the clock when their shifts are over, these frontline workers also need to worry about distancing themselves from their homes and families, just in case—whether for extra peace of mind, the need to stay close to the communities they serve, or to keep vulnerable loved ones safe.

With so many frontline workers choosing to seek lodging in hotels—while working with COVID-19 patients, for example—many hotels across the country are offering special policies for discounted and even free rooms for COVID first responders.

To make the search for nearby hotel rooms even easier, Google just created a new “COVID-19 responder rooms” filter, available in Google Maps and Search. With any Google query for hotel rooms—like “hotels in New York”—the filter will help locate hotels providing special accommodations. Right now, this feature is only available in the US and UK, but hopefully launching globally in the near future.

A Google blog post announcing the launch relays the story of one inspiring frontline worker. Meghan, an Intensive Care Unit nurse in Indiana, has opted to play it safe and keep distant from loved ones while treating coronavirus patients. “Reducing the risk of bringing something home to my family has made a huge difference in my peace of mind,” Meghan explained. She was able to find a Hilton hotel with designated accommodations for frontline workers like her, making this intensely stressful time just a bit more manageable. 

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If you’re a healthcare/medical worker, frontline responder, or essential worker like Meghan, you can now easily narrow your search for hotels offering discounted room rates and other special accommodations. Simply type any hotel search query into Google Search or Maps. For example, “hotels near me,” “hotels in Chicago,” or “rooms for essential workers.” From there, refine your search results by selecting the brand-new “COVID-19 responder rooms” filter. Searching via Google Travel? You’ll see a tip at the top of the results if hotels in the area are participating. You can then contact the hotel directly for details on their policy.

To keep up to date with who’s offering what, Google has partnered with nearly a dozen hotel groups so far, including Marriott, Hilton, and the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Here’s a full list of participating hotels partnering with Google to host frontline heroes right now.