COVID-19 Can’t Quarantine the Human Spirit

December 15, 2020
Manilla Marriott Hotel_500x400
Volunteers from Manila Marriott Hotel in the Philippines prepare personal protective equipment kits during 2020.

As we wind down 2020, much of the world’s focus is on the unprecedented impact of COVID-19. This has certainly been a year for the history books.

A number of our associates and their families have battled the unthinkable – the disease itself – and some lost the fight to this virus that has claimed far too many lives. Most people have faced some sort of restrictions or control measures in their community, or juggled home schooling with job demands, or maybe they’ve been managing pre-existing health conditions.

Regardless of the circumstances, I think I can speak for everyone when I say 2021 can’t get here soon enough.

But before we turn the page on 2020, I want to acknowledge the beautiful human spirit that was put on display around the world during this global pandemic.

Who can forget the citizens in Italy, who overcame isolation and depression during a nationwide quarantine and instead made breathtaking music on their balconies? Harps, guitars, singing and even the beating together of wooden spoons – it was an unforgettable stand against the disease.

My heart was warmed when I saw quarantined New York City residents stand in solidarity night after night, clapping out of their open windows for the healthcare and other essential workers who were leaving their hospital shifts, exhausted and discouraged.

I couldn’t be prouder of the countless Marriott associates around the world, who stood in the gap for COVID-19 relief efforts. Their contributions are too many to list here but include hosting blood drives, collecting and donating cleaning supplies, food and linens for hospitals and others in need, donating computers, monitors and keyboards to low-income families forced to home school, volunteering at factories to make masks, and opening hotel doors to frontline workers who needed a place to rest after long days and nights providing care.

To be sure, the pandemic has not been the world’s only challenge this year. Marriott associates responded accordingly, donating thousands of pounds of clothing to communities in need, hosting mangrove planting and beach clean-up events to help fragile ecosystems and volunteering hundreds of hours to train students interested in hospitality careers, among many other efforts.

All of it was wonderful to see.

As we look forward to 2021, I remain optimistic about the future. I believe that once there is a vaccine available to be widely distributed, the world will begin to rebuild and recover.

The human spirit is strong and resilient, and I am filled with gratitude for that.

Today, I offer my best wishes to all for a joyous and healthy holiday season. Happy new year!

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

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