California offering hotel vouchers, free flights to front line workers during COVID-19 pandemic

Gov. Gavin Newsom's plea for more health care workers to join California's fight against COVID-19 touched off an explosion of support. 

Newsom has stood by the mid-May projection for a peak in COVID-19 cases, but to handle the surge of patients, the state would need to expand its health care workforce. 

Last week, the governor launched California Health Corps to recruit more medical professionals and scores of doctors, nurses, and medical students applied. To date, Newsom said approximately 86,000 people have signed up. 

To protect those health care workers and caregivers who are on the front lines of the pandemic and committed to keeping communities safe, the state is providing them with free or low-cost hotel vouchers. 

Health Corps workers also get free flights courtesy of United Airlines.

The governor said several medical workers have been forced to sleep in their cars or at hotels in order to avoid exposing their families to the virus. 

“They are allowed to stay closer to their patients and provide them the opportunity not to be out of pocket or exposing their families or God forbid worried about sleeping in their car, so they can stay close to the needs in their community,” Newsom said Thursday afternoon during his daily briefing. 

Starting Friday, front line workers can visit the CalTravelState website for information on participating hotels. Currently, 150 hotels across the state have joined the program.