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Hotel industry association issues new coronavirus safety guidelines

Guests may see changes in room service, housekeeping, and check-in procedures.

On the first night of Biogen’s annual leadership meeting, 175 executives gathered for a buffet dinner and cocktails at the Marriott Long Wharf in Boston, touching off a Covid-19 cluster in Massachusetts and several other states. Cody O'Loughlin / The New York Times

Hotels across the U.S. are following new health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) announced industry-wide coronavirus safety guidelines on Monday called “Safe Stay.” The guidelines are designed “to prepare America’s hotels to safely welcome back guests and employees as the economy reopens,” the association said in a statement.

The guidelines include social distancing measures such as remaining six feet apart, contactless check-in and self-parking options when possible, and keeping housekeepers out of occupied guest rooms unless specifically requested. There will also be hand sanitizer stations and health and hygiene signage in high-traffic areas.

When it comes to dining, guests will find traditional room service procedures replaced with no-contact delivery methods. Buffet service, while limited, will be served by a worker in personal protective equipment and sneeze and cough screens will be present at all food displays.

Employees will keep a physical distance from each other in dining rooms and other shared spaces and front desk workers will use every other station.

Cleaning protocols will be stepped up, especially in high-touch communal areas like elevators, vending machines, and gym equipment,  and high-touch guest room areas such as remote controls, light switches, and water faucet handles.

“Safe Stay was developed specifically to ensure enhanced safety for hotels guests and employees,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA, in a press release. “While hotels have always employed demanding cleaning standards, this new initiative will ensure greater transparency and confidence throughout the entire hotel experience. The industry’s enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols will continue to evolve to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19.”

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The standards were developed by an advisory council comprised of industry leaders from companies such as Accor, Hilton, Marriott International, and Omni Hotels & Resorts. They are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.

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