COVID-19 : Hotel Association releases new guidelines

Across America Hotels the Hospitality Industry are establishing new proactive protocols with revised polices for hygiene and sanitation across their properties in an effort to protect guests and staff. These new protocols are crucial to keep individuals safe as well as build the trust of prospective guests and employees who may be in fear. The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released its new “Safe Stay” guidelines, aiming to elevate the standards of the hotel business’ best cleaning practices and operational protocols.

 

“This initiative represents a new level of focus and transparency for an industry already built on cleanliness. Hotels have always had rigorous standards for cleaning and safety,” Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO, said of the news. “With Safe Stay, we are enhancing these standards to boost consumer confidence and doing so in accordance with guidance issued by public health authorities, including the CDC.”

The AHLA’s new recommendations align with the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and were issued in partnership with major chains, including Walt Disney, Hilton, Hyatt Hotels Corp., Marriott, Best Western and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts.

The AHLA’s update is made up of a four-part approach which puts emphasis on staff and guest health, as well as staff responsibility, physical / social distancing and cleaning protocols.

New signage should be posted for guests to provide notice when face mask usage is recommended (per the CDC) and in staff-only areas, to remind individuals of how to wear and dispose of personal protective equipment (PPE), along with reminders for good respiratory hygiene tips. In an effort to protect the health of guests and staff, it is strongly encouraged that all maintain frequent hand washing. There is also a push for additional sanitizer dispensers with easy access available in high foot-traffic areas like lobby, reception, staff entrances and other communal spaces.

Staff must follow CDC guidelines for frequent hand washing, during and beyond the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Staff should also receive COVID-10 safety and facility sanitation training if they have frequent contact with guests through roles in housekeeping, dining, security, valet service or maintenance, among others.
Per guidance of federal and local government regulations, staff should also wear PPE, if appropriate. Further training on the use and disposal of PPE should be provided as requested.

Increased cleaning protocols and procedures are also highly recommended. EPA-approved disinfectant products should be used to sanitize high-touch areas and items in lobbies, elevators, door handles, railings, restrooms, fitness centers, dining and seating areas “multiple times per day.”

In regards to food and beverage, direct contact with guests and buffet service should be reduced, with traditional room service replaced with no-contact delivery. If a buffet is an option, the serving staff should wear the proper PPE, and serving utensils should be sanitized more frequently. The distribution of prepackaged foods and “grab and go” service is encouraged.

In guests’ rooms, high-touch items like remote controls, telephones, door and furniture handles, light switches, nightstands, toilet seats and handles, water faucet handles, temperature controls, flooring and more should be frequently wiped down. The protocols also outline increased sanitization efforts for laundry, hotel guest elevators, and shared employee equipment.

Lastly, high-traffic areas for guests should be “clearly marked” promoting physical distancing of at least six feet, with lobby areas. The use of technology is also encouraged for front desk agents, concierge and parking services to reduce direct contact with guests. In guest rooms, housekeeping personnel should not enter unless specifically approved or requested by the guest, though rooms will be thoroughly cleaned after check-out.

Read the full detailed recommendations from AHLA’s on their website.

Download the AHLA Guidelines here: https://www.ahla.com/sites/default/files/safe_stay_guidelines_0.pdf