May 11, 2020
Category: Legal Updates
On Monday, May 4, 2020, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (“AHLA”) announced healthy and safety guidelines regarding hygiene and cleanliness standards in line with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). The AHLA guidance comes under the direction of its advisory council consisting of 25 industry leaders, including Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, and Omni. The “Safe Stay” program aims to set the standard for hotel hygiene standards post-pandemic and boost consumer confidence per CDC and other public health authorities’ guidance.
Notably, the AHLA guidance instructs employers to conduct COVID-19 safety and facility sanitation protocols training, with more comprehensive training for employees with frequent guest contact (e.g., housekeeping, food and beverage, and hotel operations). The guidance also suggests that all cleaning products and protocols include EPA-approved disinfectants that meet the CDC requirements for effectiveness against viruses and bacteria and frequent cleaning of public and communal areas.
In addition, the guidelines require that a hotel, at a minimum, follow CDC guidelines regarding employee health concerns and instruct employees to self-isolate until they are symptom-free for at least 3 days. Well-being checks of employees are also encouraged, as allowed by law. Employers must report confirmed cases to local health authorities and place health and hygiene reminders in the front and back house. Signage should remind employees the proper way to wear, handle, and dispose of masks; use gloves; wash hands, and avoid touching their faces.
Lastly, the Safe Stay guidelines state that guests should be advised to practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet from other groups of people not traveling with them. Likewise, seating at pools or beaches should be placed at least six feet apart. Front desk, concierge, and parking services should also practice social distancing and use any available technology, such as contactless payment, to minimize contact with the guests.
The full program is available here. Hotels planning their re-opening should ensure their cleaning and safety standards meet the minimum provided by the CDC. If you have questions, contact your Stokes Wagner attorney.
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THIS DOCUMENT PROVIDES A GENERAL SUMMARY AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL/EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE COMPREHENSIVE, NOR DOES IT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. PLEASE CONSULT WITH COUNSEL BEFORE TAKING OR REFRAINING FROM TAKING ANY ACTION.