- Staying at a hotel during the coronavirus pandemic can be safe, but only if you do your homework before making a reservation.
- It’s important to ask the hotel if they have a capacity limit on guests. It’s also important to ask how often rooms are turned over to new guests.
- Coronavirus infections are on the rise across the country and experts fear we’ll see a huge increase in deaths and hospitalizations within the next two to three weeks.
Even though the CDC and health experts advised people against traveling this holiday season, the reality is that many people chose to ignore said warnings. And to be fair, some people didn’t even have much of a choice with respect to traveling home for the Thanksgiving holiday. As a prime example, many universities are exclusively resorting to remote learning for the rest of the semester. The end result is that millions of college students had no choice but to pack up their belongings and head home this week.
If travel is an inevitability — and for some, it truly is — adhering to coronavirus safety guidelines is paramount. For some people, this might mean social distancing and eating outside. For others, especially for those visiting people who are in a risky demographic, this might entail quarantining in a hotel for a few days before heading home. This, of course, begs the question: how safe are hotels when it comes to effective coronavirus prevention?
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Unfortunately, there isn’t an all-encompassing answer to this question. In short, the answer varies from hotel to hotel. Whereas many hotel chains have adopted very stringent and enhanced cleaning procedures, other hotels are taking fewer precautions.
The reality is that hotels by their very nature can carry a lot of risk given that they can often see hundreds of guests come and go within a short timeframe. Of course, with people traveling less, hotels today are clearly seeing less foot traffic than ever before. That being the case, you’ll want to review a particular hotel’s mission statement when it comes to coronavirus safety procedures before making your reservation.
As a prime example, Marriott was quick to implement a number of cleaning procedures to lessen the risk of coronavirus transmission:
In public spaces, the company has added to its already rigorous cleaning protocols, requiring that surfaces are treated with hospital-grade disinfectants and that this cleaning is done with increased frequency. In guest rooms, Marriott has added to its detailed cleaning practices, requiring all surfaces to be thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants. The company will also be placing disinfecting wipes in each room for guests’ personal use.
These new enhanced cleaning technologies including electrostatic sprayers to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel. We are using air purifying systems that are effective against viruses in the air and on surfaces…
To help alleviate the risk of COVID-19 transmission through person-to-person contact, Marriott will be using signage in its lobbies to remind guests to maintain social distancing protocols and will remove or re-arrange furniture to allow more space for distancing. The company is planning to add partitions at front desks to provide an extra level of precaution for its guests and associates and is working with supply chain partners to make masks and gloves available to associates. You’ll see more hand sanitizing stations around Marriott’s hotels – near the entrances and front desks, elevator banks and fitness and meeting spaces.
Hotels can certainly be safe during the coronavirus pandemic, but you’ll want to make sure you pick your hotel wisely. Before making a reservation, it’s probably a good idea to call ahead and see if a hotel has a capacity limit and inquire about the extent of their cleaning procedures.
Dr. Ravina Kullar, a public health expert who recently spoke to The Wall Street Journal, said it’s also smart to ask how often hotel employees take PCR tests, how often specific rooms are turned over, and whether or not rooms are equipped with “hospital-quality HEPA” filters.
Kullar also encourages hotel-goers to bring their own supply of disinfectant wipes, take the stairs instead of using the elevator, and to decline all housekeeping services.