The world has been practicing “social distancing,” hand washing, and mask-wearing protocols for months now and the results appear to positive; the infection rate for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is beginning to decline or leveling off in many states within the United States. This has led many states to start loosening the restrictions on businesses and residents.

The travel industry—airlines, cruise lines, hotels, convention centers, and all their suppliers and adjunct businesses—has been hard hit by the lockdowns. The hotel industry was one of the first affected by the pandemic, with thousands of hotels across the country, more than half being small businesses, working to support their employees, healthcare workers, and first responders.

As safety for both guests and employees must be the major concern in opening any business to the public, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has been offering guidelines, often tailored to each specific industry, and working with trade associations to make sure those guidelines are properly distributed.

The AHLA (American Hotel & Lodging Assn.), for example, has developed Safe Stay, an industrywide, enhanced standard of health and safety protocols designed to prepare America’s hotels to safely welcome back guests and employees as the economy reopens. The standards of Safe Stay were developed under the guidance of an Advisory Council, comprised of industry leaders representing all segments of the hotel industry, and in conjunction with public health experts to advance best practices for protecting against the coronavirus.

While hotels have always used demanding cleaning standards, this new initiative will ensure greater transparency and confidence throughout the entire hotel industry. The 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.

The “Safe Stay” guidelines are intended to be iterative and will be revised as needed based on the recommendations of public health authorities, in compliance with any federal, state, and local laws. They include guidance on employee and guest health, employee responsibilities, cleaning products and protocols, and physical distancing.

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