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Hotel Industry Association Supports Ending Face Mask Policies, But Hotels Hold Tight

Neatly made hotel bed with 4 pillows.

After the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced fully vaccinated individuals could return to normal activities without wearing a face covering, the industry association representing hospitality brands is suggesting hotels start easing COVID-19 protocols. For the time being, hotels are still requiring guests to wear coverings in public spaces.

With more of the American population getting the COVID-19 vaccine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control now says travelers who are fully inoculated can start returning to normal life activities without social distancing or wearing a face covering. With the news, the American Hotel and Lodging Association is recommending hotels relax certain protocols taken to reduce the spread of the novel Coronavirus, including dropping face covering requirements for fully vaccinated guests.

AHLA Relaxes “Safe Stay” Guidelines for Vaccinated Guests, Short of Requiring Proof

In a statement, AHLA president Chip Rogers expressed his optimism for the recovery of the hospitality industry as the threat of the pandemic comes to an end. To those ends, they are relaxing the face covering protocol of their “Safe Stay” guidelines, which would allow fully vaccinated guests to forego wearing a face covering. The revised policy does not require guests to provide proof of vaccination.

“At this time, we are not asking hotels to require proof of vaccination status,” Rogers said in the statement. “But we do ask that all guests and workers, vaccinated or not, respect and honor these revised guidelines.”

However, that same advice does not necessarily apply to employees of those hotels. Workers are still encouraged to wear a face mask and follow state and county requirements which may mandate face coverings while on the hotel property.

“As we await further direction on how CDC guidance applies to business, hotel employees – who are the backbone of our industry – should continue to wear face-coverings indoors for the time being and follow local business and workplace guidance,” Rogers statement reads. “For vaccinated employees working outside, or not in close contact with others, our guidelines will permit hotels to implement protocols easing face-covering requirements.”

The statement ends with Rogers encouraging both guests and hospitality employees to get vaccinated to expedite the re-opening of the travel sector.

Despite Recommendations, Hotels Keep Face Mask Policies For Now

Although the AHLA is encouraging an easing of restrictions, the hotel industry is following the lead of the public transportation infrastructure by requiring guests to wear face coverings in the common areas. As of the time of writing, Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, IHG, Marriott International and Wyndham Hotels are still requiring guests at U.S.-based properties to wear a face covering while in  public areas of the property.

bbriscoe34 May 24, 2021

"An Oregon Hotel called to cancel our reservation as the staff had been exposed to Coronavirus." Why wasn't the staff vaccinated by now? If your staffing is in such a tight state that a quarantine will shutdown your business, then you probably ought to mandate that enough employees get the vax to avoid a quarantine situation.

strickerj May 21, 2021

How is the pandemic "far from over" when we have a vaccine (and nearly half the adult population is fully vaccinated), and daily deaths are the lowest they've been since the start of the first wave last March? I struggle to understand those who seem intent on continuing this longer than necessary.

SamirD May 21, 2021

As travel is one of the primary vectors for the virus to travel and now that people are getting vaccinated they are acting like they are immune, evertything is basically being set to superspread the virus to everyone that's left. In this situation, I think it is absolutely prudent to keep whatever safety measures in place. Not to mention if a variant gets loose, we are going to get back to locking down hard really fast, except with a lot of resistance this time.

Iam Jetlagged May 20, 2021

An Oregon Hotel called to cancel our reservation as the staff had been exposed to Coronavirus. As you can imagine, this is devastating for everyone. Please, be sensible people and have some patience; this pandemic is far from over.

EGSExec May 20, 2021

?science? So I can get, or give, Covid while on a plane or hotel, but not while walking around a mall? Why must these hotels make themselves look stupid. I’m over the plastic cups in my upgraded room, no food service other than the normal Hampton crap, and the masks in general, as I’m sure many are. Either the science is real, and we can unmask, orbit isn't. There is NO in-between. Science doesn’t work that way.