The American Hotel & Lodging Association has eased its Safe Stay guidelines regarding mask wearing for U.S. hotel employees In response to updated Covid-19 guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the association announced. AHLA relaxed its masking requirements for guests in May.
“The hotel industry supports vaccinated employees being given the choice whether to continue wearing face coverings, in accordance with state and local laws,” said AHLA president and CEO Chip Rogers in a statement. “This change in policy for vaccinated employees is a result of our industry’s ongoing commitment to encourage vaccinations and a recognition of all employees who have received a vaccine.”
Rogers added that unvaccinated employees and guests should continue to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing in common areas of hotels.
The update prompted many hotel companies to adjust their mask protocols for staff.
Accor currently mandates face coverings for all employees in non-U.S. hotels and all unvaccinated employees in U.S. hotels in all indoor public spaces and outdoors where physical distancing or barriers are not possible, according to a spokesperson in an email. Vaccinated U.S. employees have the option to wear face coverings, in accordance with local mask guidelines.
BWH Hotel Group, which includes Best Western, amended its We Care Clean program on June 18 and now gives fully vaccinated employees the choice of whether to continue to wear face coverings while complying with state and local laws, said a company spokesperson in an email. “Unvaccinated employees remain required to wear face coverings in the presence of guests unless they are unable to wear [them] due to a disability or sincerely held religious belief,” BWH added.
Hilton Worldwide no longer will require fully vaccinated employees in the United States to wear face coverings, a Hilton spokesperson said in an email. The company is in the process of communicating that update to owners and staff, but the change is effective immediately.
Also effective immediately, fully vaccinated employees at Hyatt Hotels Corp. properties in the United States who “voluntarily attest they have been fully vaccinated will not be required to wear masks while at work,” said a Hyatt spokesperson in an email. “Hotel colleagues who are not vaccinated are still required to wear face masks indoors and outdoors.”
Fully vaccinated employees of IHG Hotels & Resorts in the United States no longer are required to wear a face covering, but they have the option to continue to wear one should they wish, said an IHG spokesperson in an email.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has updated its policy to be consistent with AHLA’s Safe Stay protocols and “effective June 28, fully vaccinated team members will have the choice to continue wearing face coverings, subject to any more restrictive state or local laws,” said a Wyndham spokesperson in an email.
Radisson Hotel Group Americas on May 19 changed its policy following the CDC updated guidance, ahead of the AHLA change, and no longer requires that fully vaccinated hotel staff members wear face coverings, said a Radisson spokesperson in an email. “We will recommend team members continue to wear a mask when indoors and in direct contact with guests as a protective measure,” Radisson said.
Choice Hotels and Loews Hotels & Co. were in the process of updating their employee mask protocols, according to company spokespeople, but the updates were not provided in time for publication.
Marriott International did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
AHLA and hotel company guidance noted that state and local laws should prevail should those requirements exceed the updated guidance. Many states and territories eased mask requirements after the CDC advised in May that fully vaccinated people could go without them in most indoor and outdoor settings. Hawaii and Puerto Rico still require masks indoors for everyone, according to The New York Times. The states of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington, as well as Washington, D.C., require masks indoors for unvaccinated individuals. Other states have no restrictions regarding masks.
Hotels, States Adjust to Changing U.S. Mask Regulations
Originally Appeared On: https://www.businesstravelnews.com/Lodging/AHLA-Relaxes-Mask-Guidance-for-US-Hotel-Employees-Chains-Following-Suit