The following is a statement from Chip Rogers, president, and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, on updated face-covering and physical distancing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Like all Americans, we are excited for a return to normal life, which includes travel. The recent CDC guidelines for vaccinated Americans lifting certain face-covering restrictions was welcome news and should help speed up a much-needed recovery. As an industry, our primary concerns have always been guest and worker safety. Hotels rose to the challenge of the public health crisis through Safe Stay, an industry-wide health and safety initiative established in cooperation with AHLA. Throughout the pandemic our Safe Stay guidelines continued to evolve to align with the current environment and CDC guidelines, and the same will be true as we work to reopen.
“In light of the recent CDC announcement that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in most settings, our Safe Stay guidelines will relax mask requirements for guests who are fully vaccinated. At this time, we are not asking hotels to require proof of vaccination status, but we do ask that all guests and workers, vaccinated or not, respect and honor these revised guidelines. Unvaccinated guests should wear face-coverings and practice physical distancing at all times in public settings.
“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. For vaccinated employees working outside, or not in close contact with others, our guidelines will permit hotels to implement protocols easing face-covering requirements. Of course, all hotels are required to follow state and local requirements which may go beyond what is recommended by the CDC.
“The COVID-19 vaccine provides our nation and our industry hope for recovery after a devastating year. But, we expect further guidance from the CDC and public health experts to support our efforts to ensure the safety of our workforce, guests and the general public.
“In this spirit, as an industry we support innovative solutions to encourage our workforce and guests to get vaccinated, and call on all Americans to be vaccinated before removing face-coverings.
“Moving into the next stages of recovery and as vaccination rates continue to increase, we will carefully consider all new guidance in accordance with all applicable federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations. In the meantime, Safe Stay’s rigorous health and safety protocols will continue to help support peace of mind for travelers.”