Read This Before You Stay in a Hotel
Hotel stays may not be the best move, but if you must, here’s how to do it safely
Hotel bookings are still at a record low, but travelers are beginning to consider reserving rooms this summer as states reopen. Whether you’re planning a hotel stay for pleasure or out of necessity, you should first read through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of considerations for travelers — there are a number of new risks and health safety precautions you’ll need to consider before and throughout your stay in a hotel. Beyond those basics, here’s a detailed guide to how public health experts suggest staying safe during your next hotel stay.
How hotels are responding to Covid-19
America’s major hotel chains know that cleanliness is a top concern for travelers right now. In response, most have rolled out increased cleaning protocols that they’ve made available online.
Hilton recently announced its “Hilton CleanStay,” which includes new practices like extra disinfecting of high touch areas in guest rooms, increased cleaning of public areas, and a room seal to visually indicate that the room hasn’t been accessed since it was disinfected. Similar measures are being taken at chains like Hyatt, Marriott, and throughout IHG’s 5,000 hotel properties around the United States.
If you can’t find recently published cleaning standards for the hotel, call before you book to ask what’s being done. “Places that have nothing to hide will be happy to share the information with you,” says Natascha Tuznik, DO, an assistant clinical professor of infectious diseases at UC Davis Health. “If they don’t know or they won’t share, then maybe that’s a warning sign.”
Susan Hassig, DrPH, an associate professor of epidemiology at Tulane University’s School of Public Health, also recommends calling ahead to find out what the hotel’s current procedures are regarding room turnover rate. Are they allowing the rooms to air out for at least 24 hours before permitting new guests to enter? Or are you, prior guests, and housekeeping staff all entering the room within a few hours of each other? If so, there could be an increased risk of viral particles in the air.