Updated: Aug 4, 2020
Hotels are in the process of reopening and major hotel chains have announced new wide-reaching, cleaning policies made from the advice of health experts.
For example, Marriott is focusing on reducing person to person contact by using signage in lobbies to remind guest to social distancing and removing furniture to allow more room to do so. Guest can check-in, access their room, and order room service without contact.
A staycation at a hotel can be a nice change of scenery, but is it safe to stay in a hotel right now?
Hotels are a gathering space, filled with both staff and other guests. There’re countless objects such as remote controls and bedding, that are used and shared by visitors. So, what can you do to minimize your own risk while traveling?
How to Lower COVID-19 risk in a hotel?
Before you book, investigate the hotel’s plan to protect guests and staff.
The greatest risk of COVID transmission comes from close contact with others. While you can’t control the actions of others, find out what a hotel is doing to encourage safety among guests and staff. Are masks required?
Is hand sanitizer readily available?
Do they have contactless check-in available?
What social distancing measures are in place?
Look on their website to see if they’re being transparent about the steps they’re taking. If you don’t find the answers online, pick up the phone, and ask directly. But If the booking or management staff can’t answer these questions for you, consider finding another place to stay.
Request a room that has been empty for 3 days
According to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, the coronavirus can live on some surfaces, including plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours.
This means there’s a greater risk, if the previous guest stayed in the room before you. For maximum safety, ask to stay in a room that’s been vacant for three days, and has been cleaned after the previous guest. It’s Better safe than sorry.
Protect yourself and sanitize your room upon arrival
While hotels should be doing their part to properly clean and sanitize between guests, it never hurts to do a quick clean yourself, especially around touchpoints such as doorknobs, light switches, remotes, flat surfaces, and the bathroom. Be sure to bring disinfectants and sanitizers with you.
If you want to go the extra step, be sure to bring your own linens. Bedding, such as the bedspread might not be washed regularly. The likelihood of COVID spread from bedding is minimal, but since COVID can stay on a porous surface for up to 72 hrs., it's just better to be safe.
Avoid common spaces
The pool, spa, gym, or business center may be open, but it doesn’t mean you should use them. It’s difficult to get people to protect themselves and others while working out or in the pool.
For facilities like the spa, it can be considered on a case-by-case basis. If everyone involved during the treatment is wearing masks, its generally low risk. Before you book a treatment, ask questions about the spa’s safety and cleaning procedures, and if you have doubts, skip the facial.
Consider The Timing
We are all feeling it right now and in desperate need of a getaway. When this feeling becomes overwhelming considering booking your hotel stay during off peak times if possible. Maybe a weekday stay avoiding weekends when the hotel is likely to be more crowded.
And if at all possible, avoid holidays and known special events.
While there is no way to completely eliminate your risk, there are measures you can take to significantly reduce your risk of transmission. Don’t take this step until you feel completely ready. And once your're ready, be sure to follow the advice of experts, take control of your own safety, and enjoy your next hotel stay.