Hotels Have Stepped Up Their Cleaning Game
While customers have to take it upon themselves to ensure safety, hotels have made significant changes to their cleaning policies because of the pandemic. For instance, the Hard Rock Hotel implemented a SAFE + SOUND cleaning program to provide peace of mind for its customers. The program, developed by a team of hospitality and sanitation specialists, allows for independent inspections from the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). Each Hard Rock Hotel must pass a 262-point check to make the SAFE+SOUND status. Some of the SAFE+SOUND cleaning guidelines include:
- Increased cleaning and disinfecting of high touch areas such as elevators, check-in desks, dining areas, and meeting rooms.
- Sanitizing guest luggage prior to it entering the hotel’s common area.
- Placing a SAFE+SOUND seal on each room after it is cleaned and inspected.
Many other hotels are following suit. From safety seals on sanitized rooms to the increased availability of room service options, hotels are making drastic changes to help make customers feel reassured of their safety. For instance, it’s not only hotel rooms that can spread infection. High-traffic areas such as lobbies, elevators, swimming pools, and conference rooms are problem areas when it comes to COVID-19.
Hotels have changed how often they sanitize doorknobs, light switches, and handles. In addition to these high-use spots, their cleaning equipment has also been a concern. Taking the same duster or broom from room to room can spread germs. Instead, hotels have had to re-evaluate their old cleaning methods for the new requirements of the pandemic.
So, with all that in mind, are hotels safe? In the age of COVID-19, it’s hard to say if anything is safe. The only way to avoid the virus entirely is to remain isolated and indoors without contact for the pandemic’s duration. That scenario, for most people, is not feasible. So, in short, staying at a hotel is a personal choice where you have to weigh your own risk versus your individual needs. That said, there is always a degree of risk when you are out in high traffic areas during a pandemic.
What Can You Do to Decrease Your Infection Risk at a Hotel?
If you stay at a hotel, there are a few precautions you can take to minimize your risk of infection. As stated earlier, you can choose to bring your own bed linens and pillows. You may also bring your own disinfectant wipes or ask for some from the hotel. After you’ve inspected the room and decided that it’s clean, you can wipe down the:
- Light switches
- AC remote or buttons
- Door handles, including those on sliding glass balcony doors
- Drapery handles and cords
- Bathroom counters, faucet, sinks, toilet, and shower handles
- Lamp switches
- TV remote
- Desks and tables
- Refrigerator door and handles
- Coffee maker/tea kettle handle
From the start, you can take action to prevent yourself and others from infection. Try to decrease the amount of time you spend in crowds or common areas like the lobby. The lobby of a hotel is a high-traffic area where people from everywhere congregate, so wear a mask when outside your room. Wash your hands and use sanitizer frequently. Refrain from touching your face, because your eyes, nose, and mouth are infection sites for COVID-19.
Once you’re in your room, don’t place your suitcase on the bed or furniture. Instead, leave your luggage in the hall or bathtub until you can wipe your luggage down and disinfect the room. Also, remove the comforter from the bed. Many hotels view the comforter as decorative and only wash it sporadically. Set the comforter aside and don’t use it during your stay.
There is nothing the hotel or you can do that will provide 100% assurance that you will not be infected. If you feel your room is not clean, you may request another room. However, expecting every hotel room to be 100% spotless and perfect throughout may not be reasonable. At some point, a good faith judgment has to be made so that you can take precautions and enjoy your stay.