Hotel Workers' Union Praises Mask Requirements, Seeks Higher Cleaning Standards

A labor union representing hundreds of thousands of hotel workers in the U.S. and Canada is calling the hospitality industry’s recommendation that guests be required to wear face masks in public areas “necessary and overdue.”

However, UNITE HERE is also urging the industry to take another step forward amid the COVID-19 pandemic by ending its fight against strict cleaning requirements and staffing in hotels.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AHLA) recently released “Safe Stay Guest Checklist” recommended that guests wear face-coverings in public areas, among other safety measures, prompting companies such as Marriott, Hyatt and others to implement face mask requirements set to take effect as soon as July 27.

Despite the progress, the hotel lobby continues to push back against daily room cleaning requirements unless requested by the guest. UNITE HERE points out that eliminating daily room cleaning would save the hotel industry millions in labor costs while at the same time devastating laid off workers who wouldn’t be called back to the job.

On Monday, hotel groups went so far as to sue the city of San Francisco over legislation requiring the disinfection of high-touch surfaces and daily room cleaning.

“It’s about time that the hotel industry will require that guests wear masks,” UNITE HERE International President Donald Taylor said in a statement. “Masks should have been mandatory from the moment any hotel opened its doors, as wearing them ensures the safety of both guests and workers. However, masks alone are not enough. The hotel lobby must cease its efforts to block higher cleaning standards. The hotel industry should be advocating for more cleaning and disinfection, instead of using this crisis to decrease staff and increase their bottom line.”

According to the results of the newly released 2020 J.D. Power North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index, guest satisfaction with room cleanliness increased for a fifth straight year, climbing to an all-time high rating of 8.53 on a 10-point scale.

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