Information for Lodging Establishments regarding COVID-19

VDH Interim Guidance: Considerations for Lodging Establishments, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Revised June 23, 2020

The purpose of this document is to summarize key recommendations for operators of lodging establishments (hotels, motels, bed-and-breakfasts) regarding COVID-19 and guidance for Governor Northam’s Executive Orders 61, 63, and 65

Lodging establishments should consider the recommended precautions from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding COVID-19. It is imperative for the safety and well-being of staff, guests, and the community that operators of lodging establishments strive to prevent further spread of COVID-19 and abide by the details of Executive Order 61 (and any EO to follow). 

Face Coverings

Executive Order 63 requires  customer-facing employees and all patrons in any indoor place where people congregate to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth as advised by the CDC. This requirement applies to employees in hotels, and to patrons in indoor spaces in hotels, except inside guest rooms.

Food Service and Kitchenware:

  • All dining and food service in hotels should follow the Food and Beverage requirements for the Phase the locality is in.
  • Staff may consider removing all reusable glassware from guest rooms for proper sanitization between guests or using single-service (disposable) items.
  • VDH recommends sanitizing ice buckets between guests and providing extra ice bucket liners to guests upon request.

Swimming Pools/Spas, Fitness Centers, and Personal Care Services:

  • All gyms, spas, and aquatic facilities should follow sector-specific guidance requirements for the Phase the locality is in.

Common Areas:

  • Lobbies and hallways will remain open to the public. However, staff should monitor these areas closely to encourage guests to maintain 6 feet or more between persons. 
  • Staff can apply pieces of tape on the floor at intervals of 6 feet in areas where lines may form. Guests should be encouraged to stand in line where the tape is marked on the floor to help maintain adequate social distancing.
  • Staff are encouraged to monitor other common areas (including meeting rooms, banquet halls, business centers, and self-service laundry).  If staff are able to monitor usage closely to ensure compliance with any phase-specific gathering ban in effect, these common areas may best be made remain available upon request, however VDH recommends disinfecting equipment and furnishings between users. 
  • The external components of ice machines in common areas should be cleaned and disinfected throughout each day. If disinfection is not possible, management should turn off these common area ice machines and provide ice to guests upon request.

Cleaning and Disinfecting:

  • Between guests, staff should increase routine cleaning and disinfection procedures with emphasis on frequently touched surfaces (such as door handles, counters, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet levers, remote controls, telephones, miscellaneous knobs and handles, etc.). The CDC’s website contains detailed information on how to clean and disinfect surfaces here.  Staff can also find a list of EPA-registered disinfection products here.
  • During a single guest’s stay, hotels may reduce in-room cleaning services and offer clean linens outside the hotel room door. Trash pickup and linen exchange should occur at least every 7 days.
  • Staff should post signs/posters promoting proper handwashing (soap and water, 20 seconds). Staff should also maintain an adequate supply of soap and paper towels (if applicable) in all public restrooms. 
  • Printable resources for hand washing guidance, how to stop the spread of germs, and what to do if you are sick are located here on the CDC’s webpage. Staff should post these signs/posters in public restrooms, elevators, and other public areas.
  • Staff should continue to maintain physical separation of clean and soiled goods (such as linens and glassware) on housekeeping carts and in the laundry room/kitchen area. 

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Management should train all staff on the proper use of face coverings (including putting on and taking off). 
  • For information on PPE (not face coverings), visit OSHA’S website here

Guest Safety:

  • Guests should be encouraged to bring their own disinfecting cleaners and hand sanitizer for their personal use. 

Employee Safety:

  • Staff should stay home if showing symptoms of illness. Even mild signs of illness include fever, cough, shortness of breath could pass the infection to others. Additional symptoms may include chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.
  • Staff should also be encouraged to “work from home” if their responsibilities do not require being on site at the lodging establishment.
  • Management should reiterate to staff that this guidance is also applicable to operational areas in the “back of house” at the lodging establishments. 
  • Management should set up a means of communicating with guests over the internet or telephone. This will limit face-to-face interactions for transactions like checking in and complaints/requests from guests.