Hotels Plan For Phase 4 Reopening with New Safety Guidelines

The Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association proposed a plan to allow more people to gather in hotel spaces

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Hotels started releasing new health and safety guidelines Monday to protects guests from the spread of the coronavirus as many prepare to open in phase four of the state's reopening plan.

To ensure public safety, hotels announced plans to increase sanitation throughout guests' experiences, while limiting personal contact.

Paul Hitselberger, chief operating officer of First Hospitality, said guests can expect cleaner public spaces and rooms throughout their 10 hotels in the Chicago area.

"The industry has gone to really making sure from a sanitation standpoint all surfaces are cleaned, walls are cleaned, linens are cleaned, changed, regularly," Hitselberger said.

Other hotel chains announced they will urge guests to check-in digitally upon arrival and set limits to number of people able to ride elevators. Many said they will have no directories, magazines or pens available to touch.

LondonHouse Chicago General Manager Juan Leyva said the hotel plans to use plexiglass in high contact areas, along with utilizing social distancing markers throughout their space.

"If we're able to get some meetings back, then yes, we definitely would bring people back to work," Leyva said.

The Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association unveiled a plan to allow guests to gather at 50% capacity in hotel meeting rooms, ballrooms and public spaces in the next phase of reopening.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan permits 50 people to gather in phase four, but the IHLA president and CEO Michael Jacobson said that limit can be safely increased.

"The hotel and tourism industry are a critical component of the economy for Chicago and the state of Illinois, and our plan provides an important bridge to the future," Jacobson said.

As various new safety standards have been implemented in other industries, Jacobson said those safety measures can be implemented to an even greater level at private events at IHLA venues.

IHLA's proposed reopening plan's guidelines include:

  • Practicing social distancing throughout an event, including implementing contactless check-in and placing appropriate floor markings in any area where waiting may occur
  • Placing hand sanitizer throughout meeting spaces
  • Providing employees with proper PPE and ensuring event attendees wear face covering
  • Taking temperature checks for employees and guests before entering meeting rooms, ballrooms and public gathering spaces
  • Limiting capacity at each table to provide additional spacing between guests and spacing tables no less than six feet apart
  • Limiting food service including the suspension of self-service buffets and communal beverages like water pitchers
  • Routinely sanitizing frequently touched surfaces such as elevator button panels
  • Ensuring practices are in place for contact tracing employees, third-party vendors and attendees
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