Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.
If you’re vaccinated, you can now go without a mask at many hotels in the United States, including Kimpton, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, W Hotels, Sheraton, Westin, Springhill Suites, Days Inn, Hyatt, Crowne Plaza and others.
On May 17, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) — an organization that collectively represents 80% of all franchise hotels — handed down the decision to its members, stating that its new stance is in line with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“In light of the recent CDC announcement that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in most settings, our Safe Stay guidelines will relax mask requirements for guests who are fully vaccinated,” said a statement from AHLA president and CEO Chip Rogers.
So far, parent companies Marriott, Hyatt and IHG have said they will waive mask mandates at their brands’ properties. Meanwhile, Hilton, Wyndham, Accor and Lowes have not yet changed policies that require masks in public areas, such as hotel lobbies.
For now, employees will still be required to wear masks, unless they primarily work outside or away from others. But, hotels won’t be checking to make sure guests are vaccinated, meaning compliance will be on the honor system.
“At this time, we are not asking hotels to require proof of vaccination status, but we do ask that all guests and workers, vaccinated or not, respect and honor these revised guidelines,” Rogers said. “Unvaccinated guests should wear face coverings and practice physical distancing at all times in public settings.”
In 2020, hotels across the U.S. either continued operating or closed and were able to reopen with new safety guidelines — including limited capacity, enhanced cleaning protocols and mask-wearing. One of those initiatives included a set of Safe Stay policies, which were developed and collectively adopted by members of the AHLA.
Amenities have also been limited in some locations, which means your hotel stay after the pandemic could look a bit different from what you’re used to.
So, what can you expect from your next overnight? Rogers says the AHLA’s stance will change in accordance with government recommendations.
“… as an industry we support innovative solutions to encourage our workforce and guests to get vaccinated and call on all Americans to be vaccinated before removing face-coverings,” the statement said.
“Moving into the next stages of recovery, and as vaccination rates continue to increase, we will carefully consider all new guidance in accordance with all applicable federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations. In the meantime, Safe Stay’s rigorous health and safety protocols will continue to help support peace of mind for travelers.”
Just last week, several theme parks also announced they would be scaling back mask requirements due to the CDC’s latest recommendations. However, face coverings are still compulsory for travel by plane, train and bus.
Featured photo by Space_Cat/Shutterstock.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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