New Health Standards for Hotels
To help thwart the spread of COVID-19, hospitality companies are beefing up hygiene plans. Details on the new initiatives from Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott and more can be found here
Updated June 11, 2020, 3 p.m. EDT. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a crippling effect on the hospitality industry, with occupancy rates dipping into the single digits and hotels across the country forced to temporarily shutter their doors. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, U.S. hotels have lost more than 29 billion in room revenue and 70 percent of direct hotel employees were laid off or furloughed.
Now, more than two months after restrictions and lack of business forced properties to close, hotels are reopening -- albeit with new safety standards and protocols in place. Many have also reduced guest capacities, and brands such as Omni Hotels and Resorts are updating their meeting-room capacities to account for social distancing. Omni's new capacity charts account for three levels of social distancing: standard, moderate and strict.
"We've done that with every capacity at all of our hotels," said Beverly Garlington, global director of sales for the southwest region of Omni Hotels & Resorts. But she added that hoteliers will likewise need to know from the planners what their expectations and needs are. "Obviously it will be different from city to city, state to state, based on what they need and what the groups need themselves."
Below is a snapshot of where hotels are reopening in the U.S; the list will be continually updated. Information on state-dictated restrictions on group gatherings can be found here.
Many hotels throughout the state of California will open for business on June 12; according to the California Hotel and Lodging Association, more than 6,000 member properties are among those ready to do business. Most of the state's 58 counties have filed the necessary reports required to show they are meeting the state's benchmarks, but as of June 8, there were still eight counties that had not done so. In Los Angeles and San Diego, hotels as well as gyms, museums and some arena sports were given the go-ahead to open June 12. San Francisco and the Bay Area are on a separate timeline and have not yet announced when hotels will accept guests.
Governor John Carney ended the state’s stay-at-home order on May 31. Hotels reopened June 1, with out-of-state guests no longer required to self quarantine for 14 days.
Hotels have begun reopening across Florida. Palm Beach was one the first to reopen its hotels to the general public. On May 15, the county lifted an emergency order that limited lodging to essential workers only. Broward County followed, reopening its hotels on May 26. Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys are also welcoming guests back. Both areas reopened their lodging properties on June 1, although the Florida Keys is initially limiting hotels to 50 percent capacity.
In Orlando, Universal, SeaWorld and Walt Disney World have plans to open in June and July, subject to the approval of Governor Ron DeSantis. Universal Orlando plans to open June 5, followed by SeaWorld on June 11. Disney has proposed a tiered reopening, beginning with small, soft openings over the next month, followed by Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11, and then Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15.
Maine reopened its hotels on June 1. Bookings are available to Maine residents and out-of-state travelers who comply with a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced on May 29 that Massachusetts hotels can reopen as part of phase two of the state’s reopening plan. Although a specific reopening date for hotels has yet to be set, detailed guidelines have been released to help properties prepare.
Under the guidelines, all indoor and outdoor event spaces, including ballrooms and function halls, must remain closed for the time being. Also included are recommendations for social distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection. Out-of-state travelers are encouraged to self-quarantine for 14 days and hotels should consider leaving guest rooms vacant for 24 hours between stays, according to the document.
Starting June 5, New Hampshire hotels can welcome guests back. Bookings will be available to in-state residents, as well as any out-of-state guests who have quarantined for 14 days. Larger properties with inside room entrances must limit their total capacity to 50 percent. Smaller hotels with less than 20 indoor-access rooms or outdoor room entrances can operate at full capacity.
Non-casino hotels in Atlantic City reopened on May 29. Casino properties remain closed but may reopen around July 4, according to Gov. Phil Murphy.
Atlantic City is home to nine casinos. Caesars Entertainment, which operates Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah's Resort and Bally's Atlantic City, announced in mid-May that it plans to reopen its Jersey Shore properties in phases. The city's other casino hotels have not yet released details on their reopening plans.
Hotels in New York were never forced to close, although many decided to temporarily shutter their doors due to low occupancy.
Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that casino hotels could open on June 4, as part of phase two of his reopening roadmap. Major gaming/hospitality companies, including Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts, have started to reopen their properties in Las Vegas and across the state. Rather than open all properties and amenities at once, most are doing so gradually, gauging success, safety and consumer demand.
Caesars resumed gaming and hospitality operations at Caesars Palace and Flamingo Las Vegas on June 4, with several retail and dining outlets along The Linq Promenade, and the High Roller Observation Wheel also began spinning again on that date. Harrah's Las Vegas began welcoming guests the following day. The Linq Hotel + Experience will open its gaming floor, half a dozen restaurants and its pool on Friday, June 12, although the hotel and parking garage will remain closed for the time being. Caesars expects that more properties and amenities will be up and running soon, with timing based on customer demand.
MGM Resorts opened Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand Las Vegas and The Signature on June 4, all with limited amenities. Excalibur followed on June 11. As demand grows, MGM will reopen more venues within those resorts, as well as its other properties on the Las Vegas Strip. Next up: Luxor and The Shoppes at Mandalay Bay Place come back online June 25, followed by Aria, Mandalay Bay and Four Seasons Las Vegas on July 1. Pool areas and fine-dining restaurants are opening as well, although some amenities remain limited.
Both the Wynn and Encore Las Vegas hotel towers opened June 4, in addition to every amenity and outlet on the premises. "We are ready to provide our guests with a full Las Vegas experience with a collection of luxury amenities and unmatched service," said Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox.
Vermont hotels and short-term rentals reopened on May 22 with a few caveats: Bookings will be limited to Vermont residents and travelers who have met the state’s 14-day quarantine period. In addition, most properties will need to keep early bookings at 25 percent capacity.
Phase one of reopening the nation’s capital will begin on May 29. Many hotels have remained open throughout the pandemic. A list of open hotels can be found here.