Hotel Health Policies During COVID-19: What You Need to Know

Updated
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Written by Sam Kemmis
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Edited by Mary M. Flory
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Updates:

May 20, 2021

  • IHG no longer requires masks for vaccinated travelers at its U.S. hotels, unless the hotel is located in a place where state and local mask requirements are stricter than what is recommended by the CDC. Hotel guests who are not vaccinated (or not yet fully vaccinated) are encouraged to wear face coverings while indoors and outdoors where social distancing is not possible.

May 19, 2021

  • Hyatt no longer requires masks for vaccinated travelers at its U.S. hotels, unless the hotel is located in a place where state and local mask requirements are stricter than what is recommended by the CDC.

Jan. 26, 2021

Nov. 2, 2020

  • Hilton is no longer blocking rooms between guests.

Aug. 6, 2020

  • Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Radisson and Wyndham add face covering (mask) requirements. Choice recommends face covering (mask) policies for franchised hotels.

July 16, 2020

  • Hilton and Hyatt adds specific social distancing, check-in, and food policies.


Hotels have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and have introduced many health and safety protocols to soothe concerns from wary travelers. These range from enhanced room cleaning to temperature checks for staff.

We have collected and compared these COVID policies among eight major hotel brands. At this point in the pandemic, these policies share many common features, such as requiring face coverings for guests and staff in common areas, yet many details differ between brands.

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Key takeaways

  • As of May 2021, both IHG and Hyatt have dropped mask requirements at most U.S. hotels for vaccinated travelers.

  • Throughout the pandemic, Hyatt has provided the clearest and most comprehensive health protocols.

  • Every hotel brand has introduced enhanced cleaning and sanitation policies for rooms and common areas, as well as social distancing and face-covering protocols in common areas.

See the table for a comparison of the different hotel brands and a more detailed description of each policy further down.

Social distancing

Low contact check-in/out

Masks required for unvaccinated guests and staff

Best Western

Choice

Hilton

Hyatt

IHG

Marriott

Radisson

Wyndham

IHG and Hyatt only require masks for unvaccinated guests at its U.S. hotels, unless the local mask requirements are stricter than what is recommended by the CDC (in which case all guests must wear masks).

Definitions

Social distancing: This includes policies for common areas and lobbies to ensure the appropriate distance between guests.

Rooms blocked: These policies ensure that guest rooms aren't accessed for a specific number of days between reservations or after cleaning by staff.

Low contact check-in/out: Features such as mobile check-in and express checkout, which minimize contact between guests and staff.

Masks required for guests and staff: Specific policies (not recommendations) that require staff and guests to wear masks (face coverings) while in common areas, including lobbies and elevators.

Staff health screenings: Specific policies (not recommendations) such as temperature checks to help screen potentially infected staff.

Trained local safety leaders: Designated, trained in-hotel leaders to oversee compliance with these health and safety protocols.

Best Western

  • Enhanced room cleaning.

  • Mobile check-in and checkout.

  • Social distancing measures in common areas.

  • Updated breakfast policies.

  • Masks required for guests and staff in common areas.

Choice

  • Enhanced room cleaning.

  • Social distancing measures in common areas.

  • Prepackaged breakfasts at many properties.

  • Masks required for guests and staff in common areas.

Hilton

  • Enhanced room cleaning.

  • Contactless check-in and checkout at many properties.

  • Social distancing in common areas.

  • Adjusted food and beverage service.

  • Masks required for guests and staff in common areas.

Hyatt

  • Enhanced room cleaning.

  • Social distancing in common areas.

  • Adjusted food and beverage service.

  • Contactless check-in and checkout at many properties.

  • Staff temperature checks (where allowed by law).

  • Designated hygiene leaders to enforce safety policies.

  • Complimentary testing at some international resorts.

  • Masks required for staff in common areas at all hotels, and for guests at all its hotels outside the U.S. Hyatt only requires masks for unvaccinated travelers at its U.S. hotels (unless the hotel is located in a place where state and local mask requirements are stricter than what is recommended by the CDC).

IHG

  • Enhanced room cleaning.

  • Social distancing in common areas.

  • Adjusted food and beverage service.

  • Reduced contact at check-in and checkout.

  • Masks are not required for fully vaccinated guests at hotels in the U.S., unless the hotel is located in a place where state and local mask requirements are stricter than what is recommended by the CDC. Hotel guests who are not vaccinated (or not yet fully vaccinated) are encouraged to wear face coverings while indoors and outdoors where social distancing is not possible.

Marriott

  • Enhanced room cleaning.

  • Social distancing in common areas.

  • Adjusted food and beverage service.

  • Mobile check-in and checkout at some properties.

  • Masks required for guests and staff in common areas.

Radisson

  • Enhanced room cleaning.

  • Social distancing in common areas.

  • Adjusted food and beverage service.

  • Express checkout.

  • Team member temperature checks/screenings "when legally permitted or required."

  • Masks required for guests and staff in common areas.

Wyndham

  • Enhanced room cleaning.

  • Social distancing measures in public spaces.

  • Masks required for guests and staff in common areas.

Bottom line

Hotel health and safety protocols are an important consideration when traveling during the pandemic. For the most part, these policies are now quite similar, but vary in a few particulars such as staff health screenings. If you have a particular concern, make sure to check the hotel brand's website for the latest policy updates before booking.


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