With more than 7,300 hotels around the world, Marriott International is the largest player in the hospitality game, and it’s just become the first hotel group to require all guests to wear a face mask in its properties’ public spaces, starting July 27.
“Health experts have made it clear that wearing face coverings in public spaces is one of the easiest steps that we can all take to protect one another and reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson in a video message posted yesterday. “As part of our Commitment to Clean, we made it a brand standard that associates wear masks and set an example. Given the recent spikes across the U.S., and with guidance from health officials, we are now extending the requirement to wear face masks in all indoor public spaces in hotels to our guests, no matter the jurisdiction.”
The move follows last week’s publication of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) “Safe Stay Guest Checklist,” a set of five steps that all hotel guests in the United States should follow to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A number of the AHLA’s member companies, including Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Radisson Hotel Group, and Loews Hotels & Co., offered support and statements to AHLA.
While Marriott was the first major hotel chain to enact a mask-wearing rule internationally, Hyatt has already implemented one, also effective July 27, for all of its hotels in the U.S. and Canada. Hilton will soon follow suit. “We have had face-covering requirements for our team members in place for some time, and are working now with our team members and hotel owners on implementation for our guests,” Hilton vice president of global communications Nigel Glennie told TripSavvy via email.
Though it remains to be seen whether or not the other major hotel groups belonging to AHLA will formally issue official mask-wearing standards, it’s certainly likely. “We fully support AHLA’s call for standardizing the use of face coverings across all 50 states and are currently evaluating our policies and procedures,” Rob Myers, Wyndham’s senior director of global communications, told TripSavvy via email. “As of right now, we require face coverings for all hotel team members as appropriate based on their role and strongly encourage masks for all guests, unless otherwise required by local guidelines.”
The private sector, including the travel industry, has been instrumental in regulating the use of facemasks in public. While some U.S. states and specific municipalities have issued their own mandates, there is no national standard.
“We applaud governors who have standardized the use of face coverings in all indoor public spaces, and we urge all lawmakers to help make this a national standard by implementing this requirement in their states,” Chip Rogers, the CEO and president of AHLA, said in a statement. “These preventative measures make it safer and easier for Americans to travel while also supporting hotel and tourism employees.”