The hotel industry's largest trade organization recommended that its member hotels ease mask restrictions for vaccinated guests in the USA on the heels of guidance announced Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“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," Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said in a statement.
The AHLA represents 27,000 members, nearly half of all hotels in the USA, including major chains such as Marriott International, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Hyatt.
The mask guidance is a framework for the trade group's members, but hotels are required to follow state and local guidance, which may go beyond the CDC's guidance. Travelers should check with individual hotels on their requirements.
Though the guidance applies only to vaccinated guests, Rogers said the AHLA is not asking hotels to require proof of vaccination status, essentially removing mask and social distancing requirements altogether.
That said, "unvaccinated guests should wear face coverings at all times and practice physical distancing," Rogers added.
Rogers said the industry awaits further direction on how the CDC's mask guidance applies to employees. Until that is clear, employees should wear face coverings indoors. Vaccinated employees may be allowed to remove their face coverings if they are working outside and are not in close contact with others at each hotel's discretion.
"Throughout the pandemic, our Safe Stay guidelines continued to evolve to align with the current environment and CDC guidelines, and the same will be true as we work to reopen," Rogers said.
Rogers said the AHLA encourages the industry's workforce and guests to get vaccinated and calls on "all Americans" to be vaccinated before removing masks or other forms of facial coverings.
“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," Rogers said, noting the AHLA expects to receive additional guidance from the CDC and other health experts on health and safety protocols.
Copyright 2021 USA TODAY. All rights reserved. From https://www.usatoday.com. By Morgan Hines.