(HealthyResearch.com) – Many of us once viewed hotel visits as a normal aspect of our vacations or business trips. Then came the pandemic. Could staying at a hotel raise our risk of becoming infected with the COVID-19 virus? We’ve got some answers for the new normal.
Hotel Risk Factors
Before we book our next hotel stay, we may want to consider the risk factors amid a pandemic. Experts say that COVID-19 spreads through contact with infected people, including touching infected surfaces. That transmission method means visiting hotels increases our risk of infection.
To reduce that risk, experts recommend following physical distancing guidelines by staying at least six feet away from other people. Wearing face coverings outside of our hotel rooms may also help to avoid infection.
But other people aren’t the only risk factor in staying at a hotel. We can’t know whether an infected person spent the previous night in our hotel room or is part of the housekeeping staff who cleaned that room prior to and during our stay.
Sometimes, however, staying in a hotel is required for business or a family emergency. In such cases, doing research prior to and following guidelines during a hotel stay may help lower our risk.
How Research Can Reduce Your Hotel Stay Risk
Before you make travel plans that include hotels, experts recommend doing some research:
- Check the rates of COVID-19 in the hotel’s city. If those rates are soaring, consider staying in a nearby city that has successfully flattened the curve.
- Call the hotel and ask if you can reserve a room that has been without guests for the longest period of time.
- Ask about the disinfecting protocol that the hotel has implemented, such as frequent cleaning of surfaces like elevators and door handles.
- Question the hotel on specific COVID-19 prevention measures, such as requiring all staff to wear face coverings and the use of plexiglass barriers at front desks.
- Check the local laws and public health guidelines in the hotel’s city, which vary in different areas.
Hotel Stay Guidelines
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has developed guidelines for those of us who want or need to stay in a hotel during the pandemic:
- Bring your own face coverings to wear outside of your hotel room.
- Stay out of areas that involve close contact with others, such as hot tubs and pool decks.
- Take the stairs or use the elevator only when you can ride with others in your family or solo.
- Ask for contact-free room service.
In addition, you may be able to reduce your hotel stay risk by following these precautions:
- Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer after touching any high-contact surfaces, such as door handles and elevator buttons.
- Putting items other people may need to view, such as your driver’s license, in clear plastic bags. Take extra bags so you can disinfect and then protect those items as needed.
- Request that housekeeping does not enter your room during your stay and use your own disinfecting products.
- If you are staying in a hotel that has not increased air exchange or implemented HEPA filters in ventilation systems, you may want to bring your own portable air purifier with a HEPA filter or use a fan by an opened window to improve the air flow.
Experts say that we can’t completely eliminate our risk of COVID-19 infection in hotels, and the recommended steps for reducing that risk may seem challenging. But this information can help us to protect our health while staying in a hotel amid a pandemic.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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