This guidance provides recommendations to prevent or slow the spread of COVID-19 in hotels, including hotels with fitness centers, gyms, and health clubs. These are precautions hotel managers and staff can take to protect the health and safety of guests and employees. The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread more easily than the seasonal flu and it appears COVID-19 disease is significantly more deadly than seasonal influenza.
The following can help prevent COVID-19, which is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person::
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap or water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19.
Preventative actions to stop the spread of COVID-19
- Switch to disinfectant products pre-approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use against emerging viral pathogens.
- Disinfectants should be applied during routine cleaning of guestrooms, public spaces, health club areas, and meeting rooms.
- Linens may become contaminated with the virus, so it is important to add disinfectant when washing. Bed scarfs and bedspreads should be laundered more frequently.
- Public spaces, like the front desk, need to be cleaned regularly. If possible, provide disposable disinfectant wipes to front-of-house staff to disinfect surfaces between guests. High-touch areas in public spaces include tables in the lobby, elevator buttons, water fountains, and ice and vending machines. Pens at the front desk and room keys and key cards also should be cleaned with disinfectant.
- Records should be maintained to help trace contacts with infected individuals who have been to your property. Review and implement a record keeping process to maintain records of guest and staff movement. These records should be kept for a minimum of 90 days. This includes maintaining guest registration records, employee work schedules and assignments, documentation of key control procedures including the electronic lock records, and security camera closed circuit tapes. This is especially important if someone at your hotel has been confirmed to have COVID-19.
- Consult with the local health department to determine appropriate actions if a guest or worker has symptoms of COVID-19 disease, as well as how to respond if asked to quarantine guests. Public health officials at the state, federal, and local level have the legal authority to implement control measures to prevent the spread of communicable disease, such as isolation and quarantine, travel restrictions, and medical treatment.
Preventative actions for hotel workers
- Train housekeeping staff to use disinfectants safely and correctly. Staff should wear gloves when cleaning. Many of these cleaning products need to remain on hard surfaces for several minutes in order to work. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper use to get the most virus killing protection. Schedule and perform routine cleaning and disinfection of contact surfaces in public areas, guestrooms, television remote controls, toilet flush handles, door handles, water faucet handles, and flooring.
- Train hotel staff and post signage to remind guests and workers to wash hands with soap and warm water frequently for at least 20 seconds each time. If possible, provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol in guest contact areas and make available to staff. In addition, staff should be advised not to touch their faces and to practice "social distancing" by standing at least 6 feet from guests and other workers.
- Educate staff on the common signs and symptoms of COVID-19, which are fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms typically occur 1-14 days after exposure, though some people who are infected do not have symptoms.
Preventative actions for the spread of respiratory germs in fitness centers
- Post signs at the entrance instructing members not to visit if they have respiratory infection symptoms.
- Monitor members as they enter and check employees at least once prior to starting their shift for fever or respiratory symptoms.
- Restrict members with fever or acute respiratory symptoms.
- Gym and health club personnel should monitor local health department and Illinois Department of Public Health resources to understand COVID-19 activity in their community to help inform their evaluation of individuals with unknown respiratory illness. If there is transmission of COVID-19 in the community, in addition to implementing the precautions described above for members with acute respiratory infection, facilities also should consult public health authorities for additional guidance.
- Display signs throughout the facility describing ways to prevent the spread of germs.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Support hand and respiratory hygiene as well as cough etiquette by members, visitors, and employees.
- Ensure employees clean their hands according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, including before and after contact with members, and after contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment.
- Put alcohol-based hand rub in every rest room (ideally both inside and outside of the room), at the end of each row of exercise machines, and in the free weight area.
- Position germicidal spray and paper towels at the end of each row of exercise machines, and in the free weight area. Include extra signage to ensure members are following standard self-cleaning protocol.
- Make sure tissues are available and every sink is well-stocked with soap and hand drying materials for hand washing.
- Position a trash can near the exit to make it easy for employees and members to discard tissues and paper towels.
- Perform hand hygiene before and after cleaning workout rooms.
Social distancing actions are taken to restrict when and where people can gather to stop or slow the spread of COVID‐19 or other infectious diseases in communities. Social distancing actions include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings, or canceling events. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 illness and may want to avoid a congregate setting like a gym or health club.
Consider reducing open hours or limiting maximum capacity. Check the IDPH and CDC websites regularly for updated guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Last Updated: 6/30/2020