Hotels Aren’t Living Up To Their Coronavirus Promises

Filed Under: Hotels

The past few days of travel has been so incredibly eye-opening for me. I want to start talking about our actual road trip, but there’s so much to cover first when it comes to flights and hotel stays (which is ultimately the focus of the blog).

I’ve stayed at three different hotels over the past three nights, and found myself disappointed by the extent to which they’re violating the coronavirus precautions set by corporate.

The travel industry needs to convince us it’s safe to travel

For the travel industry to recover we need two things:

Airlines, hotels, cruise lines, etc., have very little ability to impact perception on overall safety of travel. However, they absolutely have the ability to impact whether we should feel safe choosing to travel with them.

You’d think airlines would have much more of an uphill battle convincing people it’s safe to travel, but much to my surprise, I was impressed overall by my American Airlines flight. Every frontline employee on duty was wearing their mask correctly, and I’ve never seen an American Airlines plane so spotless.

Ironically it’s hotels that have failed me on this trip.

My experiences at three different hotels

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen hotels reveal all kinds of enhanced cleaning protocols for keeping guests safe. But they’re very much failing at the basics. Over the past three nights I’ve stayed at the:

  • SpringHill Suites in Springdale, Utah
  • Hyatt Place in Page, Arizona
  • Hoodoo Hilton Curio Collection in Moab, Utah

All three brands require employees to wear masks. Yet somehow at all three properties I saw employees not wearing masks. How are we supposed to trust that any other aspect of the enhanced cleaning protocols are being followed through on when employees can’t even wear masks?

SpringHill Suites Zion National Park in Springdale, Utah

The Hyatt Place Page was the worst offender

At each property I saw at least two employees not wearing masks in public while on duty, but the Hyatt Place Page was the worst offender:

  • The front desk associate wasn’t wearing a mask when checking us in
  • Two separate times we saw housekeepers in hallways having masks simply strapped around their chins, not covering their nose or mouth
  • Even the person who I assume was the housekeeping manager (he had a clipboard and was walking through the hallway) wasn’t wearing a mask at all
  • A couple of employees wearing masks only had them covering their mouths and not their noses

Hyatt Place in Page, Arizona

I confirmed the current policy with a Hyatt spokesperson, and was told the following:

The safety and security of our guests and colleagues is always a top priority. At this time, in light of COVID-19 and with the safety and wellbeing of our guests and colleagues in mind, Hyatt requires colleagues to wear face masks – and additional personal protective equipment based on job specifications – at all Hyatt hotels globally. Guests are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings and practice proper social distancing in hotel public areas. In some locations, based on local government ordinances, guests may be required to wear face coverings in hotel public areas.

I filled out the survey after my stay, and in the comments section wrote the following:

I was shocked to find how many employees working at this hotel weren’t wearing masks, in violation of Hyatt’s global policy. The front desk associate, housekeeper, rooms manager, etc., all weren’t wearing masks at all, or didn’t have them covering their mouths and noses. Otherwise the hotel was great, but this is completely unacceptable and makes me wonder what other corners are being cut when it comes to guest wellbeing.

The general manager responded to my survey as follows (I suspect this is an automatic response, but frankly that seems counterproductive?):

Thank you for completing our Guest Survey regarding your recent stay at our hotel. I apologize that your experience was anything less than satisfying. Feedback such as yours assists us in improving our service and property. In addition, please know that your comments and issues will be addressed.

It is our hope that you give us another opportunity to serve you. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience during your stay and hope to see you during your next visit. If I can provide any assistance, please contact me directly.

Hyatt Place in Page, Arizona

What should we do as guests?

People stay at chain hotels because they value consistency. It’s the same as how when you go to Starbucks, you can count on getting the same thing no matter where you go, for better or worse.

I would be willing to bet many people traveling right now choose chain hotels specifically because they think they can rely on them being clean, and because they’ve publicly promoted enhanced protocols. Yet it’s clear they’re not actually being followed, and there’s no enforcement or consequences.

I’m not saying my experience is indicative of every hotel out there, but when three out of three hotels you stay at have obvious examples of employees not wearing masks, it sure doesn’t give me much faith.

Look, I recognize that “corporate” doesn’t have eyes and ears everywhere. But the focus needs to be more on actions than talk. Press releases are cheap when individual hotels don’t follow through on what’s being promised. While I’m not sure what exactly that looks like, there needs to be more accountability on the property level.

I think this also raises the question of what we should do as guests?

  • Should we directly confront people not wearing masks?
  • Should we bring this to the attention of the manager?
  • Should we fill out the survey after a stay?
  • Should we just take our business elsewhere/not travel?

Hoodoo Curio Collection in Moab, Utah

Bottom line

I was impressed by my American Airlines flight in terms of how seriously all employees were taking wearing face masks. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for hotels, as I’ve stayed at a Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton, and at all three I saw multiple employees without masks.

In particular I was disappointed by the Hyatt Place. Why? Because generally I find Hyatt is by far the most consistent of the brands, so if there’s one brand I expect to get policies and procedures right, it’s Hyatt.

I don’t want to turn this into a debate about whether or not face masks are necessary. That’s not what this is about. This is about a brand making a simple promise and there being no follow-through on the property level.

I think a lot of the blame here falls on corporate for creating standards that simply aren’t being followed on the hotel level, so maybe it’s time they adjust standards until they can follow through on promises?

If you’ve stayed at a hotel recently, what was your experience like? Were all “enhanced” coronavirus policies being followed? What would you do if staying at a hotel where you noticed several employees not wearing masks, despite a brand promise to do so?

  1. I think AirBnB is the way to go for now. No other guests and many offer contactless check-in with keys left e.g. in mailbox locked with a number code padlock. Yes no points earned/spent but I think for many traveling now, feeling safe comes first.

  2. Lucky, good post of your experiences last few days. As someone who hasn’t stopped traveling during this entire spring except for maybe 2 weeks in mid-March for my “essential” job – this is the norm. No one follows the guidelines. I’ve been at I think 14 different hotels during the pandemic, and none of them are compliant to state/local/corporate guidelines. To think they will be, may be worse than the offender’s actions themselves.

    Sad to say, but most people are lazy. Do you think every kitchen staff washed their hands prior to covid? Probably not. Do you think every housekeeping staff cleaned everything perfectly prior to covid? Probably not. Hate to be negative, but it will be tough to ever find a place with 100% compliance.

    I will say, the Tru by Hilton hotel in Elkhart, IN so far has probably been the 1 hotel I’ve seen doing the most for promoting cleanliness and following covid related guidelines.

    At the end of the day, I got sick more often prior to covid while traveling 250+ nights a year. And while some may think traveling is unsafe now because of covid, I’m not a doctor, but my anecdotal evidence, is even despite lack of rock-solid covid precautions by the staff, the low volume of travelers makes me feel safer. There’s typically 5-15 cars in the parking lots lately. So less people in elevators, lobbies, higher odds that my room was empty the night before, etc.

    I sincerely hope your next 3 hotels give you a better experience, but from my last 14 – I doubt it…

  3. Stay Home.

    My state (Victoria, Australia) has a surge in cases this week (73 cases, no deaths). They have slowed down reopening and advised against travelling to the districts (Hume and Casey) where the cases are concentrated. There’s talk to the other states delaying their border reopening.

    Soon, thousands of people will be dying everyday in the US according to CDC modelling. The best thing you can do to help avoid this is stay home.

  4. Thank you for this. I’m tired of going into businesses that promise employees will be wearing face masks, only to find out that they’re not

  5. I am totally fine with employees not wearing masks, I mean who can expect from people to wear masks permanently for 8+ hours.
    If someone is not fine with others not wearing masks, they are allowed to stay home, I mean no one is forcing people to travel now. 🙂

  6. I think that the response from the Manager was a generic response as it didn’t address the health aspects – disappointing

  7. I don’t know why this surprises you, at all. Most chain hotels are not owned or managed by corporate, they are owned by a group of real estate investors and simply managed by the chain companies. “Corporate” can slap them on the wrist, but rarely will they have any impact on the individually owned properties. Unfortunately, if this bothered you, you are going to be appalled every time you travel for a while. That survey that was responded to by the GM? Same exact one I get from most hotels when I mention a service failure. It’s all about the bottom line, that includes airlines.

    You think that serving only a can of warm water on a 4.5 hour transcon flight on Southwest is to protect you against a virus? No, it’s because the money they are spending on this PPE and extra Clorox wipes is cutting into profits. And don’t get me started on United, they are just the worst.

    You need to protect yourself, stop relying on others for protection, safety and sanity – you’ll be much happier for it.

  8. @ Max — That’s the dumbest argument imaginable. The brand promises all employees wear masks. This isn’t about what your personal beliefs are on masks, it’s about the brand promising something and not delivering.

  9. I think you have to assume that the policies written up by corporate management are not going to be followed 100 percent of the time by people on the ground in all locations. It’s the same thing with the policies that are coming out for schools – anyone with children will tell you that keeping small kids 6 feet apart at all times, wearing masks and washing their hands for twenty seconds multiple times a day is just not sustainable for more than a few days. People just can’t keep this up this level of vigilance for long stretches. For us, as much as we love traveling, it’s just not worth it right now – between the virus and the restrictions (traveling with kids was hard before- add this layer (temperature checks, mask wearing) to it and it seems daunting).

  10. I was im two non – chain hotels in Germany and Netherlands and I don’t think anyone wore masks. They had glass wall at reception, one was probably always there, the other might have been extra addition. In Netherlands I got A4 piece of paper with rules, one way traffic info, etc. But hotel was deserted any way. In Germany not a word.

    In Poland, I stayed in holiday cottages, there was sanitising gel everywhere and I think receptionist wore a mask.

    I understand why cleaning staff is not wearing masks. It’s difficult to breathe in them and physical activity must make it even worse. I would not expect it from them.

    If you’re not happy about hotel standards, just don’t travel. I can’t wait, when things go back to normal.

  11. @Ben, but if a brand promises something, which employees are not at all able to deliver, one should expect that the protocoll is not followed.
    So in this situation, I would not blame employees, but rather hotel groups for promising things which are not realistic.

  12. @Ben
    Actually that’s not the dumbest argument. I take it you don’t have a job that requires wearing a mask 8-10hrs a day.
    And you said it yourself, corporate isn’t there to watch over everything so at the end of it, it does become a situation of the individual’s views on mask-wearing.
    I guess you can with your platform, expose all those properties that don’t comply, but if you are that offended by less than 100% compliance, stay home.

  13. @ Max — I’m not sure I’d say employees aren’t “able” to deliver on that, but I absolutely agree with you here that the problem is the standards being set by corporate. Those standards need to be adjusted if properties can’t deliver on them.

  14. @ Andy — Hmmm? We had sanitizing wipes with which we wiped down most surfaces of our car and hotel room. No one used our car or came into our hotel room during our stays.

  15. @ Pete — We’re not talking about “less than 100% compliance.” I wouldn’t be complaining if nine out of 10 employees were wearing masks correctly, but that’s so far from the reality I experienced. Maybe the blame here falls on corporate for setting standards that aren’t realistic.

    And regarding having a job that requires wearing masks all day, I completely agree it’s not easy. But the hospitality industry is in a really tough spot. If the situation doesn’t change, so many travel businesses are going to no longer exist. For many people this is a situation where they unfortunately may not have a job soon if things don’t improve.

  16. This is a tough issue. I live in China and took my family back to the US in January when things were unknown here. I am going back to the US in July and am worried about my flight connections in the US. Originally I was on Shanghai to Seattle no stop, but Delta sold flights they didn’t have permission to sell and cancelled everything without notice and now I have to fly a domestic segment from Detroit to Seattle which I dread

    You should write an article on how broken Delta customer service is now. I am a Diamond and these flights were on paid business class and there was no notice that these flights were cancelled at all…you have to look at the reservation and see if you can still select seats. Normally, if flight is delayed for 3 minutes you get a text and email.

    Mask wearing in Shanghai is probably at an all time low right now-I think people are tired of wearing masks and with summer coming it is hard to convince people even here that you should wear a mask. I’m sure in the US it is much worse because the more individualistic culture.

    We are doing Air-BNB this summer because we don’t trust hotels to do the right thing. Ben-I do think sometimes you are somewhat naive thinking everybody shares your values

  17. @Lucky The whole point of everyone staying home was to flatten the curve so cases stayed within the capacity of the healthcare system. Despite what government, airlines, hotel chains and the f**kwit at the top of it all say. Healthcare systems are being beginning overwhelmed again all over America. People have to take responsibility where government won’t and stay home if they can.

    I really hope you got tested before you left home and I reallly hope you get tested when you get back and I really really hope you didn’t pick up a case of Covid-19. Friends who have had it say it is no joke and some of them have health consequences that have not gone away and may never go away.

    No amount of mask wearing is going to protect those hotel employees from what you may have brought with you from the plane or from Florida. It seems disingenuous to complain about the lack of mask wearing from hotel employees whilst you are making this unnecessary trip.

  18. Masks should be worn by customer facing employees (check in staff) and people should have masks on them if they anticipate being in contact with others (so a mask can be put on). However, it is probably unrealistic to expect an employee (or any person) to have a mask on 100% of the time throughout the day if they are not interacting with customers. In a state like Utah, where people may have less experience with Covid, it will be harder to get perfect compliance. As travel opens back up in the big cities (NY, Boston, etc), you should see more mask wearing, especially among staff like restaurant waiters

  19. Frankly, I’m not surprised. Noncompliance for even the most basic things in our lives is fairly high. Just look at how many people fail to use turn signals while they’re driving. And that’s an offense punishable by law.

    Even if this weren’t a promise by a company (which, frankly so many promises are broken on a regular basis), people would still be apt to not follow through.

    Between US culture being so heavily divided on believing in effective measures for disease prevention on top of mask wearing never having been part of US culture on top US culture being so highly focused on independent autonomy over all else with no regard whatsoever to the effects that autonomy has on other people, I am not surprised whatsoever by the actions of individuals. Even if it is corporate policy. Even if it were a law (which, in most places it’s not).

    I’m not surprised whatsoever. People suck. And I’m going to be stuck inside my apartment for a very long time because of it.

  20. Brands should not promise something and then not take adequate measures to enact a reasonable rate of compliance.

    Yet, if one is fearful regarding contracting the virus and the potential consequences – and that risk and the perceived risk are not necessarily the same – then that individual has to assume the responsibility for managing that risk for themselves.

    It is not realistic, for a number of reasons, to expect 100% compliance with any rule or standard on the part of others, be it hand washing, mask wearing, driving at the posted speed limit, using turn signals, etc.

    If you are uncomfortable with the perceived risk of travel at present, don’t travel.

  21. I would only have the expectation of direct customer facing staff to wear masks.

    I would have zero issue with housekeepers who tend to work solo and generally are not customer facing to not wear masks. Also, given the physical nature of their work they would not be practical. I mean I would not do a workout wearing a mask.

  22. Ben, I think your expectations maybe a little unrealistic. And partly maybe the hotels are setting unrealistic and probably unnecessary standards. Masks are helpful in you are in close proximity to others and as others commented it’s not comfortable to be wearing it all the time. Even as a physician, I only wear it when I’m in a public space where I can interact with people, but I try to take it off as soon I’m in my office. So in all the examples given, I think the only one I would be concerned is the front desk clerk at check in. We know that the virus does not stay airborne and it’s mainly spread through droplet. So it would be extremely unlikely for you to get it from a housekeeping supervisor walking in the hallway.

    Also I think how people are wearing mask is a reflection of the attitude in the region you are in. It’s difficult to set a global standard when the region doesn’t “believe” that masks work. Utah, Arizona, Nevada are part of the country where people are less inclined to wear masks. So it’s not a surprise that people who work there aren’t wearing it religiously.

  23. It’s exactly as I posted here last week in the comments. The hotel brands great Covid policy of cleaning and staffing requirements is complete nonsense in practice. I had all of last week in hotels and only one appeared to be making any effort with cleaning and staff masks.

    The only time I am saying anything is getting into an elevator. I refuse to ride an elevator with anyone not wearing a mask. Period. I could not believe the number of employees who were trying to enter the elevator with me without a mask on.

  24. @Anthony. Agreed
    Surprised that check in staff would not have masks
    Others – who can generally maintain 6 feet social distancing — I’d give them a pass on always wearing a mask. Around the neck to use when they get close to someone is fine by me. Especially the hardworking housekeeping staff.
    I respect COVID and take precautions, but if I was a complete germiphobe like Ben I think it would be better to stay home.

  25. Come on lighten up. Had recent stay at renaissance and felt perfectly safe. There were plastic shields at check in counter and employee was wearing gloves. Key was sanitized. And the good thing out all of this the room was perfect clean

    I think the measures taken were enough!

    Regarding your rental. I believe it will be cleaned better before you pick it up. So, no need to sanitize it yourself. (since you’re the only one driving it.
    And to put things in perspective. Before all of this nobody did sanitize or (extra) clean stuff. So, the benefit of this is that my car and hotel room is finally clean. We need to go back to before again soon. Locking down everything and act with too much panic will cause the world to be destroyed.

    Keep travelling!

  26. Continuum in Jackson hole, maybe 50% employees wearing masks. Hilton Garden in Casper Wy., 0% wearing masks. Curio in rapid city, no one wearing masks and valet parking only…

  27. The dirty secret of the franchise companies is that they have no enforcement method as they’ve furloughed or fired most QA. If you want action you must complain to Hilton or Hyatt or Marriott? but I can’t even be confident anyone is still employed to respond at the corporate level.

  28. Ben, I’m a bit split on this. I stayed in the Novotel Berne this week. Everything was in compliance with the national regulation, i.e. a plexiglass shield at front desk (but no mask), hand sanitizers both in lobby and in the elevators, restaurant waiter service only (no buffet, but also no face masks) and distant seating (min 2 meters), rooms disinfected and cleaning staff wearing face masks. So I guess you’d object restaurant staff (and possibly also front desk) not wearing masks. However, if they were wearing masks this would have probably been the only restaurant in Switzerland with masks … So I’m not really sure how to think about this additional level of regulation by international chains. Hotels and restaurants all operate under local licence.

  29. I experienced the same thing staying at the Fairfield Inn in Morganton NC this weekend. Brand new hotel (and the nicest Fairfield I’ve ever stayed at), so they had mobile key available. I checked in on the app, but they wouldn’t activate my mobile key until they handed me a piece of paper at the front desk informing me of their COVID policies. Marriott had advertised the mobile key as a way to limit in person interaction. It seems like that information could have been emailed. Front desk employees were not wearing masks at all at check in. They were behind a small piece of plexiglass but kept leaning around it to talk to guests. I sent an email to the GM, which so far has been unanswered. Perhaps, I’ll get a reply Monday. It was a great hotel otherwise with friendly staff. I just wish they had followed those 2 Marriott guidelines to promote a safer hotel stay.

  30. If you are afraid, then stay home. No one forces you to go on trips. It’s as simple as that.

    People want to have a normal experience, not a strange one.

    If I want to be served by a person wearing a mask, I go to a hospital. If I go to a hotel, I want to feel comfortable and worry-free.

    It’s your choice. No one shall be forcing me to wear a mask. That’s why I choose mask-free airlines – Swiss, Icelandair and SAS (only on domestic hops in Sweden).

  31. Stayed at the Royal Palm in Miami Beach for 5 nights a few days ago. Zero housekeeping service even after asking them for toilet paper and towel on the 4th day.
    And when checking in the front desk person gave me a worse room than what I had paid for and said that this was an upgrade (Lifetime Titanium).
    The 3 employees I saw during my stay did use face masks though.
    Supposedly free breakfast meant $14 value coupon, limited breakfast, simple omelet was $17, they added 18% gratuity.

  32. Remember that people with respiratory problems, ADA issues, or other medical problems are not required to wear masks. Employers have to deal with employees who come up with all kinds of excuses not to follow procedures. Employer hands are tied in most cases….

  33. Unfortunately I had similar experiences at the HGI Rapid City last weekend. Mixed masks for employees, no room seals, and room documentation was still paper and this hotel is finishing up an active renovation. This was in a region with near zero mask usage in public, and very mixed usage among service employees.

  34. @Ben
    All of this is the result of “hotel chains” not actually owning and operating hotels, but just being a brand for promotion purposes.
    As all these hotels are owned and operated by someone else it is more than understandable that reality greatly differs from what some marketing clerk with no clue about hotel operations in an office thousands of miles away has promised in his marketing email.

  35. Went to Apple Store yesterday in NYC for Genius Bar appointment. There were about 50 staff tending about 20 customers for pick ups and Genius Bar appointments. All protocols were followed as advertised. Markings on the floor, temperature check upon entering, 6ft distance at all times, everybody wore masks and gloves the whole time. Genius Bar was one large table per customer with staff and customer on different sides. Display area is closed for browsing. Staff also told me that company also provide shuttle buses to go to work to avoid public transport. Felt safe.

  36. “The travel industry needs to convince us it’s safe to travel.”

    No, each person needs to make an individual determination as to whether they believe that it is safe to travel. If coming across unmasked people (employees or not) is a deal breaker for a person, they should probably stay holed up.

  37. I’m in a state where masks are required by law in public. I haven’t put one on yet, except in Church because my Bishop requires it for going to Mass. Otherwise, I avoid being too close, do my business quickly, and let the workers feel some sense of normal in stores.

    Hotels set policies to say they are setting policies. Writing to corporate seems pretty ridiculous and is likely just going to force hard working people to suffer stupidly. If you don’t feel safe traveling, stay home. Let the rest of the people be in peace.

  38. Ben,

    I commend you. Reading some of these asinine comments would make me not write another blog ever. I wouldn’t be able to do it. Some of these comments make my blood boil.

    I wonder if anyone has been to Asia. Specifically Japan, Korea, Hong Kong. People wear masks there. Everyone. All the time. Sometimes more than 8 hours a day! The horror! Sometimes it is hot and humid – Hong Kong in June is no joke. In dense cities. No one complains. Even 3 year old kids wear a mask. They all wear it correctly over their mouth and nose.

    I don’t walk into a store without my pants because it is too tight and makes me uncomfortable. This country’s “freedom” is going to kill all of us.

  39. Im not sure why some people feel that “difficulty wearing a mask”’ for x number of hours is an excuse for staff not complying. As a healthcare worker I and all of my colleagues from janitors to admin staff to the chief of the hospital all wear masks entire time we are on campus. Patient facing or not. Is it uncomfortable? Sometimes. But putting colleagues and patients (customers) at risk is even more so.

  40. At the very least we should be filling out surveys when employees fail to live up to their corporate promises. Housekeepers in particular should be wearing masks since they are cleaning rooms where customers are going to be sleeping. What is the point if they aren’t? God I hate selfish people.

  41. @Mike +1 and thank you.

    The reality is most people don’t need to wear masks the entire time they are on shift. Everyone gets breaks. They can take masks off during their breaks. If there is a proper plexiglass barrier and people respect it then practically speaking that should be fine. And practically speaking, if you are just standing in a hallway not talking (like it sounds Ben’s maids were) not wearing a mask is not the end of the world. But the maids should absolutely 100% wear masks when cleaning the rooms.

    The above begs Ben’s point that there is a policy that is not being followed. For now non compliance does need to be called out. If the policy is too stringent it should change. If the policy is right and the staff are wrong, someone in a position of responsibility needs to be made aware. Though honestly how bad does a GM need to be to not see his own staff aren’t wearing masks?

  42. So you were potentially exposed to all of these people without masks, yet you continue to travel just to get more clicks on your blog? Seems pretty hypocritical. I’m usually a fan of your work, but it seems like you’re not helping the problem by potentially spreading COVID to numerous people if the enforcement is this lax. If people aren’t wearing masks and you feel this strongly, just stay home until there’s a vaccine.

  43. Unfortunately, I’m not surprised, especially given the parts of the country in which you’re traveling. Personally, I’m not traveling at the moment unless it’s absolutely essential–both because I don’t want to put others at risk and because I generally don’t trust others to be considerate of my health. If I were to travel and had to stay in a hotel, I would do careful research about the hotel. Some have posted very detailed information on their individual websites about the specific measures they are taking (e.g., the Inn at Bay Harbor Michigan, Autograph Collection), which would give me some more confidence that the individual hotel is taking social distancing and mask wearing seriously. I would also see if there are recent TripAdvisor reports about measures at the hotel, and I might even call the hotel and ask pointed questions about their measures.

  44. “In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”

    I am so tired of people freaking out if they see one or two people a distance away either not wearing a mask or a mask not perfectly in place.

    If someone feels they are vulnerable to getting the virus, simple: stay home.

    All of these locations aren’t exactly in hot spots. Utah has been one of the places almost unaffected by the entire pandemic. People that live in these places will therefore have a different perspective about being “required” or “forced” to do something that likely isn’t that effective, anyway.

    As well, working in and with cleaning products is VERY different than working in an Apple store with top-of-the-line HVAC pumping cool, filtered air.

    Has anyone here tried cleaning whilst using a mask? It’s darn near impossible to breathe. And if you wear glasses? Forget it. Kudos that they are even trying even if their mask isn’t completely covering every single orifice that’s recommended.

    This is all VERY new. It’s not realistic to expect people working minimum wage jobs to suddenly be sporting masks like they have worked in a hospital all their lives.

    Again, if people are SO uncomfortable being out and about that they would shame others, they should stay home.

  45. Lucky: I do understand that today the best way to get activity in a blog is to post about the masks. I have been traveling over the last 3 months and there is nothing new in your reporting from the road. I am not going to get into another argument with a hysteric “what if we all wear masks” and an ignorant “I will never get corona virus”. My view is in between. I always enjoyed visiting your blog, but please keep it from turning it into

  46. @Johan Amen.

    And if you are concerned about travel industry returning, don’t write articles like this. Everyone is struggling to do their best to work with this and stay afloat.

    We are kidding ourselves if we think we can hide behind masks and never touch one another again to avoid an illness. Let us live our lives. Those of you who need to protect yourselves for health reasons will do that, as you would/should anyway.

  47. Sorry, but people like you are the reason why the world is in such a desperate state now.
    Irrational fear and panic have taken over.

    If you are afraid of corona just stay home please and don’t ruin it for others who are not driven by fear…
    Unbelievable how people are suddenly afraid of everything. For a healthy human being the chance of dying is practically ZERO. It’s media that makes everybody believe corona is the most deadly disease ever, but it’s a fact mostly people aged 80+ with several pre-illnesses die.
    Of course there are cases of younger people not making it but these have severe issues such as obesity…

  48. This is incredible. I want to hear about the food. Not the masks. Full meal service? Buffet? If this is going to be your priority going forward some of us will need to look elsewhere. I am masked out.

  49. I’m a usually a huge defender of you, Ben. But it seems after this trip you should stay home for awhile. I really want to travel (and travel vicariously through you), but right now between the rising spikes in COVID-19 and the lack of mask use around the country, seems being home for the next several weeks is the best bet. I would be frustrated too to see hotel and airport staff w/o makes or not properly wearing them, but we can’t 100% mandate human behavior. Because of this, I just cancelled my trip to the Ritz Reserve in Dorado for August. I’m driving down to Montague Palmetto Bluffs now and am renting one of the cottages for my August getaway. This might be a good opportunity for you to become the biggest fan of Visit Florida. Would love to see your summer dispatches from I-4.

  50. do not travel until there is a vaccine unless is absolutely necessary, the situation is not going to get better, is going to get worst. the spread is going to continue until 70% of the population have been positive, we are still far (5 to 10%) from that 70%. Also the demographic is changing, more younger people getting sick and if you are lucky this is going to disrupt your life big time for a couple of months, I can see that because I work in healthcare with COVID 19 patients, I am not planning to go anywhere, is not worth. Just b patient there will be time to travel again in the future.

  51. Thank you for this post – it’s one of the best, most valuable you’ve posted in a long time. Lots of good information here for readers.

    Sadly, not surprised one bit. People are idiots. Who really needs more proof of that? (Answer: only idiots.) The dead bodies pile up like cordwood and still far too many spoiled morons simply refuse to take this worldwide pandemic seriously, everywhere. Exactly how prevalent that is, does vary by location, but even where the local culture “gets it” to a greater extent, there are large numbers of morons. In deep-red Trumpistan where you’ve gone, expect the obvious.

    Should we directly confront people not wearing masks?
    Should we bring this to the attention of the manager?
    Should we fill out the survey after a stay?
    Should we just take our business elsewhere/not travel?

    Yes, yes, yes and yes. If people don’t push back, idiots rule the world (look around you for unlimited evidence).

    Do what you can to protect yourself and others, get home safely, and remember these experiences. We’re going to be dealing with this for a long, long time. 2021 ands 2022 (and November 3 2020) can’t come soon enough.

  52. Rules are always broken. I’m not saying this as a blanket justification, but rather as a brutal fact. The fact of the matter remains that we are still in the middle of a global pandemic that we’re still trying to figure out, understand and fight, and between the hordes of anti-mask crowds, denialists, hypochondriacs and middle-of-the-roaders, you are ALWAYS going to find something that won’t please you.

    With all due respect, don’t become one of those people who freaks out over whether or not people wear masks, “brand promise” or not. Your previous mention of Ford passive-aggressively staring at a woman on the plane until she put a mask on is nothing short of shameful. If anything out there sets you off, then go home and stay there until a vaccine comes out or another kind of ‘all clear’ lets us all go back to our previous ways. The world has enough problems, and the last thing anybody needs is policing from amped-up vigilantes.

  53. @Dick, no need to call people who disagree with you idiots. Are you going to call the first African American Surgeon General for condescendingly gelling the country not to wear masks despite evidence to the contrary from other countries? People make decisions based on their evaluation of facts and personal values/beliefs/health. You should make your decision. You don’t have to travel for leisure which by definition is non essential.

    Unless you are in a locale that’s requires masks in public space, you have absolutely no right to tell people what to do

  54. I’m a nurse and I have been wearing a mask during my 12-hour shifts, three times a week, for the last 3 months. When I hear people whining about how uncomfortable this is or whatever, it seems absurd to me. Like are you guys adults? And these are just fabric masks and disposable masks you guys are wearing, I have to wear full PPE and n95, which are tight and harder to breathe in, when I deal with covid-19 patients. There are millions of medical professionals Nationwide who pretty much wear masks all day and deal with it, it doesn’t faze any of my colleagues. So yeah, some of you guys who are saying it’s unreasonable to expect employees to follow corporate policy? Not really, it really isn’t that bad. The worst part is the back of your ears can hurt a little bit, but you can get mask extender straps so that the elastic doesn’t hit your ears. The number of cases are going up in a lot of areas, this whole debate about masks is silly. Then again, I routinely deal with patients who do silly things, like overeating til they’re 500 pounds, not come in for kidney dialysis and then develop life-threatening complications, pull out all their IVs after heart surgery and wheel themselves out of the hospital so to get a smoke…. you guys are hurting yourself with your own stupidity.

  55. recently took qatar airways but the flight was full. Yes, literally full. There was no temperature measure either. So I guess Al Baker is living up to his promise that social distancing is not needed. The main issue with being on a transcontinental flight is that we don’t know who is flying next to you. I was next to a German family, which didn’t do the basic manner of keeping clean and virus free. They covered their mouth with a mask but not nose. Ok, that is not huge but they kept touching everything and no hand sanitizing. Yep they went to toilet and got out and touched the door, no hand sanitizing afterwards. How can an airline keep traveling safe is beyond me when people cannot do the basics.

  56. I am really hoping that someone comes up with a mask that can be worn comfortably for 8 hours. Since the mask requirement came out, I have tried 8 different masks, with different materials, fits, etc, and still found each one uncomfortable after about 30 minutes. If anyone has found a comfortable one, please post with information. Thank you!

  57. Honestly Lucky stop calling out everyone who does wrong things when you’ve been prancing around the country while coming from Florida which now has record high rates of infection. STAY AT HOME!!! Or don’t, but don’t do the wrong thing and then pretend to be Mr Perfect.

  58. Sadly this is no different than the American states setting public health orders to physical distance and wear mask, but ~80% of the people I see lately no longer complying. If they are serious about it, enforce it.

  59. Johan says:

    June 21, 2020 at 9:34 am

    If you are afraid, then stay home. No one forces you to go on trips. It’s as simple as that.

    People want to have a normal experience, not a strange one.

    If I want to be served by a person wearing a mask, I go to a hospital. If I go to a hotel, I want to feel comfortable and worry-free.
    I don’t plan to kiss the receptionist so he or she can and should wear a mask. There are surgeons who do 12 hour surgeries wearing masks the entire time.

    Everyone who doesn’t wear a mask can become a killer. Wear a mask.

  60. That Hyatt in Page is owned by the owner of the Aman nearby. Surprised they aren’t taking it more seriously.

  61. Ben has exposed a lie made by the hotels. He reported on it. I was very happy he did report it, even though I expected it based on other travel forums.

    Now he is the bad guy?

  62. Travel brands are making promises. Ben was commenting on the extent to which they’re following through. This is fine. This is one of the things Ben does for a living with this blog—to what extent are brand standards proclaimed by these corporations fulfilled. Typically this is about stuff like loyalty programs and executive lounges. Now hygiene is added to the list.

    Work is a place where they pay you to do things you don’t necessarily want to do or find comfortable—nowadays that includes things like wear masks correctly and gloves. If you don’t want to do the things that your employer requires, look for a new job. Not possible? Well then do it. I do stuff at my job that I don’t like and my employer doesn’t ask or care if I agree with it or am comfortable with it. Their attitude is — don’t like it? There’s the door. There’s a line of people here who will do what we ask.

  63. @Max- Okay, so the employees don’t want to comply with hotel policy and wear masks and the word will get out and those of us who don’t like it will spend our time at hotels which actually enforce their own policy. And eventually no one will go to their stinking hotels and they will all lose their jobs. Smart! And when they’re all unemployed, including the incompetent GM, they can dump the masks!

    I wear a mask 8 hours a day watching my little niece who is recovering from leukemia while her parents work. It’s a very minor inconvenience, not the torture you wimps are describing.

  64. I can’t wait for the article comparing how much compensation you can get for catching the maid cleaning your room not wearing a mask…

    No company can force their employees or customers to follow strict hygiene procedures, no more than you have been able to ensure your employees wash their hands and wash their hands properly in the bathroom. It’s simply not possible to supervise or discipline people to that degree.

    The best you can do is educate and encourage people, make it about personal responsibility. Remind and reward, appreciate and acknowledge the efforts of both customers and staff.

    You are hardly a saint, grossly unnecessary hotel stays and all.

  65. I think the answer right now is it is not really safe to travel, especially in the United States. I believe yesterday the US was the most dangerous Covid 19 country with the most new cases (33,000 + new cases June 20) in the world. Travel is what spread Covid and people not social distancing especially indoors is what is making this a big problem.

    To those commenters who say that healthy people won’t have serious consequences from this, your are wrong. Say that to the healthy doctors and nurses who have died or become seriously ill from Covid.

    I am glad that you brought to the attention of the hotel GM’s that employees were not wearing masks. It is my understanding that being in your hotel room, and generally staying in a clean hotel is on the safe side. It is being inside restaurants, stores, hair cuts etc that are more riskier because of the close contact with other individuals, and that is where the higher risk comes. Then of course being inside crowded places – that is just stupid.

    Hopefully, the hotel managed crowded areas well and did not allow for staff or customers to gather in lobbies or common areas.

    On a side note, how were elite benefits given? What about breakfast?

  66. Gotta give some credit to Marriott here. Last night I stayed at the Marriott Prague Hotel and every single employee I saw was wearing a mask.
    At check in, in the restaurant, housekeeping etc.
    I even noticed them disinfecting “high touch areas” frequently.
    All in all I have to say, they did a great job!

  67. @Henrik – that’s more a reflection of the smart, disciplined Croatian response to Covid more than Marriott…that’s how you drive down rates.

  68. Guess the hospitality industry is not ready for prime time yet. I was thinking of a short road trip in August to Monterey, from sitting at home too long. But watching Tulsa yesterday and how people have no idea wearing masks is about protecting others, and not about personal freedom but about being respectful of others who can’t choose, I guess I need to wait.

  69. @Kai Bill Clinton’s surgeon general Jocelyn Elders is African American. Many people won’t travel until they feel safe, companies make promises to that effect, and bloggers are checking out those promises. (How come some of you aren’t whining about the loss of breakfast buffets or other changes that have been made during the pandemic?). As has been said, would people wear pants all day if they didn’t have to- look how many are happily in shorts or sweats while working from home. Some people hate wearing a uniform or a tie or nice shoes to work- and then they have to chose between their personal preference and that job…

  70. @ben – Thank you for your honest report. People that are not currently travelling are interested in hearing what precautions are actually being taken and where. Any business taking the right precautions will earn trust and more $. Those that don’t, deserve to be called out.

  71. It just explains why we have the worst outcome in the world. The numbers are increasing in many states. I guess it won’t slow down untill all states become like New York. Hope it won’t get worse each season like the spanish flu.

  72. Corona patrol people is the worst!!! It has been proved you can’t get the virus from surfaces. Why would the hotel personal have to wear masks when there’s no one around? Wait! Maybe the coronal patrol will come by and you need to be ready for a stupid review like this, get a grip!

  73. I stayed at the Andaz Scottsdale in late May just after it opened back up. They capped capacity at around 50%. Once a guest checked out, they left the room vacant for 2 days before the staff cleaned the room for the next guest. They have bungalows so your interactions with other people was lessened. The staff wore masks. Based on my experience I would highly recommend them.

    I also stayed at the hampton Inn red rock/summerlin in the Vegas area in last weekend. Mask wearing was more haphazard there. One person behind the desk was not wearing one while one was. I saw at least one other staff not wearing a mask during my stay. Based on my experience, I was not as comfortable as the Andaz (surprise, surprise) but at least didn’t feel they were flagrantly ignoring the pandemic like some of the hotels Lucky stayed at.

  74. I stayed at a Residence Inn in Palm Desert two nights ago.
    Housekeepers not wearing masks. Rooms seemed clean, but no hints towards a special cleaning effort. Marriott said they would supply cleaning wipes in every room. That was not the case. It was and looked just like a room would 1 year ago.

    Hotel was packed, but also most people didn’t wear face covering whatsoever.

    I’ve tried the Wynn in Vegas last night. Their staff is definitely better prepared. Rooms were sealed with a cleaning seal on the door. Room had 2 masks, 4 single packed cleaning wipes and 1 bottle of sanitizer.

    Despite all of that, basically only 10/100 people in Vegas seem to wear masks at this point: that’s in Hotels, Casinos, Restaurants. Etc. Safe distance is pretty much always violated. Restaurants, as assumed, are pretty full. I don’t think every table is 6 feet apart and pretty much no-one wears masks except staff.
    There are some temperature checks at the entrances of some establishments, however that’s in the far minority.
    On the strip outside masks are a rare site. Distances are never kept.
    Casinos and establishments seem to turn a blind eye in favor for profit. Only at game tables are masks enforced, yet they are often not worn properly: chin protector, nose uncovered, etc.
    I’m particularly concerned about the staff at the hotels and casinos. They don’t seem to have another choice other than to keep working their jobs. It should be the duty of the hotels to ensure that everybody is complying but then again they only in for the profit anyways, putting anyone else at risk to cash in.
    The whole thing is completely shocking. Reading up online before I decided to come here I was assured that there would be strict protocols but in my experience that are all empty promises, and simply misleading.
    Contact me if you want to know more details.

  75. @Kamaaina mea culpa, got my CR’s mixed up (and shame on me as I have been to both)…yes it is the Czech Republic that has had one of the best-in-class responses globally (Croatia has their own infinitesimally small case load too)

  76. Lucky, thank you for your honest review. I am in the health care field and have to travel for a government deployment. I’m working in an area where Covid-19 is rampant in the community and am staying in a Marriott property (Town Place Suites) for 30 days. It’s been nearly two weeks so far and I have had similar experiences. The hotel staff are inconsistent (at best) in terms of wearing masks, from the front desk staff, to food service (grab and go breakfast), to housekeeping. In addition, the front desk staff often act indifferent, even though I’m staying with them for 30 days. They did upgrade me to a one bedroom suite so I appreciate that (although it took more negotiating than necessary given my status). The surrounding restaurants are open at 50% capacity but hardly any customers wear masks, even while waiting for a table, even though I believe it is required in this state (NM). At the local Target or supermarket, fewer than 50% of customers are wearing masks. Like you, I live in an area where mask wearing is required and people generally confirm to the rules (DC suburbs in northern Virginia) so this has come as a bit of a shock. I too flew American Airlines and was glad to see the policies enforced; however, at my layover airport (Dallas), only about one third of the people were wearing masks (including the restaurant staff of places that were open!) Needless to say, I won’t be doing any leisure traveling after I return home from this deployment.

  77. You go to Arizona and Utah and you are surprised people are not taking the virus seriously? Arizona and Utah which are both breaking daily records of the number of virus cases they are seeing? You can see even in the comments nonsensical claims like the science says you can’t get the virus from surfaces. That is NOT what the science says, but people push the myth anyways.

  78. [email protected] It’s so pathetic when adults try to wish a virus away or whine because it’s inconvenient to wear a mask. Nobody wants to be in the situation we are in but “wanting things to look normal” doesn’t do anything to change the reality. And wearing a simple surgical mask isn’t that hard. I volunteered at a farmers market yesterday, wore a mask (or rather three of them, since I changed them every three hours) for 8 hours in 93 degrees. It wasn’t that hard. A front desk agent can and should wear masks for the duration of their shift

  79. I took an unavoidable business trip last week. Both Delta and Four Seasons Atlanta did absolutely everything right without being pushy about anything. I trust both now and they have my trust and loyalty. And yes, I do realize I live in a bubble.

  80. I am one that has had Covid 19. I am 65. This has been a very hard experience where I thought I might die. I have no idea how I got the virus. I wear a mask everywhere I went. I used sanitizer and washed my hands diligently. I got the virus from someone else. Probably someone without a mask. When you decide to not wear a mask, you are now saying you could care less if you make someone else sick, as you could carry this virus and not know it.

    To me, not wearing a mask says you do not care about anyone else.

  81. Do you know when these policies were enacted? I’ve stayed at some hotels also and haven’t seen any face mask usage but it was over a month ago.

    I’m also wondering if some of these workers have medical exceptions?

  82. Why should front desk agents wear mask … if there is plexiglass and/or they are a safe distance away? This is all really getting out of hand.

    People keep citing that certain people are used to wearing masks; that it’s not that hard; that it may be a little uncomfortable but what’s the big deal … these comments are really taken out of context:

    OF COURSE, people outside in Vegas aren’t wearing masks. Hello, it’s 105 degrees. Last time I checked, most hospitals are 65 to 69 degrees AND have air flow. If people did wear masks outside in Vegas, the hospitals would be full for sure with stroke victims, etc.

    A LOT of people aren’t ‘comfortable’ to wear masks because of both active and inactive health issues. I have a dear friend with a seizure history; no way in hell she should have to wear a mask. People with mental health challenges DO find them to be more restrictive than an average person, and wearing one triggers anxiety and panic attacks, even and especially when they haven’t had an episode in a while. Someone with claustrophobia is going to have great difficulty wearing a mask.

    Oh, and by the way, the people I describe in the above paragraph, almost all of them AVOID crowds already, anyway. I can see wearing mask if you’re in the middle of Times Square and it’s NYE, but for crying out loud. I was in a Starbuck’s today with two other customers, one of which had her two babies in a dual stroller; a girl 2-3 years old, and a baby about 8 months. The little girl had on a mask, the little baby did not. All I could do was stare. This was SO weird and just wrong and made ZERO sense. There are ZERO cases where children under 3 have had this, and that poor little girl should not have to wear a mask. And if people are going to be all militant about the masks, the baby should have had a mask on, as well, right? Well, if somehow the baby picked up the virus (and remained asymtomatic) it’s now given the virus to probably the sister even with the mask on and the mother, as well.

    Come on, sheeple. This mother and her kids were not near anyone, minded their own business, but had to “conform” or “abide” by the Starbuck’s rules or risk being turned away. Absolutely horrendous.

    Is it potentially polite to wear a mask? Probably. But this mask shaming and this mandating-or-else has to stop. Even on the airlines, they give you a break if you have a preexisting condition, and some people DO need to travel at this time for real purposes, NOT just for recreational.

  83. Masks, like gloves, are worthless. Most people are wearing the same mask for days; never washing or changing them. I’ve said this for years about gloves that restaurant employees wear.

    Regardless, I’m shocking at you essentially tattling about employees on the blog. Did you call the hotel and ask for their response? Did you ask the employees for their side? Maybe some of these employees had medical conditions that prevented them from wearing a mask. Did you consider that?

  84. My wife (Stage 4 cancer & Immuno-compromised) and just finished 10 days driving from Mt. Rushmore to Galcier National park, Montana.

    We stayed at 3 brands each at least twice: Marriott, IHG, and Hilton.
    Each night when we checked in my wife would take her disinfectant wipes and clean all touch areas including light switches, faucets, phones, even the remotes. It would take maybe 5-10 minutes but she slept better doing it. Most hotels had properly masked or sheet plexi separated staff. Most did not have open buffets or other foods available that weren’t sealed or packaged. Granted, Wyoming and Montana are more relaxed, we found some reasonable level of care being taken most places.

    Since many/most restaurants are still take out only we found ourselves in grocery stores often for fruit or sandwiches. ALL stores we stopped at (mostly larger chains) had ALL staff masked. It was quite impressive since some towns had few with masks, yet the stores were 100%.

    Both United and our return on Alaska had full compliance on the planes and at the counters. Some flyers chose not to have masks on while in the waiting areas but once on the planes all complied. Interesting that Seattle airport, THE MOST crowded we were at had the most inconsistent masking we’d seen. Lots of people either didn’t have or didn’t wear them.

    The wife was tested (for a surgery) two days after our return and was found to be uninfected. She’s very careful and also a bit worried, but, as she says…I’m not going to stop living cause of cancer…or covid.

    John & Linda

  85. I stayed at the Intercontinental San Diego this past weekend. I’m a Spire Ambassador and booked a Club IC rate late last year for UCSD commencement. I was expecting a different experience, however I wasn’t expecting to not receive (or be acknowledged) any perks or benefits – elite status meant nothing. The Club IC was closed however I was still charged the Club IC rate! The staff could only blame the state of CA for the regulations they are under, which I understand … However they should at least recognize status still and change Club IC rates to accommodate guests fairly.

  86. @Rav – don’t be ignorant/obtuse…the issue is not wearing masks indoors at casinos in Vegas

    And to you and the (I’m assuming) others on the right who are saying “if you don’t feel comfortable travelling right now, stay home” – it’s funny that you (unironically) attempt to shame Starbucks for only letting people in if they ARE wearing a mask. Guess what? Don’t feel like wearing a mask? Stay home.

  87. @Rav – this isn’t about “I don’t like wearing a mask so I shouldn’t have to wear one”. This is about “there’s an infectious disease that has killed over 100,000 Americans and continues to spread, and you could be a vector and kill other people by not wearing a mask”. So please, wear the mask or stay home.

  88. The hotel brands are making promises they cannot enforce or hope to live up to in an effort to create a perception of safety. Irrespective of one’s views on wearing masks, one has to accept this fact: there are many Americans who will not wear a mask on daily basis. It may be for personal comfort, it may be for a medical reason, it may be to make of political statement, or it may be for some other reason. But, regardless of reason, it is an undeniable truth.

    Once one accepts that reality, one can make one’s own risk assessments and tailor one’s actions accordingly.

  89. Ben, you have been urged on your blog to not be so passive-aggressive in matters such as this, but you persist.
    Of course you should have spoken to the hotel manager to express your concerns, and to inform yourself as to whether stated policy is being flouted, and whether you should escalate you complaint beyond the hotels management.
    Speaking to the room attendant would be pointless, as she/he is unlikely to change their MO, unless they feared disciplinary action by management (unlikely it would appear).
    Ditto for the clipboard supervisor.
    I always decline room servicing for the entire stay, and just get fresh towels and supplies from the attendant if I happen to come across her/him in the hallway. Otherwise, I can cope.
    I understand your anxiety in travelling in the US during this pandemic, and as it is likely to get even worse and last a long time there, you may need to reconsider future travel anywhere.

  90. Maybe my voice was finally heard by AA corporate department after I complained on my recent AA flights. On the first weekend of June, PHL and ORD hubs did not enforce facial masks coverings. From my observation, LGA was in 90% in face mask compliance, followed by 75% MHT, 50% ORD and 25% PHL. But inflight, about 75% of the passengers wore masks that covered both nose and mouth.

    Public announcements were played regularly to remind, but not enforced. None of the inflight crew enforced mask usage. None of the safety demo (on regional carriers) mentioned removing facial masks before putting on the oxygen masks. The planes were also doing a standard turn of less than an hour… which only gave cleaning crew to remove garbage and cater the plane. Unlike DL, AA and their regional carriers did not TAKE TIME BETWEEN EVERY FLIGHT to disinfect or spray fog the plane. None of the crews greeted passengers with single-use disinfecting wipes, nor were middle seats blocked.

  91. @Rav – this isn’t about “I don’t like wearing a mask so I shouldn’t have to wear one”. This is about “there’s an infectious disease that has killed over 100,000 Americans and continues to spread, and you could be a vector and unintentionally kill other people by not wearing a mask”. So please, wear the damn mask or stay home.

  92. I cannot understand why wearing a mask is seen as such a hardship by some people. We are not being asked to wear N95 filter masks all the time(unless you are a nurse or surgeon, or work in many of the other professions that require you wear them for your own safety. @Max those people also wear those masks for their whole workday without a problem). A simple non-N95 has been proven to protect everyone around you if you are ill. This isn’t about personal freedom it’s about protecting the most vulnerable people in our society. If you didn’t wear a mask and only were risking your own health it would be different but the fact that you can be sick and spread this disease without having any symptoms means that when you don’t where a mask you are choosing to put others at risk(not just yourself). How about this-if you don’t want to wear a mask then you stay home.

  93. Remain calm. At least in Hilton’s case, the first of CleanStay brand standards (including require staff to wear masks) do not become compulsory until July 15. Until then, hotels are free to maintain any policy on masks that at least meets state or local executive orders.

  94. Great post, Ben, really appreciate it – doesn’t seem like I’ll be staying in a hotel anytime soon. Also stunned by the idiocy of many commenters above.

  95. I stayed at the Kimpton Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara hotel this weekend and was really impressed with how they’re handling their covid protocols. The same cannot be said about the rest of Santa Barbara however, at least compared to the Bay Area,

  96. Honestly I am really surprised on how badly the hotels are handling the Covid-19 situation. I am in Hong Kong now and every hotel staffs are wearing their masks, even some of the two to three stars hotels. Given the hot and humid weather here, I really don’t think the hotel you quoted there has excuses. I just walked around in Hong Kong on a hot and humid afternoon for over an hour, and while it is not the most pleasant thing to do, I wear my mask. Ultimately, all these hotels have promised many new policies and they are the ones who set the bars high. I don’t care if they are franchised or not. These chains must reinforce these rules even at states, who don’t care about Covid-19. If you can’t fulfill the promises, please don’t send out those emails. All the hotel chains want you to come back but yet they can’t even keep up the normal standard. Maybe they should not send us all these emails. Since I am “stuck” in Hong Kong now, I am not think about any travels. But reading your reviews so far has given me that impression that I don’t really miss out much. As of this point, I just don’t understand why wearing a mask is such a controversial subject. However reading these comments also explain why the number of Covid-19 cases continue to rise and the US can’t get over its first wave. Keep me the good work and stay safe!

  97. @Lucky: You seem to be obsessed with masks. While they provide some protection, there are other measures which are more important, starting with distancing and hand washing. I would be much more worried about those two not being observed than someone not wearing a mask (which, as you say, is often worn incorrectly). There have also been several instances of “fake” masks being distributed, which gives everyone a false sense of security.

  98. To all those folks who commented with some form of, “If you don’t feel comfortable traveling, just stay home,” I’m going to follow your advice. No travel for me until at least 2021.

    Before reading Ben’s accounts of his hotel stays, I had already resolved not to get into any airplanes while the virus is still widespread, but I hadn’t ruled out a driving vacation here in the US. Now I’m ruling that out, too, because of what I’m hearing about the hotels.

  99. I love this blog but you are going to drive yourself crazy worrying. After this will you even ever travel again? I have to think the chances of contracting the virus in a hotel room are almost zero.

  100. Ben you & Ford did the correct thing , One does not buy Class .I think you would have been better off in a B& B .
    during this period of uncertainty. I have used them around the world especially Holland Germany England Belgium Brugge. In FRANCE they are wonderful so personalized indeed .Very superior in countless ways . I know you haft to do your thing with hotels . it’s your profession. being a perfectionist like myself somewhat . For now I Admire your steadfast in wearing a mask .Thanks for your comments on
    American American it meant a lot to me in hearing This .Your blog is the best
    Coming from an airline. Retiree. Love Miami great restaurants ,if need some reference. A New Yorker. You enlightened a lot of people hope your Mother is getting though in wellness Chris

  101. The very compliant countries in Asia where you see high amounts of mask-wearing even prior to corona virus may be due to a higher sense of germ phobia, but likely is also due to societies that highly value the good of the many. From youth they are just raised differently than in countries that have a different value system, praising individual freedoms. You see this in everything from mask-wearing to flagrant and provocative (and frightening) gun toting in public spaces. What you are seeing here is a reflection of the world you live in, no more, no less – expecting a corporation to change that reality is unrealistic, but individual managers certainly have power over their thiefdoms. If you want to see change, speak up – tell those around you to wear masks and complain to management while you are there, only with pressure will their be compliance for any change that is uncomfortable, and it goes without saying to be the example you wish to see, and wear your own mask. For those of you that complain about wearing a mask 8-hours a day, as my husband does, please keep in mind the health care workers pulling double shifts to save the lives of people this infection is killing wearing their masks full time from the moment they step through the doors. If you knew you were keeping just one person out of the hospital, don’t you think that’s worth your discomfort? Try different models till you find one that causes you the least discomfort in your particular activities and wear it when you think you might be within 10′ of someone else indoors. I’m wearing mine, and I’ve already had it and come out the other end. The more of us that wear them, the more people we influence to wear them.

  102. “For the travel industry to recover we need two things:
    (a) It needs to actually be safe to travel (everyone will have a different opinion of what that looks like)
    (b) Travel brands need to convince us that they’re taking precautions to keep us safe.”

    I disagree. Most people I know actually want a normal experience when travelling for fun, and actually need to be convinced that the place they travel to has as little restrictions as possible. For me a place I would feel comfortable in is not a place in which you would feel comfortable in.

  103. Why would anyone think that the same big chains that fail to get franchised properties to provide standardized elite benefits or an actual breakfast benefit can’t get them to comply with their marketing-driven coronavirus cleaning and safety protocols?

  104. First, @Wilhelm while I don’t want to discourage anyone from frequent hand washing there is increasing scientific evidence that short of a vaccine, face masks are the most effective method at stopping the spread of Covid 19 as airborne respiratory transmission seems to be much more significant than surface to person transmission. ( Distancing is also critical but that’s not always possible especially when traveling. In fact, six feet is probably insufficient in an enclosed space with poor air circulation.

    Second, while I can’t speak for any hotel chains, I’m in “corporate” for a large restaurant system and I happen to be on our Covid response task force that has been developing safety protocols – including mandatory mask wearing – for our restaurants. We have taken this incredibly seriously and have made significant investments in PPE and other safety solutions, but with thousands of locations around the world it’s very challenging to ensure 100% compliance. In general, the reports we have of non-compliance are the minority (which based on the comments here may not be the case with hotels) but I believe these hotel corporate parents are trying to do the right thing as we are. We welcome reports of non-compliance and I imagine these hotel chains would as well. It sometimes feels like playing whack a mole, but if we don’t know about a problem we can’t fix it.

    Finally, it’s beyond frustrating that somehow mask wearing has been turned into a political issue. While not everyone commenting here may agree on the importance of mask wearing, I bet we can all agree that (1) we want things to get back to normal as soon as possible and (2) since we’re all here we all want to be able to travel like we used to again. Guess what: the numbers in the US don’t lie. Without placing blame, our collective failure to take this seriously and make minor sacrifices like wearing a mask where adequate social distancing isn’t possible, is the one thing that will prevent us from getting back to normal without a vaccine. And for those that love to travel – again presumably everyone on here – while other parts of the world start to open up as they flatten their curves by doing things like widespread use of masks, don’t be surprised if those same countries make it very difficult/impossible for Americans to visit until we get our act together.

  105. @Ben, if the hotel staff are required to wear masks for the protection of the guests, did you reciprocate? Should that be required of the guests traveling in from all over the country and the world to protect the staff?

  106. This is why I like booking hotels through . I can evaluate cleanliness and other qualities based on REAL guest stays before I book . Guests can only write a report if they booked through the online agent and stayed there . Unlike TripAdvisor where anyone can write a good or bad report .

  107. From a hotel employees perspective, for the love of God, please let us know if you have an issue or concern with your stay, when the issue arises! We genuinely want your experience with us to be as pleasant as possible, but what can we do if you, the guest, will not give us the opportunity to correct problems?

    It has always driven me nuts that guests will not say anything about issues or concerns until they checkout, and then what can we do?

    Again, please let us know, when we can do something to fix it.

  108. I work for a hotel and sadly the truth is that they are skimping on cleanliness. Since the beginning on COVID-19 in March, hotels had to lay off and furlough over 50% of their staff. The main people running the hotels are now the managers that were not laid off. There are not enough Housekeepers and they are being given more rooms then normal.

    With the pandemic and cleanliness concerns on the rise, companies are saying that they will implement this actions and they will try to, but the truth is that is will not be done well. What should happen is they should bring back more employees, train them on the new guidelines, and teach them why we are doing it. Training and more staff is money that these companies are not willing to invest. They are only counting the pennies from the revenue and loss that they are dealing with at the moment.

    For all travelers I strongly recommend: Request all new linens and towels at check in, carry Lysol wipes with you, and if your hotel is near a hospital, request to not receive cleaning service. Cross contamination from guests is possible while cleaning rooms and there are a lot of hospital patients that stay at hotels.

  109. OMFG, some of these responses are so ridiculous. This is a TRAVEL BLOG. He literally is giving you and all readers FREE, honest insight into travel. i, for one, thank you and every reporter providing what its like to travel. im similar age, single, cooped up and have what, missed out on 2-4 weeks of travel so as im planning road trips or thinking of staycations in nearby towns or cities, these blogs are helpful.

    people are such morons.

    Thank you for your reporting and doing what you do.

  110. I am in Boston, MA and decided to rent a room at a B&B about 3 hours North (NH White mountains region) for July 4th weekend. I have also decided to bring Lysol with me and go over all the touch surfaces in my room. I know it sounds ridiculous & most people would say “stay home” but I need to get out of the city for a few days- lack of sleep (fireworks), racial tensions and the likes are literally forcing me somewhere else for peace & quiet. After 4 months I need a mental break. The Inn I booked has some incredibly strict procedures in place written- I hope they practice what they preach. I wear a mask everywhere when outside my home and change it regularly. I have read each of your posts during your travels and do not believe you are unreasonable at all. I also do not believe that we should be forced to stay home & not travel- if society would use some common sense and common courtesy we may get on the other side of this. This article makes me feel confident in my choice to pack a tube of wipes.

  111. Definitely are not….consistently anyways.
    I’ve been to spotless Holiday Inn’s and gross Hyatt Regency’s to slightly dirty Marriott’s to pristine Fairfield Inn’s.

  112. Tru by Hilton in Denver Downtown last week. No housekeeping at all regardless of the length of your stay. You get paper bag with 1 apple and a prepackaged muffin instead of advertised free breakfast. Room had debris and dirt on the floor, not even vacuumed. Bathroom soap/shampoo dispensers were not refilled. Hallways looked like homeless people camped there – full of trash, pizza boxes and empty bottles. Every dog weared a mask though and also barked from behind plexiglass on every guest who didn’t have it fitted properly. They better be out cleaning their hotel..

  113. I just did a road trip in the west of US staying at 7 different chain hotels, mostly hyatt and holiday inn express properties.

    At pretty much every single hotel I saw staff, especially housekeeping staff, not wearing a mask.

    Most front desk staff were wearing one. Based on this, I think it is safe to assume that the vast majority of hotels will not have housekeeping staff wearing masks when cleaning rooms, even if they claim otherwise.

  114. I’ve stayed in 3 different Marriott properties since the pandemic began. I also saw employees not wearing masks in all 3 properties. As a matter of fact, it was more common to see them not wearing masks vs. wearing. At one property, Fairfield Inn, the brown bag breakfast option was given upon request when I inquired about the breakfast. At Aloft, the bar area stayed quite busy each night with no social distancing or masks.

  115. I have stayed at all types of Hilton hotels on my way across the country to get a surgery I need. That was a big mistake. They barely wear masks and the none of the people that clean your room wear a mask. Today, in Black Mountain, the maintenance guy walked into the laundry room with his mask covering just his chin. Also, the elevators smell like smoke (from the people that go out front). That also means all of the particles that were in the lungs stay in the elevators for a long time. I have been taking the stairs but I had to ride it to carry in my luggage. I thought this would be safer than flying. Big mistake.

    Hotels should have their elevator doors open when not being used. People cleaning your room should wear a mask. Just follow what the CDC says, what is the big deal?

  116. Stayed at the Marriott Springdale last night and it was the same situation. Walked in and the front desk employee was not wearing his mask.

    Stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Arvada/ Denver tonight and both front desk employees were not wearing masks. Then a customer comes in wearing no mask and walks right by them (and by the giant sign that insists that “It’s The Law!” that masks must be worn at all times when indoors in the state of Colorado). Both employees said nothing about his lack of masks. They did greet him with a friendly “Hi.”

  117. Your commentary still rings true today (October 2020). We are a military family traveling on official orders (for everyone saying that no one is forcing you to take a trip, I was forced to take this trip).

    I have a family member from a vulnerable population so this is important to me. I’ve also had relatives die of COVID and suffer long term effects from it. I certainly don’t want to roll the dice on seeing what the virus will do to me or my family.

    I made the mistake of booking through corporate hotels expecting that they would follow their own COVID policies and state mandates but most didn’t, particularly in rural areas.

    Once we get to our new duty station, if we choose to travel, we will do only AirBnB.

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