By Caroline Morse Teel
If you’re going to travel during the pandemic, there are things you can do to help reduce your risk. Follow these simple steps to make your hotel stay during COVID-19 as safe as possible.
Chose a hotel that’s following enhanced safety protocols
Your safety strategy starts before you book. Do some research before making a reservation to make sure that your hotel is following enhanced safety protocols (like stepping up sanitation in common areas, enforcing mask-wearing, and making check-in contactless). If the hotel doesn’t seem to be taking the pandemic seriously, it’s best to take your business elsewhere.
Keep following best practices
Don’t relax your guard just because you’re on vacation. Follow the same general COVID-19 safety tips that you practice in your daily life while you’re at the hotel. The three most important things you can do are:
— Maintain 6 feet of distance from other people
— Wear a mask
— Wash your hands frequently, especially after checking-in/checking out, as soon as you enter your hotel room, after handling cash/credit cards, and before eating.
Open your window
If you can, open the window in your hotel room to let in fresh air — especially if you’re sharing a room with someone outside of your normal bubble. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Ventilation is an important factor in preventing the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading. Recirculated air from split air conditioning units, fan coils or any system that runs with a recirculation mode should be avoided where possible, unless in a single occupancy room with no one else present. If recirculation is unavoidable, increase outdoor air exchange by opening windows, if possible and safe to do so, and minimize air blowing from one person directly at another.
Floor or ceiling fans can provide ventilation when the people occupying the room are from the same household but are not recommended when travelers from different households are together.”
Wipe down high-touch areas in your room
Pack some sanitizing wipes and give the high-touch areas in your room a thorough cleaning. These virus hotspots include light switches, sinks, toilet flush, phones, remotes and doorknobs. Make sure you saturate the surface that you are wiping down in order to completely kill any germs.
Avoid shared spaces
Ask for a room on a lower floor and opt to take the stairs over the elevator to avoid being in a confined space. Skip using the hotel gym, pool or other shared amenities if other guests are present and social distancing is not possible.
Request a room that’s been unoccupied
COVID-19 can live on certain surfaces for up to three days. Hotel rooms should be cleaned thoroughly enough in between guests that surface transmission shouldn’t be an issue, however, to be extra cautious it’s best to ask for a room that’s been empty for the day or two before you check-in. Most hotels aren’t operating at full capacity these days and should be happy to accommodate your request.
Opt for room service
Indoor dining, even with tables spaced out, is considered a higher-risk activity by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reduce your risk by ordering room service or bringing back takeout to your room for meals instead of eating in the hotel restaurant.
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