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Best practices for hotels during coronavirus 

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Disclaimer: On July 24, 2020, the state eased restriction for fitness centers. Fitness centers can now have 5 people at a time in Phase 2 and can operate at 25 percent capacity in Phase 3.

These are not to be confused with official mandates. These are best practices provided by a team of hotel owners – you should always consult with your attorney or legal counsel every step of the way as you consider your options. 


  • Screen employees for signs/symptoms of coronavirus at start of shift. Make sure sick employees stay home or immediately go home if they feel or appear sick. Cordon off any areas where an employee with probable or confirmed coronavirus illness worked, touched surfaces, etc. until the area and equipment is cleaned and sanitized. Follow the cleaning guidelines set by the CDC to deep clean and sanitize. 
  • Educate workers in the language they understand best about coronavirus and how to prevent transmission and the employer’s coronavirus policies. 
  • Educate employees on proper respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes and not touching eyes, noses, or mouths with unwashed hands or gloves. 
  • Maintain minimum six-foot separation between all employees and customers, in all interactions at all times. When strict physical distancing is not feasible for a specific task, other prevention measures are required such as the use of barriers, minimize staff or customers in narrow or enclosed areas, stagger breaks, and work shifts.  
  • Refer to Coronavirus Facial Covering and Mask Requirements for additional details. A cloth facial covering is described in the Department of Health guidance.
  • Promote frequent hand washing by employees and guests, e.g., reminder signs (multiple languages to broaden guest communication).   
  • Provide alcohol-based hands-free rubs/swipes and or sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol in public areas, e.g., vending / ice machines on hotel floors.   
  • Require employees to stay home if they are sick.   
  • Require guests and staff to wear masks. 
  • Discourage employees from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible.   
  • All tools and shared supplies (mops, vacuums, hammers, wrenches, spray bottles, etc.) are to be sanitized at the end of each shift and/or prior to another associate’s use. 
  • Establish policies to reduce contact in employee break rooms; installing plastic dividers or other safety barriers.
  • With larger staffs, use communication boards to or digital messaging to convey preshift meeting information. 

Common Area Cleaning 

Fitness Centers and Pools 

  • Encourage 50% capacity and require signage and have the doors under lock and key so you may regulate activity. 
  • Increase chemical testing of pool and hot tub. 
  • Consider suspending the availability of shared hotel facilities or limiting the number of people within the facility at one time. Ensure guests are made aware of any closures or restrictions ahead of time (i.e. during check-in). 
  • Have readilyavailable sanitizing wipes to wipe down equipment 
  • Take a shower in warm water, not cold or lukewarm water, before and after swimming is recommended. 
  • Keep towels, swimwear and normal clothes for changing in lockers or sealable bags. 

Common access public areas 

  • EXAMPLES INCLUDE: Countertops, credit card machines, luggage racks, business centers, marketplaces, entrant/exit doors, elevator buttons, telephones, business center, coffee stations, microwave, mini-fridge. 
  • Post cleaning schedules to show guests that areas are being properly cleaned 
  • Signage of best practices from CDC, World Health Organizationstate and local health department.  These include visual graphics and written text. 
  • Consider cleaning and disinfecting all hand contact surfaces every 2-4 hours at minimum. 
  • Implement procedures to increase cleaning and sanitizing frequency of surfaces in the back-of-house. Avoid all food contact surfaces when using disinfectants.   
  • Check restrooms regularly and clean and sanitize based on frequency of use.   
  • Make hand sanitizer readily available to guests. Consider touchless hand sanitizing solutions. 
  • Remove / reduce customer service phones in common areas.   
  • Provide tissues and additional trash receptacles in public areas.   
  • Increase spacing between common area seating/work stations.  
  • Elevator has sanitizing wipes by the entrance. Encourage applying protective wrap of elevator buttons. 
  • Consider signage that urges reduced elevator occupancy, preferably limiting rides to 1-2 people or limit to family household. Encourage masks if six-foot distances can’t be maintained. 

Room Cleaning Practices 

  • Room Clean Seal (Stickers) 
  • Housekeeping carts to be sanitized each night/day before restocking 
  • Remove all decorative throws and pillows.  

Occupied rooms/Checkout cleaning (Anticipate cleaning to take more time) 

  • If a guest is still in the room, housekeeping acknowledges guest(s) that they are departing and moving onto the next room.  
  • All guest room items (i.e. remote controls, telephones, etc.) will be sanitized in our daily housekeeping cleaning service. 
  • Only approved chemicals or equivalent products (which have the approved EPA codes to be used against coronavirus) – and rags to be used in cleaning. Hotels may use existing vendors. 
  • The same disposable gloves cannot be used for loading used linen/terry and clean linen/terry. 
  • Removing of honor bars, snacks and in-room coffee makers within the room. 
  • Encourage bulk amenities for cleaning products for easy sanitizing. 
  • Make guest directory available electronically. 

Unoccupied rooms 

  • All clean and ready guest rooms are to be inspected and electrostatically misted/fogged (or other approved device) before guest arrival.   
  • For hotels experiencing low occupancy, consider shutting down unused floors or wings of the hotel to conserve energy and cleaning labor. If possible, integrate a deep clean process in those unoccupied rooms, and begin to cycle in the deep cleaned rooms while closing off another section of the hotel to repeat the same process. 
  • If available, allow 72 hours between room stays.  

Hotel check-in and out 

  • Use technological solutions where possible to reduce person-to-person interaction: mobile ordering; mobile access to location amenities and benefits to plan-in-advance; text on arrival; contactless payment options. 
  • Increase the length of time between vacancy and cleaning rooms. 
  • Provide face shields for front desk. 
  • Space markers on the floor to keep the six-foot distance. 

Food safety 

Currently all members follow official reopening guidelines if they have restaurants or dining service in their operation. You can download our ready-to-serve restaurant reopening guide, which details the legal requirements and official orders as well as best practices, by clicking here.

Meeting rooms    

  • Under current Washington state guidance for Phase 2 only groups of five persons are permitted to meet. Please keep this in mind for all meetings until further guidance is given.
  • Comply with federal, state, provincial and municipal requirements.    
  • All chairs, tables, equipment sanitized after each use.    
  • Notepads/pens upon request only – sanitize pens after each use.    
  • Provide bottled water.    
  • Prepackaged meals and snacks upon request.    
  • Hand sanitizing station, or sanitizing wipes, available inroom  


These best practices were gathered from a panel consisting of:

Lynnelle Caudill, Managing Director , Davenport Hotels, 20 years experience as managing director

Taran Patel, MBA | Managing Principal of A-1 Hospitality Group, second-generation hotelier

Juergen Oswald, General Manager of the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, has been in the industry since 1992

Tiffany Turner, CEO of Adrift Hospitality, has owned and operated her brand since 2004

Tom Wolf, General Manager of Hyatt Regency – Seattle, 35 year veteran of Hyatt who began as reservations clerk