Travel industry releases new coronavirus-related health and safety guidelines

Expect socially distant check-ins, employee health screenings and more sanitizing stations

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The U.S. travel industry on Monday released new guidelines for hospitality workers meant to keep employees and customers safe as more states start to loosen restrictions on stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A passenger, left, checks in with an agent at the ticketing counter for Frontier Airlines at Denver International Airport, Sunday, May 3, 2020, in Denver during the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Hospitality leaders in hotels, resorts, airports, airlines, restaurants and more developed health and safety measures for the industry to carry out in a document titled “Travel in the New Normal” based on instructions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, White House guidelines and health experts.

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The travel industry has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus crisis with some eight million jobs lost as of May 1 with the travel-related economic devastation projected to be nine times worse than 9/11.

Here are the highlights from the guidelines outlined in the report:

Redesigning business layout with social distance in mind 

Travel businesses are advised to create physical barriers in their public spaces to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. That could mean installing transparent screens to provide social distance during interactions with customers and employees and also having employees utilize personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves when interacting with guests.

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Contactless technology  

The travel industry suggests non-contact payment solutions for things like hotel check-ins or food ordering in addition to electronic ticketing for events or excursions.

Sanitizing stations 

Sanitizing stations should be provided throughout the hotel, restaurant or place of service so guests can clean their hands more frequently when hand-washing is not immediately available.

Promote health screenings 

Employers should implement health screenings for workers under the guidelines, requiring employees to monitor their health.

The guidelines also encourage employers to follow a set of procedures aligned with CDC guidance should an employee test positive for COVID-19 and update sick leave policies to allow employees the flexibility to stay home if they need to self isolate.

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