Hotel Rooms Become Gathering Spots, Putting Staff and Other Guests at Risk

Councilor Lydia Edwards (District 1) proposed support to hotel employees in daily sanitization of hotel rooms during the ongoing pandemic at the Boston City Council weekly meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

Hotels are opening more rooms under the Massachusetts COVID-19 reopening plan.

Under Governor Charlie Baker’s safety standards for hotels, frequent cleaning and disinfecting of common areas and other high transit spaces are required. Councilor Edwards argued that guest rooms should also be treated as “common areas” subjected to daily sanitization in an effort to protect guests and staff.

“The fact is the hotel industry has changed,” stated Councilor Edwards. “People are staying in their rooms longer. They’re actually congregating and having parties and inviting people over to their hotel rooms versus using the conference rooms or other common areas throughout the hotels or throughout the complex.”

According to Councilor Edwards, Boston hotel workers have noticed an increase in guests congregating in their hotel rooms while public gatherings at restaurants and other meeting areas remain limited.

The concern is that, as the Commonwealth continues to reopen, tourism and returning students will begin to occupy the City’s hotels. Without daily sanitization practices in place for guest rooms, the risk of contracting COVID-19 becomes a greater threat to hotel staff and guests.

“Our hotel workers, they deserve better than this and our hoteliers know better than this,” criticized Councilor Michael Flaherty (At-Large).

Councilor Ed Flynn (District 2) said hotel operators are being “cute” in their dealings with the current pandemic as a way to save money by not appropriately protecting its employees.