As governors and state public health agencies begin to finalize COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans for the next phase, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) is calling on governors and state public health agencies to include hotel employees for inclusion in phase “1b” of the vaccination rollout.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many hotel workers have remained on the front lines working to support frontline emergency and healthcare workers across the nation. Through AHLA’s Hospitality for Hope Initiative, the hotel industry is continuing to provide temporary housing for emergency and healthcare workers so they may stay closer to their hospital or medical center. Additionally, many hotels across the nation are now serving as places to quarantine for individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Hotel employees also continue to be on the front lines for interstate travelers, which also adds an exposure risk.
“Hotel employees also remain on the frontlines, and each day that they come to work, they welcome both global and domestic travelers increasing their likelihood of contracting the virus. While hotels have protocols in place to ensure limited contact between employees and guests, prioritizing employees with access to the vaccine would provide another layer of protection,” wrote Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA, in a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, chair of the National Governors Association, and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, vice chair. “As an industry of people taking care of people, the hotel industry has taken steps to support and strengthen the community during this public health crisis. We ask that the employees who power our industry are prioritized during phase 1b of the vaccine rollout.”