On Thursday, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) sent a letter to the Biden Administration transition team, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Governors Association (NGA), Operation Warp Speed, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors offering hotel properties as vaccine administration sites across the country.
“Since the start of the pandemic, our industry has been on the frontlines to support national public health and safety priorities,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO, AHLA. “AHLA launched the Hospitality for Hope initiative in early 2020, identifying more than 20,000 hotels willing to provide temporary housing for emergency and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The initiative identified a total combined 2.3 million rooms located in close proximity to established healthcare facilities for frontline workers to use as they worked around the clock to save lives and provide lodging for those exposed to COVID to quarantine safely. With the next phases of vaccination distribution underway, hotels have the unique capability to help provide additional locations to assist with the administration of the vaccine.”
As the letter outlines, hotels are uniquely positioned to help with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. With more than 50,000 hotels located in every state, including properties in cities, suburbs, and rural communities, hotels have the geographic reach to support a wide distribution of the vaccine. Hotels also have private rooms, meeting rooms, conference and ballrooms, and outside areas as well as 24-hour operations to allow for round-the-clock vaccine administration, which would ensure adequate space to maintain physical distancing, capacity limits, and other safety protocols. Further, as hotels are currently running at less than 50 percent occupancy rates, families or individuals who might be traveling to receive the vaccine will have access to lodging options if needed. With the industry’s adoption of AHLA’s Safe Stay guidelines, hotels already have operations procedures in place to ensure the safety of guests during this ongoing public health crisis.
The letter also noted that hotels have the infrastructure to serve as vaccine administration sites. Properties typically offer ample parking and are often accessible from major transportation networks, including highways and public transportation routes. Many hotels are temperature-controlled and the majority have refrigeration capabilities, so issues concerning vaccine storage could be quickly addressed to meet the necessary requirements.
“As an industry, we have always stepped up to help our neighbors and communities in a time of need, including early on in the pandemic through Hospitality for Hope,” Rogers continued. “The industry looks forward to continuing this work in partnership with the public and private sector to support this next phase of recovery.”