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The American Hotel & Lodging Association is reporting “hotels are uniquely positioned to help with vaccine rollout.” Here’s why:
√ Geographic reach: With more than 50,000 hotels in every state, including properties located in cities, suburbs, and rural communities, AHLA said hotels have the geographic reach to support a wide distribution of the vaccine.
√ Available Capacity and Operate 24/7: AHLA said hotels have private rooms, meeting rooms, conference and ball rooms as well as outside areas, so they are equipped for 24-hour operations to allow for round-the-clock vaccination administration. “This will also ensure there is adequate space to maintain physical distancing, capacity limits and other safety protocols. Further, as hotels are currently running at less than 50% occupancy rates, families or individuals who might be traveling to receive the vaccine will have access to comfortable and flexible lodging options should they need.”
√ Comprehensive cleanliness protocols: AHLA said the industry has also adopted AHLA’s “Safe Stay,” “an enhanced cleaning initiative that builds on the hotel industry’s longstanding commitment and operations procedures to ensure the safety of guests during the ongoing public health crisis.”
√ Infrastructure: AHLA said hotels also offer ample parking and are often accessible from major transportation networks, including highways and public transportation routes. “Hotels also have outdoor capabilities that can provide safe, weather-proof vaccination services where parking lots could be utilized for vaccination administration, similar to drive-thru testing sites.”
√ Refrigeration Capabilities: AHLA said that, with many hotels being temperature controlled and the majority of hotels having refrigeration capabilities to store vaccines, “issues concerning vaccine storage will be limited or can be quickly addressed to meet the requirements necessary for safe and effective vaccine storage.”
AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers said, “Since the start of the pandemic, our industry has been on the frontlines to support national public health and safety priorities. AHLA launched the ‘Hospitality for Hope’ initiative in early 2020, identifying more than 20,000 hotels willing to provide temporary housing for emergency and health care workers during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The initiative identified a total combined 2.3 million rooms located in close proximity to established health care 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 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.’ The industry looks forward to continuing this work in partnership with the public and private sector to support this next phase of recovery.”