Many hotels globally have banished amenities such as minibars, coffee stations, and breakfast buffets in the face of the coronavirus. As the landscape changes, they have adopted new safety measures such as checking the temperatures of arriving guests and upping their sanitation efforts.
The Four Seasons Hotel in New York City is one of the first in America to adopt to "the new normal." Check-ins and check-outs are performed virtually, according to NBC News, with no human-to-human contact. There's also no room service and elevator rides are limited to one person. The hotel's restaurant, bar, and complimentary coffee station are closed indefinitely.
However, the hotel does offer pre-made boxed meals from an industrial-sized refrigerator in the lobby. The Four Seasons also has removed minibars, excess hangers, and linens, so there are fewer surfaces on which germs might spread. Each room is deep cleaned by a crew with hazmat suits before housekeeping enters to prepare the room for the next guest.
"Currently, there is no housekeeping per se during a guest's stay," Dr. Robert Quigley, senior vice president of International SOS, told NBC News. Four Seasons hired the group to make sure its property follows the safety guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Here in New York we're leading the charge, but now the phone is ringing off the hook with calls from hotels all over the place."
Hilton, which recently pledged to provide up to 1 million medical workers with hotel rooms, is encouraging guests to use their phones to check in and select their room, and to access their rooms digitally. They're offering single-serve breakfast options with a team member serving guests instead of allowing them to help themselves.
Two nurses staff the front entrance of the Four Seasons armed with thermometers. Everyone who enters — employees and guests alike — has their temperature taken. Those who have a fever are denied entry.
According to Travel & Leisure, hotels around the world are also updating their policies during the pandemic by waiving cancellation fees and increasing their cleaning protocols and safety practices.
"Now more than ever, safety is important to hotels," Quigley told NBC News.
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