WASHINGTON (March 4, 2020) – Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), today joined leaders from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Travel Association, Airlines for America, and the National Retail Federation to discuss the potential impact of COVID-19 and the business community is responding.
Rogers underscored the hotel industry’s commitment to the health and safety of our employees and guests, and encouraged travelers to follow CDC guidance on COVID-19 while recognizing that domestic travel is still possible.
“I want to reiterate how critically important the health and safety of our guests and employees is to us as an association and to each and every one of our members,” said Rogers. “As someone who is on the road, all the time, my plans to travel next week are not changing. America’s hotel industry remains open and ready to serve our guests.”
Rogers delivered these remarks at a press conference at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The following is the full text of Rogers’ prepared remarks:
Good morning, on behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the more 8.3 million associates working or supporting the hotel industry, thank you for joining us today and thank you to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for convening this important event.
Like those joining us today, we are following the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation and engaging closely with government agencies within the Administration such as DHS and CDC in order to provide our members with the most updated information and resources.
We remain deeply committed to the health and safety of the millions of guests that frequent our hotels every day and millions of employees who work in them every day.
At times like these, it can be easy to fall prey to panic. But that is why we must stick to the facts. As this public health issue unfolds, it is incumbent upon all of us in the business community to do just that. I want to be clear: U.S. government officials have clearly said risk here in the U.S. remains low, and there are currently no restrictions to travel anywhere in the U.S.
While we are monitoring this situation as closely as we can, as all of you are, there are currently a low number of cases of COVID-19. We know there are currently many more thousands of cases of the flu. Unfortunately, that is still a much greater threat to Americans today. And we encourage the same set of precautions for anyone at home or traveling. While we remain vigilant about the cases being reported, we urge businesses and consumers to understand that travel is still possible.
In our industry, hotels have protocols in place to deal with everything from the common cold to the flu. Hotels are cleaned each and every day. Currently, our members are working with industry experts to make adjustments to those protocols as needed, such as increasing the frequency of cleaning common spaces and supplying additional sanitizer stations with a minimum alcohol content of 60-90%.
We continue to raise awareness about the common-sense practices that are standard for a typical flu season such as frequent washing of hands. The risk of contracting the virus is low for most Americans if you follow appropriate guidance.
Hotels have long been prepared to deal with public health instances like this, whether it’s Norovirus or H1N1. Thankfully, we have protocols and procedures in place that align with the latest guidance we continue to receive from the CDC.
I want to reiterate how critically important the health and safety of our guests and employees is to us as an association and to each every one of our members. The response to health concerns does require us all to take some action. However, over-reacting out of fear may be just as bad as taking no precautions at all. As someone who is on the road, all the time, my plans to travel next week are not changing. America’s hotel industry remains open and ready to serve our guests.