Guidelines & Standards For Massachusetts Hotels, Motels, AirBNBs Re-Opening in Phase II

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BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration provided an update on the Re-opening Massachusetts plan and preparations for Phase II.

The Administration will determine the start of Phase II on June 6.

On Monday, Governor Charlie Baker will issue an executive order with a detailed list of sectors that fall into each phase.

The order will allow Phase II businesses to bring back employees in preparation for re-opening. 

The Administration today issued workplace safety standards for lodging.

These workplace specific safety standards are organized around four distinct categories covering Social Distancing, Hygiene Protocols, Staffing and Operations and Cleaning and Disinfecting.

Hotels, motels and other lodging businesses will be allowed to expand their operations in Phase II.

Lodging safety standards apply to all forms of lodging including hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, short term residential rentals including Airbnb and VRBO.

Event spaces, like ballrooms and meeting rooms, will remain closed.

On-site restaurants, pools, gyms, spas, golf courses and other amenities at lodging sites may operate only as these categories are authorized to operate in accordance with the phased re-opening plan.

Lodging operators also must inform guests of the Commonwealth’s policy urging travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days when arriving from out-of-state.



Social Distancing

Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between individuals unless this creates a safety hazard:

  • Close or reconfigure worker and guest common spaces and high-density areas where workers or guests are likely to congregate (e.g., break rooms, eating areas, sitting areas, business centers, concierge service areas, lobbies/front desk check-in) to allow 6 feet of physical distancing
  • Redesign office spaces, work stations or cubicles, if possible, to ensure workspaces allow for at least six feet of physical distancing
  • Physical partitions must separate workstations that cannot be spaced out; partitions must be at least 6 feet tall
  • Arrange for separation of 6 feet or more for guests during check in and check out times by installing separation markers on floor and otherwise limiting opportunities for crowding in lobby and front desk areas
  • Establish directional hallways and passageways for foot traffic if possible, to minimize contact among persons in transit.  Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies

Face coverings are required for all workers and guests when inside hallways and common areas, except when an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability

Guests should enter through doors that are either propped open, if possible, or are automated or manually operated by a worker that is frequently handwashing and/or using proper hand sanitizer

Prohibit gatherings of 10 or more workers during work hours

Limit the number of individuals riding in an elevator and ensure the use of face coverings. Use signage to communicate these requirements

Require workers to avoid handshakes and similar greetings that break physical distance

Workers should not open the doors of cars or taxis. Valet parking operations should be avoided unless necessary due to physical or geographic constraints in order to accommodate individual guests with disabling conditions

Recommended best practices

Improve ventilation for enclosed spaces where possible (e.g., open doors and windows)

Encourage contactless payment methods

Hygiene Protocols

Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, and allow sufficient break time for workers to wash hands frequently; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative

Supply workers at workplace location with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer, disinfecting wipes)

Require that workers wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently

Provide hand sanitizer in public areas throughout the facility for guest and worker use

Limit sharing of handheld equipment, phones, desks, workstations, and other tools and equipment between workers to the extent possible

Any shared equipment should be sanitized before, during and after each shift or anytime the equipment is transferred to a worker

Post visible signage throughout the site (front and back of the house) to remind workers and guests of the hygiene and safety protocols

Discontinue the use of shared food and beverage equipment in lobbies (including shared coffee brewers). Close manually operated ice machines or use hands free machines

Recommended best practices

Consider installing portable high-efficiency air cleaners, upgrading the building’s air filters to the highest efficiency possible, and making other modifications to increase the quantity of outside air and ventilation in offices, guest rooms, and other spaces

Staffing and Operations

Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission, including

  • Social distancing, hand-washing, proper use of face coverings
  • Self-screening at home, including temperature and symptom checks
  • Reinforce that workers who are sick may not appear for work
  • When to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe
  • Which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting and suffering from a severe case of the virus

Adjust workplace hours and shifts (working teams with different schedules or staggered arrival / departure) to minimize contact across workers and reduce congestion

Permit breaks outside to enable social distancing, if possible

Stagger staff meal and break times, regulate the maximum number of people in one place, and ensure at least 6 feet of physical distancing

Adjust training and onboarding process to allow for social distancing, conduct remotely if possible

Daily pre-shift meetings should be conducted virtually or in areas that allow social distancing

Minimize shared touch surfaces such as kiosks, tablets, pens, credit cards, receipts and keys

Guest room service, laundry and dry-cleaning services, and amenity deliveries should be made available using contactless pick-up and delivery protocols

No buffets or self-service areas with multi-use items are allowed

Limit interaction between workers and outside visitors or delivery; implement touchless receiving when possible

Maintain a log of workers and guests to support contact tracing (name, date, time, contact information) if needed

Remove non-essential amenities (guest-facing water or coffee, coat rooms etc.) from public locations

Remove or limit paper amenities in guest rooms. Remove pen, paper and guest directory, magazines and brochures; supplement with digital material or make materials available upon request

If the employer is notified of a positive case at the workplace, the employer shall notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) in the city or town where the workplace is located and work with them to trace likely contacts in the workplace and advise workers to isolate and self-quarantine. Testing of other workers may be recommended consistent with guidance and / or at the request of the LBOH

Post notice to workers and customers of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplace

Recommended best practices

Workers who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control (e.g., due to age or underlying conditions) are encouraged to stay home

Encourage workers to self-identify symptoms or any close contact to a known or suspected COVID-19 case to the employer

Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19 to disclose to the workplace employer for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contact tracing

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Conduct frequent cleaning and disinfection within all common areas of the lodging site (multiple times a day if the lodging site has multiple guest rooms)

Practice enhanced room sanitation by cleaning and sanitizing all hard surfaces at a minimum each time a guest checks out and before the next guest is admitted, and laundering all linens, bedspreads and covers

Dirty linens should be removed and transported from guest rooms in single-use, sealed bags, and pillow protectors on the guest room beds should be changed in between guests at a minimum.  Bagging of these items should be done in the guest room to eliminate excess contact while being transported. All bed linen and laundry should be washed at a high temperature and cleaned in accordance with CDC guidelines

Following each departure, consider leaving guest rooms vacant for 24 hours as part of cleaning protocol to allow for deep cleaning, disinfectant and cleaners to dry, and reasonable air exchange

Housekeeping should not enter a guest room while the guest is physically present within the room except at the guests specific request; Housekeeping must otherwise only service rooms when guests are not present and minimize contact with guest personal belongings; Housekeepers should open the doors and windows when possible to increase air circulation

Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning

Conduct frequent disinfecting of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, rolling carts, bathrooms)

In the event that a guest presents a presumptive case of COVID-19 or a positive case, the room used by that guest may only be returned to service after undergoing an enhanced sanitization protocol, in accordance with CDC guidelines

Recommended best practices

Consider providing cleaning “kits” (portable containers with cleaning supplies) accessible throughout the hotel for areas that will be cleaned periodically throughout the day

For full lodging guidance, click here.


Photo courtesy of Sheraton


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