Hotel Groups File Lawsuit Against San Francisco

Hotel advocacy groups in California have filed a lawsuit against San Francisco over a new ordinance that allegedly endangers hotel employees and guests while forcing other properties to remain closed.

The Hotel Council of San Francisco, the California Hotel and Lodging Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Association claim the legislation passed on July 17 puts hotel employees at a higher risk of exposure to coronavirus.

Hospitality industry advocates believe new rules would also delay the return of employees to work and add costly and unnecessary cleaning requirements, which are not being enforced in any other public buildings.

“This harmful ordinance left us no option but to defend the safety and well-being of our 25,000 San Francisco employees and our valued hotel guests,” Hotel Council of San Francisco CEO Kevin Carroll said. “This dangerous ordinance contradicts the advice of public health experts and would cause enormous economic hardship to our already struggling hotels trying to keep employees on the payroll.”

The lawsuit asks the courts to declare the ordinance unlawful and unenforceable, citing the lack of alignment with public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

In addition to the health risks, the officials believe the ordinance will cost San Francisco’s 215 hotels $220,000 each on average, adding more than $47 million in annual industry costs, extending closures and joblessness of employees.

“California hotels’ livelihoods depend on being clean and safe,” California Hotel and Lodging Association CEO Lynn S. Mohrfeld said. “We have an outstanding track record of following the expertise of federal and state health officials to ensure the well-being of our employees and guests.”

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