The CEO of Marriott International said during a virtual forum that employees and hotel guests wearing masks would be crucial to the success of the hospitality industry’s comeback following the devastation of the coronavirus outbreak.
During a meeting of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson said everyone wearing facial coverings would provide confidence to visitors that the property is following all health and safety guidelines.
“This issue has gotten far too politicized, which is a tragedy,” Sorenson said during the meeting. “And it’s complicated from a government perspective, because what are you permitted to actually require in a country like the U.S., where you’ve got a strong sense of personal liberty?”
“It’s also complicated from a business perspective,” Sorenson continued. “When you’ve got a hotel full of guests on Memorial Day weekend, you’re going to have a percentage of those guests that are going to want everyone wearing masks. And you’re going to have a percentage of guests that say, ‘I’m not worried about this.’”
Earlier this week, Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts and other hospitality brands across the United States adopted a universal mandatory mask policy for employees and visitors at all properties.
Hotels aren’t the only travel industry working out the details of new facial coverings policies, as airlines and airports around the United States are asking the federal government to intervene and establish a national guideline for wearing masks during air travel.
Several states have also passed mask-wearing mandates, including California, Nevada, North Carolina and Washington.
“We’re seeing not just the hotel business, but the airlines and restaurants sort of wrestle with what role is it of theirs to police,” Sorenson said. “I think it’s something for the industry to [focus on]. We have influence to make sure we are leaning toward the most cautious set of rules on cleanliness and mask wearing.”
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