As an increasing number of businesses begin to require face coverings in their facilities – whether as a result of a local legal mandate or in the interest of public safety – there has been a corresponding increase in the number of well-publicized reports of customers and guests reacting in a belligerent, hostile, or even violent manner after being asked to comply with mask rules. What should your business do to minimize the chances of such an incident occurring in your workplace, and what should you do if an anti-mask guest disrupts your business? Here is a five-step plan to address this unfortunate part of our new reality.
Thank you to Fisher Phillips and the authors below for providing this information.
Authors: Catharine Morisset, Andria Ryan, Todd Logsdon, Aymara Ledezma, Myra Creighton, Rich Meneghello
Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to issue a public health advisory for out-of-state travel. Under this advisory, Marylanders are strongly advised against traveling to states with positivity rates of 10% or higher. Anyone traveling from these states should get tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results.
This public health advisory—which takes effect immediately—applies to personal, family, or business travel of any kind. Marylanders are advised to postpone or cancel travel to these areas until their positivity rates decline.
Additionally, and of note to hotels with out-of-state guests, the travel advisory includes the following language:
“We encourage out-of-state visitors to be tested within 72 hours prior to arrival and to cancel
travel if they receive a positive result. Visitors waiting for their test results should stay at
home between the time of their test and their arrival in Maryland or to self-quarantine at
Essential workers, as previously referenced in the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel’s
COVID-19-04 Interpretative Guidance, are exempt from the quarantine recommendation if
they are returning or traveling to Maryland to perform essential work, as well as employee
commuters who leave/enter the state on a daily basis and have work-based COVID-19
Click here to Read the travel advisory.
Effective July 31, 2020, at 5:00 P.M., all persons in Maryland over the age of 5 must wear masks or face coverings when visiting the public spaces of all businesses (including hotels) as well as outdoor public areas when social distancing may not be consistently maintained. Click here to read Executive Order 20-07-29-01.
Many hotel brands and properties required face coverings in public space before this mandate was issued in Maryland. Click here to learn more about Safe Stay, which is endorsed by MHLA and available for all hotels to adopt.
Additional COVID-19 updates and resources are available on our website.
7-23-20 Baltimore City prohibits indoor dining at food service establishments effective July 24 at 5:00 P.M.
Baltimore City Mayor Young issued a Mayoral Executive Order on July 22, 2020 that prohibits indoor dining at bars and restaurants effective 5:00 P.M. on July 24, 2020. Carry-out, delivery and outdoor dining with social distancing restrictions in place are still allowed. The latest Executive Order states, “The Mayoral Order of June 22, 2020 to the extent that it authorizes consumption of food and beverages in indoor seating areas is rescinded…. Except as modified by this Mayoral Order, the Mayoral Orders of June 12, 2020 (Limited Opening of Retail Establishments) and June 29, 2020 (Updating and Clarifying Permitted Gatherings), remain in effect.
All Baltimore City Mayoral Executive Orders may be viewed here.
UPDATED INFORMATION – As of 8-7-20, this order is no longer in effect. Click the previous link to view more recent Executive Orders or view the MHLA post dated 8-7-20.
7-23-20 New COVID Restrictions imposed in Anne Arundel County; Limit of 25 people indoors does not apply to hotels
Note from MHLA:
We have confirmed with Anne Arundel County Constituent Services that hotel meeting space is NOT INCLUDED in the social gathering restrictions announced in today’s Anne Arundel County Executive Order. The County’s press release is posted below. Hotels should continue to follow all applicable restrictions already in place. Additionally, if you have not adopted Safe Stay at your property, I encourage you to sign onto it. Click here to learn more.
-Amy Rohrer, MHLA President & CEO
County Executive Pittman Announces New COVID Restrictions to Address Surge and Help Keep Anne Arundel County Open
Annapolis, Md. (July 23, 2020) County Executive Steuart Pittman announced today that Anne Arundel County will take several new actions to address the rising rate of COVID-19 spread. These actions are informed by Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman’s recommendations, and target situations where contact tracing indicates that there has been increased transmission of the virus. Although the county is maintaining a positivity rate below 5 percent, the positivity rate and hospitalizations have been trending up for two weeks. Furthermore, the county’s rate of infection rose from 0.80 on June 19 when the most recent restrictions were lifted to 1.25 on July 22, meaning that on average, each infected person is infecting 1.25 others – resulting in continued spread of the virus.
In response, County Executive Pittman will sign executive order #27 this afternoon, which goes into effect on Friday, July 24 at 5:00 p.m. The new order limits late evening indoor hours at bars and restaurants, re-establishes gathering limits for indoor and outdoor social events, closes seating areas in mall food courts, and establishes new, stricter penalties for violations. County Executive Pittman decided to take these actions after consultation with Dr. Kalyanaraman and other health officials, and after meeting with his recovery work group and members of the county’s chambers of commerce to get feedback.
“Rates of infection are a direct function of our behavior,” said County Executive Pittman. “Two weeks after the last reopenings, our rates surged to a level that could eventually require a devastating shutdown of economic and personal activity.
“We must keep Anne Arundel open, so we must respond immediately to our data. This is a targeted approach driven by our contact tracing review, and our need to protect the working people of this county from further economic stress. Please, help us get our people back to work and our students back in classrooms by wearing your mask and physical distancing.”
In addition to the new actions in the executive order, Dr. Kalyanaraman announced a new enforcement program. In partnership with the liquor board, there will be increased enforcement and penalties for restaurants, bars and clubs that fail to adhere to current mask and distancing requirements.
“We’re all in this together,” said Dr. Kalyanaraman. “Each of us is responsible to do the right thing, which includes using a mask, distancing and hand washing. Today’s actions are necessary because not everybody is practicing these behaviors, and we are seeing increased cases and hospitalizations. Our goal is to open schools and following these new guidelines is a key part of making that happen in the fall.”
The details of the executive order are as follows:
Executive Order #27 will be available on the county website this afternoon.
In addition, Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks announced that the Arundel Olympic Swim Center in Annapolis and the North Arundel Aquatic Center in Glen Burnie, both currently closed due to positive COVID-19 tests among patrons or staff, will remain closed until further notice.
The Anne Arundel County Department of Health maintains a reopening dashboard to track public health measures that influence policy decisions. Other resources and information are available on the county’s road to recovery webpage.
The MHLA Annual Meeting took place on Tuesday, July 21st, 2020. If you missed it, a recording of the presentation is below.
Email MHLA for the password and/or to receive the slide deck.
Meeting Recording: https://zoom.us/rec/share/3sZIFr7d0z1IWdb8zAbwX74YQYfOeaa8gHIf_adcnk0TgZ74ok7uSC9HXM1kPwf0
Meeting Recording: https://zoom.us/rec/share/wcIqd5-s-0dORtbj4U74R6A_J4bLX6a8gSgb-_BYnkjdsepB5Xhr6plyfwBrspNQ
Thank You to our Sponsors
The top priority for the hotel industry is the health and safety of guests and employees. We want every guest to experience a clean and safe hotel, no matter where they stay. In support of these efforts, MHLA has endorsed American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Safe Stay guidelines, an industry-wide, enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees. AHLA has united the industry around the announcement of the “Safe Stay Guest Checklist,” a list for guests on how to travel safely, including the required use of face coverings in all indoor public spaces.
The Safe Stay Guest Checklist includes:
To further expand the hotel industry’s Safe Stay initiative, AHLA also recently launched COVID-19 Precautions for Hotels, an online course developed in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) to help hotels train their staffs on the enhanced safety and cleanliness guidelines.
Utilizing these best practices, including requiring face coverings and practicing social distancing in public spaces, will create an even safer environment for all our guests and employees.
Visit www.ahla.com/safestay for additional information.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Maura Morton, 202-381-8644; email@example.com; Jennifer Myers, 202-289-3148; firstname.lastname@example.org
HOTEL INDUSTRY LAUNCHES TRAINING COURSE TO ADVANCE SAFE STAY GUIDELINES
AHLEI Training Focuses on Enhanced Cleaning & Safety
WASHINGTON (July 6, 2020) – To further expand the hotel industry’s Safe Stay initiative, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) today announced COVID-19 Precautions for Hotels, an online course developed in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) and created to help hotels train their staffs on the enhanced safety and cleanliness guidelines.
The new training course was created in consultation with the AHLA’s Safe Stay Advisory Council and represents a united industry approach around the Safe Stay guidelines endorsed by all major U.S. hotel brands, hospitality associations in 50 states and Canada, and thousands of hotel properties across the country committed to ensuring the health and safety of guests and employees while continuing to provide outstanding service.
“As we welcome back the traveling public, we are proud that the hotel industry across North America can unite under one common set of safety, cleanliness and health guidelines with Safe Stay. This training course will help ensure that hotels are clean and safe places to stay and work,” said Chip Rogers, President and CEO of AHLA. “Hotels have always had rigorous cleaning protocols and standards, but we’re stepping up even more so that employees and guests can feel more confident about the entire hotel experience.”
“As operators make plans to reopen their properties, they are aware that all of their staff will need training on how to operate safely during the pandemic,” said Sherman Brown, Executive Vice President, training and certification for the National Restaurant Association and AHLEI. “This online training highlights industry guidelines endorsed by all major hotel brands to show staff how to provide guests with the highest level of cleanliness and safety.”
The 15-minute course is available in English or Spanish. Employees who successfully complete the course and brief assessment receive a certificate. COVID-19 Precautions for Hotels can be hosted on an organization’s LMS or purchased individually. In addition to the training component, AHLA’s Safe Stay initiative has developed a ‘checklist’ for members to utilize as they work to implement the Safe Stay Guidelines, as well as Safe Stay signage and collateral for use on property to inform both employees and guests of the industry commitment to safety and cleanliness. These resources are available on the AHLA’s Safe Stay website.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry and contributes nearly $660 billion to U.S. GDP. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. Every day, America’s hotels make dreams come true, not just for our guests, but also for the 8.3 million people whose jobs we support—more than 1 in every 25 American jobs. Learn more at www.ahla.com.
MHLA’s lobbying firm, the Law Offices of Frank D. Boston, III, has provided an analysis of all Executive Orders and Directives issued through July 5, 2020 to help Maryland hoteliers navigate what is currently permitted in hotel meeting space. A Member log-in is required to view the document found under Members – Legislation & Compliance Updates. We sincerely thank Frank Boston and Emily Berg for providing this information and appreciate their ongoing efforts to gain further clarification from the state.
Visit https://mdlodging.org/covid-19-resources/ to view more COVID-19 resources provided by the State and MHLA Allied Members.