An ordinance passed by the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors on July 7, 2020 threatens the health of our workers, the economic recovery of our hoteliers, and the sustained viability of the hotel industry in the Bay Area. CHLA stands opposed to this measure because guest and employee safety have been and continue to be our goal. This measure jeopardizes both our employees' safety and our industry's future.
Unfortunately, implementation of this ordinance may increase employee risk by forcing employees into more frequent contact with guests and potentially infected items in guest rooms. While state and federal health officials recognize the benefits of social distancing and minimizing contact with others, this measure significantly increases crossover between guests and employees. San Francisco's hotels would not be able to function without the dedication of their staff and, as hoteliers, we will not stand to see their health threatened with bad legislation.
The lodging industry is coming together to fight a measure which threatens employee safety and the viability of our industry. Join CHLA and ask Mayor Breed to veto the ordinance and protect our workers, our city, and our industry.
Proposed by local labor union Unite Here Local 2 and sponsored by San Francisco Supervisor Peskin, this ordinance would require employees to enter guest rooms more often and for longer periods of time. While leading health guidance from state and federal officials advises against such direct and indirect contact, this measure would significantly increase the potential for crossover infections.
Secondarily, this measure will burden an already devastated industry by adding an $220,000 in costs for the average 250-room hotel. Hoteliers recognize the need to implement best practices for cleaning and social distancing as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and California Department of Public Health and are implementing programs which will cost $498,000 annually for the average 250-room hotel. For many hotels which cannot absorb the costs, operators recognize that reopening is not an option. Hoteliers are spending significantly more to implement state and federal guidelines to ensure guests and employees are protected. Contrarily, this measure will close more hotels, cost thousands of jobs, and endanger employees and guests.
Provisions Within the Ordinance
Under the ordinance:
- No Covered Establishment may offer any incentive to any guest to decline guest room cleaning on a daily basis.
- Guests are presumed to elect daily guest room cleaning unless the guest affirmatively indicates preference not to receive daily room cleaning
- Bed linens and towels shall be changed no less than daily, unless the guest requests otherwise.
- Restrooms in occupied Tourist Hotel guest rooms shall be cleaned and disinfected once per day, absent special circumstances requiring more frequent cleaning, unless the guest requests otherwise.
- Items and fixtures such as walls, floors, and drapes shall be cleaned and disinfected in public areas, employee areas, elevators, stairways, restrooms, meeting rooms, shipping areas, as well as dining and bar facilities multiple times daily, and more frequently where appropriate.
- If the Department recommends that Employees undergo testing for a Contagious Public Health Threat, Operators shall ensure that such Employees may receive testing as recommended by the Department. Such testing shall be at no cost to the Employee, and shall occur on paid time, including time required to travel to and from testing sites.
- Any Employee or former Employee may bring a civil action in the San Francisco Superior Court for violations of this ordinance, and may be awarded: (1) All actual damages (including, but not limited to, lost pay and benefits) suffered by the Employee, or statutory damages in the sum of $1,000, for each violation whichever is greater; and (2) Exemplary damages, as authorized under California Civil Code Section 3294, or any successor provisions; and attorney's fees
A link to the San Francisco County Ordinance can be found below.
California Department of Public Health: Lodging Industry Guidance
- Housekeeping must only service rooms when guests are not present. Housekeepers should be instructed to minimize contact with guests’ personal belongings when cleaning. Housekeepers should be instructed to have ventilation systems operating and/or open windows whenever possible to increase air circulation. (p7)
- Consider leaving rooms vacant for 24 to 72 hours after a guest has departed, if feasible. • In the event of a presumptive case of COVID-19, the guest’s room should be removed from service and quarantined... (p10)
Centers for Disease Control: Business Cleaning Guidance
If an individual may be or is infected, "Close off areas visited by the ill persons. Open outside doors and windows and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area. Wait 24 hours or as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection. In areas where ill persons are being housed in isolation, follow Interim Guidance for Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection for U.S. Households with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019. This includes focusing on cleaning and disinfecting common areas where staff/others providing services may come into contact with ill persons but reducing cleaning and disinfection of bedrooms/bathrooms used by ill persons to as-needed."
Centers for Disease Control: Cleaning and Disinfection for Households
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, keyboards, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
- In the bedroom/bathroom dedicated for an ill person: consider reducing cleaning frequency to as-needed (e.g., soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the ill person.
- As much as possible, an ill person should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home...
Ex-Cal/OSHA Chief: SF Ordinance Could Increase Workers' Risk
The former chief of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), the state agency responsible for employee health and safety standards, announced today that some provisions of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors' proposed "healthy buildings" ordinance are ill-defined and may actually increase exposure risks to COVID-19 for hotel workers who follow its mandates.
Centers for Disease Control: How Coronavirus Spreads
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggests that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious. In general, the more closely a person interacts with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
The so-called Healthy Buildings Ordinance put forward by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has nothing to do with health or business
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is playing politics with the health and safety of hard-working San Francisco workers. The ordinance is not based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, but rather, the self-interests of the largest hotel union in the country. It puts labor protections ahead of proven health protections. There is nothing progressive about it. We believe it threatens the lives and livelihoods of potentially thousands of San Francisco workers.
San Francisco Hotels Call Out Cleaning Proposal as Unscientific, Costly
Hundreds of members of San Francisco's hotel community assailed the costly, unscientific, environmentally harmful and job-killing proposed "Healthy Business" ordinance at Monday's Land Use and Transportation Committee meeting. Members of the Hotel Council of San Francisco, California Hotel and Lodging Association, American Hotel and Lodging Association, environmentalists and the San Francisco business community expressed frustration at the proposal's lack of scientific support and potential for economic harm.
Request to Veto Healthy Buildings Ordinance
The so called “Healthy Buildings” ordinance passed this week by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is unsafe and unneeded. It puts our employees at risk and will keep them from returning to work. The ordinance will also result in hotels delaying opening even later and some will permanently close.
Study: SF Cleaning Ordinance To Cost Hotels $47 Million
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors' Healthy Buildings ordinance will cost San Francisco's 215 hotels $220,000 each adding more than $47 million in annual industry costs, extending hotel closures and extending joblessness for 15,000 employees, according to an independent analysis of the ordinance's cleaning mandates.