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Another industry hit with mandatory mask guidelines

Coronavirus in West Virginia

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — A number of major retailers across the country have made face masks mandatory for shoppers, and now another industry is joining the push. Your next hotel stay may be different as a result.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association released a new set of guidelines for hotels to follow. They’re calling them the “Safe Stay Guest Checklist,” and one thing that these guidelines call for is mandatory masks inside hotels.

Huntington hotels are starting to follow suit.

“People, as a whole, don’t tend to enjoy the masks.” 

Desiree Besemer, sales director for the DoubleTree Hotel

Huntington DoubleTree Hotel sales director Desiree Besemer says while guests may not like wearing masks, it’s for everyone’s benefit.

“It’s necessary.  It’s necessary to keep our economy open.” 

Desiree Besemer, sales director for the DoubleTree Hotel

The lateset guidance from the American Hotel and Lodging Association tells hotels to require masks indoors, as well as to implement as many contact-less options as possible.

Besemer says up until now, masks inside were simply a suggestion.

“Now with these new guidelines coming out, we will be requiring it. I believe we will be starting that next week.” 

Desiree Besemer, sales director for the DoubleTree Hotel

While this change may be an unwelcome one to some, the silver lining is the standardization.

“The positive of the mask mandate is that it removes the guessing of the whole situation. You know, you need a mask to get into places. If you’re going to be indoors, you have one, and I think that simplifies things. It takes the pressure off the business of deciding what they’re going to do and creates a standardized process.” 

Bill Bissett Ed.D, president and CEO of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce

Bill Bissett says some businesses have adapted extremely well to new safety guidelines; yet some, like hotels, just don’t have the flexibility of business model.

“It is interesting right now economically though, because I’m hearing from some of my members that they’re actually doing quite well.  If they had a business model that shifts to you know, curbside delivery or delivery to your home they’re really having a great time in their business, but the challenge of a hotel is you have to go to it.” 

Bill Bissett Ed.D, president and CEO of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce

Despite that, Besemer says she doesn’t expect this new rule to impact her business too much.

“I’m sure we’ll have some people that are not thrilled with it, but at this point, so many other places have required it, that it’s becoming the norm.” 

Desiree Besemer, sales director for the DoubleTree Hotel

Some of the other things this local DoubleTree is doing differently or more frequently are using an app to check guests in, using plastic shields in front of the concierge and checking in with guests about room cleaning preferences.

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