Spotlight on: New York City, San Francisco, Santa Clara County, Nevada and New Jersey

August 2020

Spotlight on: New York City, San Francisco, Santa Clara County, Nevada and New Jersey

Locations that lead the way in keeping workers and guests safe.

Leaders in New York City, San Francisco, Santa Clara County, Nevada and New Jersey have adopted strict sanitary standards to keep workers and guests safe from the novel coronavirus. In all four locations, the union and political leaders sought to set hotel and casino industry standards for health and safety that follow the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO) for deeper, more frequent cleaning in tourist hotels.1

An especially important provision in these standards is daily room cleaning, which is recommended by the WHO to fight COVID-19 but which some U.S. hotel companies have sought to reduce for all but luxury guests.

New York City

Important protections for workers and guests were made possible through the Coronavirus Safety Protocol Agreement, which was signed by The Hotel Association of New York City, which negotiates labor contracts on behalf of the industry, and the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, the union for hotel and gaming workers in New York and Northern New Jersey.

In the New York Post, Peter Ward, President of the New York Hotel Trades Council, stated, “The only way to attract tourists back to our city is by thoughtfully rebuilding the hotel industry so that tourists and workers all feel safe in our hotels.” In New York the protections are part of a deal between 130 hotels and the Hotel Trades Council. 2

The Coronavirus Safety Protocol Agreement, which had expired on August 1st, will now continue until either the end of the current, declared state of emergency or an FDA approved vaccine becomes available.3

Important note:  This Agreement is limited to unionized hotels. A list of the union hotels in NYC is available in the link below.

Text of the agreement here: https://hotelworkers.org/covid19/the-coronavirus-safety-protocol-agreement

San Francisco

In San Francisco, the Healthy Buildings Ordinance was passed unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in early July.

“San Francisco has positioned itself as the top destination for travelers concerned with cleaning and safety after COVID-19,” said Anand Singh, President of UNITE HERE Local 2. “It’s no secret that hotel companies could save millions by avoiding the World Health Organization’s guidelines, and when hotels were allowed to set their own reopening standards in Las Vegas and Florida, they actually reduced cleaning services, public health guidance went unenforced, and case rates soared. By requiring hotels to prioritize cleaning over profit, San Francisco is taking leadership to rebuild travelers’ trust that our city is the cleanest, safest place to visit.” 4

Full text of the ordinance available here: https://sfbos.org/sites/default/files/o0115-20.pdf

Update:

The California Hotel and Lodging Association along with hotel executives announced plans to file a lawsuit4, to overturn the Board of Supervisors’ Healthy Buildings Ordinance.

Santa Clara County

On July 11, 2020, the local County order called the “Mandatory Directive for Lodging Facilities (including hotels and motels)” was issued for Santa Clara County.

The language in the Santa Clara County “Mandatory Directive for Lodging Facilities (including hotels and motels)” is available here: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Documents/Mandatory-Directives-Lodging.pdf

Information on the California State’s Order and State guidance is available at covid19.ca.gov.

Nevada

On August 11, Governor Sisolak signed Senate Bill 4 “Adolfo Fernandez Bill”. The bill is named in honor of Adolfo Fernandez, a Caesars Palace porter who died from COVID-19 complications in late June. It will protect over 280,000 hospitality workers in Clark County and Washoe. 

Senate Bill 4 is a first-in-the-nation legislation that will protect all workers in the hospitality industry in Las Vegas and Reno - wall-to-wall, front-of-the house and back-of-the house, union and non-union, worker and manager - from the Bellagio to Motel 6. A majority of workers covered by this law are not unionized. 

The worker provisions in the Senate Bill 4 are the result of five months of the Culinary Union having thousands of one-on-one conversations with workers, two different car caravans on the Las Vegas Strip with over 10,000 Nevadans participating, dozens of public comment before the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Gaming Commission, and drafting, researching, and consulting with experts on the health and safety language in the Bill.5

Full Senate Bill 4 available here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/32nd2020Special/Bill/7156/Text

New Jersey State

In New Jersey State Assembly, and State Senate passed a bill, “Protocols for Hotel Sanitization”, and went into effect on Thursday, June 25, 2020. The bill (known by its bill numbers S2479 in the State Senate and A4131 in the State Assembly) provides important protection for guests.

The law covers all hotels in the State of New Jersey.  This law was the very first of its kind anywhere in the country. “The law will require daily room cleans, EPA-certified cleaning agents, and minimum staffing at the front desk.” 6

Executive Order available here: https://www.nj.gov/health/legal/covid19/7-9-2020_20-024ExecDirHotels_.pdf

Notes

1 https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/331937/WHO-2019-nCoV-Hotels-2020.2-eng.pdf
2 https://nypost.com/2020/06/19/nyc-hotels-agree-to-strict-cleaning-protocols-amid-coronavirus/
3 https://hotelworkers.org/covid19/breaking-news-extension-to-healthcare-benefits-and-coronavirus-safety-protocol
4 https://patch.com/california/san-francisco/hotels-sue-san-francisco-over-new-law
5 https://culinaryunion226.org/news/press/governor-sisolak-holds-virtual-signing-ceremony-for-sb4-first-in-the-nation-legislation-that-protects-nevada-workers
6 https://hotelworkers.org/covid19/using-our-political-power-to-pass-safety-legislation-in-new-jersey