The travel industry has come together, working with health and medical experts, to reach collective agreement on a core set of health and safety guidance that the industry may adapt to their businesses.
The guidance aims to provide consistency in the approach to safety employed by travel brands and destinations during the customer experience. It not only directly responds to the COVID-19 threat we face today—it also prepares our industry to handle future threats that may arise. Travel industry guidance may, of course, evolve and be updated as the nation moves through different stages of reopening, as the science and data become clearer, and as the known efficacy of certain practices progress.
Additional information for applying the guidance for destinations can be found in the recording or slides of the recent webinar: A Phased Reopening: Operating and Communicating New Safety Guidance. (May 28)
Travel businesses should adapt operations, modify employee practices and/or redesign public spaces to help protect employees and customers. Depending on the business, that strategy could include operational changes, new employee practices or reimagining high-traffic public spaces.
For some businesses these strategies will include practices such as:
- Reinforcing hand hygiene which can decrease the risk of transmission of respiratory viruses by ~50%
- Utilizing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves
- Installing physical barriers, such as transparent screens to provide proper separation between customers and employees
- Encouraging social distancing by posting new signage to ensure proper separation in lines and common areas, discouraging congregating in crowded areas, reconfiguring public spaces, or limiting the number of employees and guests in various areas
- Thinking creatively to limit staff physical contact with customers where practical while still delivering superior service
- Educating both employees and customers about their shared responsibility to help protect each other in a COVID-19 environment.
Travel businesses should consider implementing touchless solutions, where practical, to limit the opportunity for virus transmission while also enabling a positive travel experience. Such measures may include adopting contactless technologies or procedures for:
- Payment for goods and services
- Automated ordering and pick-up for food and services
- A broader range of travel and hospitality amenities
Travel businesses should adopt and implement enhanced sanitation procedures specifically designed to combat the transmission of COVID-19. To promote the health and safety of our customers and employees, every segment of the travel industry should deploy enhanced sanitation procedures that include:
- Establish a policy implementing more frequent hand washing by all employees
- Sanitizing more frequently, using products and disinfectants that meet requirements for effectiveness against COVID-19; special attention to high-touch surfaces
- Providing hand sanitizer in public areas throughout facilities
- Modifying business hours when necessary to carry out thorough sanitation and disinfection procedures
- Providing new training for employees on implementing these measures with oversight on execution
- Researching technological innovations and testing new procedures, as appropriate, to enhance sanitation
Travel businesses should promote health screening measures for employees and isolate workers with possible COVID-19 symptoms and provide health resources to customers.
Travel businesses should adopt health screening procedures that require all employees:
- To monitor their health
- To not report to work if they are ill and/or showing any symptoms
- To self-isolate if showing symptoms of COVID-19, if awaiting test results, or if diagnosed with COVID-19
Travelers also have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. To help them fulfill this responsibility, travel businesses should offer appropriate resources to customers to better enable them to monitor and screen their own health, including:
- Signage communicating COVID-19 symptoms
- Guidance to local public health resources in case testing or treatment is needed
- Materials describing good health practices to protect themselves and others
- Communications encouraging travelers to stay home if they are sick and to postpone travel until they are well
Travel businesses should also establish a set of procedures aligned with CDC guidance should an employee or customer test positive for COVID-19.
Travel businesses should follow best practices in food and beverage service to promote health of employees and customers.
While COVID-19 is not a food borne illness, food and beverage service is an essential and ubiquitous part of the hospitality our industry provides to travelers.
When serving food and beverages, travel businesses should follow FDA’s Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic and the National Restaurant Association’s COVID-19 Re-Opening Guidance.
They should also review the National Restaurant Association’s longstanding ServSafe guidelines or comparable state program.
Responding effectively to COVID-19 is a shared responsibility. Our guidance reflects the essential role the travel industry must play to help promote the health and safety of our customers and employees. But no industry can overcome this challenge alone.
Travelers also have a responsibility. They must adopt new travel practices and follow science-based guidelines to help protect the health of their family and those around them, including fellow travelers and industry employees.
In the spirit of collective action needed to defeat COVID-19, we urge travelers to do their part and follow government and industry guidance to help protect themselves and others.
By working together, we can overcome the challenge, begin to reopen our economy and responsibly get America traveling again.
The following organizations show their support of this travel industry guidance, which will be shared with the entire travel industry and expanded upon by each sector as necessary. These organizations and their members represent the majority of the $2.6 trillion U.S. travel industry.