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INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC GUIDELINES FOR RE-OPENING THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY IN UTAH
June 02, 2020


All information in this COVID-19 Response Resource issue is effective as of June 2, 2020.

On May 15, 2020, Utah’s Governor Herbert issued an Order stating that the COVID-19 public health risk status would move from orange (moderate risk) to yellow (low risk) for many Utah counties beginning Saturday, May 16. However, pursuant to another Order issued on May 29, 2020, three areas in Utah remain in the orange moderate risk category. Those areas are: Salt Lake City, the town of Bluff, and the census-designated place Mexican Hat.[1] The Order from May 29, superseded prior orders and is in effect until June 5, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Notably, areas can request a modification to their status (e.g., to go from orange to yellow), and some areas have been moved from yellow to orange after further evaluation.

The risk-levels and respective safety measures to be taken by employers and employees are detailed in version 4.5 of the Utah Department of Health’s Phased Guidelines for the General Public and Businesses to Maximize Public Health and Economic Reactivation (“Phased Guidelines”). It is important to recognize that the May 29, Order requires businesses to comply with the provisions of the Phased Guidelines that correspond to the risk level of the area they operate in (i.e., businesses in low risk areas must comply with the Phased Guidelines for low risk areas). However, where the Phased Guidelines state that an employee should wear a face mask, the Order appears to modify that requirement so that an employee must only wear a face mask when the employee “is unable to maintain a distance of six feet from another individual.”[2]

In addition, to assist employers with protecting employees who are high-risk[3] for COVID-19, the Utah Labor Commission has also issued guidance for developing safety measures in the workplace. The Phased Guidelines and the guidance from the Labor Commission provide general as well as industry-specific measures.

This memorandum provides the industry-specific guidelines for hospitality providers in Utah’s low and moderate risk areas. For a breakdown of general guidelines that apply to all industries in addition to the specific guidelines provided here, review page 11 of the Phased Guidelines and pages 2–3 of the Labor Commission’s guidance.

I. PHASED GUIDELINES FOR HOSPITALITY PROVIDERS IN MODERATE RISK AREAS

This section covers the hospitality industry, including tourism and accommodations such as hotels, pools, spas, water parks, gyms and fitness centers, in moderate risk areas. These establishments must “take extreme safety precautions for both staff and guests.”[4] 

The Phased Guidelines also recommend:

(1) For all hospitality establishments:

(a) Ask staff and guests to wear face coverings;

(b) Post signs to remind groups to maintain social distancing (remain six feet apart) and avoid congregating in common areas and meeting rooms;

(c) Provide digital check-in and checkout, if possible;

(d) Consider installing plexiglass partitions in areas where staff comes into close contact with customers (e.g. registration, concierge, valet desks);

(e) Ask symptomatic guests to stay in their room and wear a face covering anytime they leave the room;

(f) Designate one staff member to attend to sick guests, if possible;

(g) Decrease or discontinue housekeeping services during guest stays to prevent transmission between rooms;

(h) Change all towels, linens, bedding, and guest-consumable items and clean all hard surfaces and high-touch areas with an EPA- registered chemical disinfectant when cleaning guest rooms;

(i) Allow rooms to remain vacant for 48 hours after check-out and prior to cleaning, if possible;

(j) Launder all exposed linens and cleaning supplies (e.g., cleaning rags) separately from other items; and

(k) Provide guests with sanitation spray or wipes (e.g., alcohol wipes for remote controls or shared surfaces).[5]

(2) For pools, spas and water parks, specifically:

(a) Follow all guidelines for the general public, as provided for on page 5 of the Phased Guidelines[6]

(b) Limit to lap swim only, one swimmer per lane, with no congregating on pool decks;

(c) Permit swim teams, as long as social distancing is followed, on pool deck;

(d) Screen staff and guests for symptoms of COVID-19; and

(e) Post signs to remind people to maintain social distancing at all     times.[7]

(3) For gyms and fitness centers (including indoor recreation centers, yoga studios, dance, tumbling, indoor soccer, etc.), specifically:

(a) Follow all guidelines for pools, as provided for on pages 9–10 of the Phased Guidelines (and listed in subsection 2, above);

(b) Check employees for symptoms of COVID-19 before each shift, including checking their temperature – maintain a log of these checks that is available for inspection by the health department;

(c) Screen customers at the entrance with a questionnaire about symptoms, travel and any sicknesses in their home;

(d) Require employees to wear face coverings and ask that customers do so as well, if possible;

(e) Require people of different households to maintain a 10-foot distance from each other at all times (limit the number of patrons, space or close off equipment, accordingly);

(f) Do not allow team or group activities that require a proximity of less than 10 feet;

(g) Allow skills development and conditioning activities if social distancing can be maintained;

(h) Have staff disinfect all equipment after each use;

(i) Do not require sign-in sheets, touchpads, or touch surfaces for entry; and

(j) Discourage high-risk individuals from using facilities at this time.[8]

II. PHASED GUIDELINES FOR HOSPITALITY PROVIDERS IN LOW RISK AREAS

This section covers the hospitality industry, including tourism and accommodations such as hotels, pools, spas, water parks, gyms, and fitness centers in low risk areas. These establishments must take precautions with shared spaces and provide extra sanitation of all areas of the property.[9] The Phased Guidelines also recommend:

(1) For all hospitality establishments:

(a) Ask employees and customers to wear face coverings where social distancing is difficult to maintain;

(b) Post signs to remind groups to maintain social distancing (remain 6 feet apart) and avoid congregating in common areas and meeting rooms;

(c) Provide digital check-in and checkout, if possible;

(d) Ask symptomatic guests to stay in their room and wear a face covering anytime they leave the room;

(e) Designate one staff member to attend to sick guests, if possible; and

(f) Launder all exposed linens and cleaning supplies (e.g., cleaning rags) separately from other items.[10]

(2) For pools, spas and water parks, specifically:

(a) Follow all guidelines for the general public, as provided for on page 5 of the Phased Guidelines (and listed in subsection 2, above);

(b) Operate open swim at a reduced capacity that enables appropriate social distancing to be maintained between household groups on the pool deck. A six-foot distance must be maintained on pool deck;

(c) Allow lap swim at normal capacity;

(d) Permit swim teams and lessons, as long as social distancing is followed, on pool deck; and

(e) Post signs to remind people to maintain social distancing at all times.[11]

(3) For gyms and fitness centers (including indoor recreation centers, yoga studios, dance, tumbling, indoor soccer, etc.), specifically:

(a) Follow all guidelines for pools, as provided for on pages 9–10 of the Phased Guidelines;

(b) Check employees for symptoms of COVID-19 before each shift, including checking their temperature – maintain a log of these checks that is available for inspection by the health department;

(c) Screen participants prior to each competition or practice;

(d) Limit spectators of events so that social distancing guidelines can be maintained;

(e) Require employees working within six feet of customers to wear face coverings;

(f) Require people of different households to maintain a 10-foot distance from each other at all times (limit the number of patrons, space or close off equipment, accordingly); and

(g) Provide chemical disinfectant supplies available throughout the establishment and post signs encouraging patrons to thoroughly disinfect equipment after use.[12]

III. LABOR COMMISSION GUIDANCE FOR ALL HOSPITALITY PROVIDERS

(1) For all hospitality establishments:

(a) Assign low-risk employees to:

(i) handle luggage and other customer items;

(ii) provide valet services, if possible; and

(iii) conduct housekeeping in public areas

(b) Sanitize room keys between employee and customer use;

(c) Limit the capacity of elevators based on the size of the elevator to allow for social distancing; and

(d) Encourage high-risk individuals to avoid riding in an elevator with others.[13]

(2) For gyms, specifically:

(a) Assign low-risk employees to conduct locker room and gym housekeeping duties and handle towels and other laundry;

(b) Encourage employees to avoid using a public water fountain; and

(c) Disinfect shared office equipment.[14]

To ensure compliance with the Governor’s Order, the Phased Guidelines and the Labor Commission’s guidance, it is strongly recommended that employers seek legal advice prior to re-opening or requiring employees to return to the workplace.

For questions, please contact Christina Jepson by sending an email to cjepson@parsonsbehle.com or calling 801-536-6820.

 

[1] https://rules.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/Utah-Executive-Order-No.-27.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[2] https://rules.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/Utah-Executive-Order-No.-27.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[3]  High risk individuals include those who are 65 or older; live in a nursing home or long-term care facility; have chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; have serious heart conditions; are immunocompromised; are severely obese or have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or liver disease; or are pregnant. Pregnant women have not been shown to be at higher risk for COVID-19, specifically, but are “known to be at risk with severe viral illness.” https://laborcommission.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/COVID19RECOMMENDATIONS (last visited June 1, 2020).

[4] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[5] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[6] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[7] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[8] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[9] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[10] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[11] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[12] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[13] https://laborcommission.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/COVID19RECOMMENDATIONS (last visited June 1, 2020).

[14] https://laborcommission.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/COVID19RECOMMENDATIONS (last visited June 1, 2020).