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Mandatory Directive For Lodging Facilities (Including Hotels and Motels)

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*Please confirm that your facility may open under the State Order. Where there is a difference between the local County Order and the State Order, the more restrictive order must be followed. The State also has specific guidance for certain facilities that must be followed in addition to this mandatory directive.*

Issued: July 14, 2020
Revised: October 13, 2020

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

While hotels, motels, and other lodging facilities are critical for safe travel and business operation, lodging facilities can also pose significant risks to public health in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because lodging facilities typically involve members of different households staying in close proximity within an enclosed area for days or weeks at a time, and often using shared equipment or spaces, lodging facilities must take extra precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for workers, visitors, and others.

“Lodging facility” means any facility at which members of the public can obtain lodging on a short-term basis, including without limitation hotels, motels, auto courts, bed and breakfasts, inns, cabins and cottages, casino hotels, hostels, ski lodges and resorts, tourist cabins, and tourist courts, including lodging provided via vacation or short-term rentals by owners such as Airbnb. A “guest” of a lodging facility refers to any person who rents or stays in a room or rooms at a lodging facility.

This Directive explains how lodging facilities may operate. This Directive is mandatory, and failure to follow it is a violation of the Health Officer’s Order issued on October 5, 2020 (“Order”). Lodging facilities must comply with the Order and all requirements of this Directive.

The Order Issued October 5

The Order imposes several restrictions on all businesses and activities to ensure that the County stays as safe as possible, including but not limited to the following:

  • The Social Distancing Protocol: All businesses and governmental entities must fill out and submit a Revised Social Distancing Protocol within 14 days of the Order’s effective date. The Revised Social Distancing Protocol must be filled out using an updated template, which will be available here​. The Protocol is submitted under penalty of perjury, meaning that everything written on the form must be truthful and accurate to the best of the signer’s knowledge, and submitting false information is a crime. The Protocol must be distributed to all workers, and it must be accessible to all officials who are enforcing the Order.
  • Signage: All businesses must print (1) an updated COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and (2) a Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet, and both must be posted prominently at all facility entrances. These are available for printing after online submission of the Revised Social Distancing Protocol. The Revised Social Distancing Protocol specifies additional signage requirements.
  • Face Coverings: Everyone must wear face coverings at all times specified in the California Department of Public Health’s mandatory Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings (“Face Covering Guidance”) and in any specific directives issued by the County Health Officer. Further, even where not required under State or local guidance and orders, face coverings should be worn to the maximum extent possible (1) when indoors and not in one’s own residence and (2) whenever outdoors and within six feet of anyone outside one’s own household.
  • Capacity Limitation: All businesses must limit the number of people inside the facility at the same time to ensure that everyone is able to maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from everyone outside their household at all times.

See the Order and the FAQ page for more details.

In addition to these general requirements applicable to all businesses under the Order, all lodging facilities must comply with the following directives.

Lodging Facilities Exempt from this Directive

This Directive does not apply to the following types of lodging facilities:

  1. Homeless shelters or other facilities used to house persons who are or would otherwise become homeless.
  2. Single room occupancy hotels, sometimes known as “SROs” or “residential hotels.”
  3. Transitional housing designed for individuals or families seeking to transition to independent living.
  4. Assisted living facilities and residential care facilities, including skilled nursing facilities (sometimes known as nursing homes).
  5. Residential healthcare facilities.
  6. Lodging facilities where the average duration of guest occupancy is more than 60 days.
  7. Foster homes, including foster group homes.
  8. Lodging that is owned and operated by governmental entities.
  9. Lodging that is being used by governmental entities for the purpose of responding to COVID-19.

Shared Short-Term Rentals and Homestays Prohibited by the Health Officer

Because COVID-19 is still circulating in our community and can be transmitted from person to person through close contact, even by people without symptoms, public health requires minimizing and mitigating the risk of that transmission by reducing the number and duration of contacts that people have with individuals from different households. Therefore, a person may rent out their entire residence (subject to applicable rules described below), but no person may rent out a portion of their residence (for example, renting out a bedroom through Airbnb or VRBO) while they or any other tenants stay in another portion of the residence. Further, residences may be rented on a short-term basis by members of only one household at a time, and people from two or more households may not share a short-term rental.

Reservation, Check-In, Room-Assignment, and Recordkeeping Procedures

Lodging facilities must take the following steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission:

  1. Lobbies, Contactless Check-in, and Guests’ Visitors
    1. If possible, use a touch-free check-in system, such as an online or app-based platform, and discontinue use of paper documents.
    2. If possible, use a touch-free payment system, such as payment online or over the phone.
    3. With respect to lobbies and other common areas:
      1. Close lobbies and other common areas to members of the public who are not guests or customers.
      2. Limit people other than staff in these common areas to a density of no more than one person per 150 square feet.
    4. Prohibit any person (other than another guest) from visiting a guest inside the lodging facility.
  1. Verbal Screening of Everyone Entering the Facility
    1. When a guest seeks to check in to the facility, the lodging facility must verbally screen everyone in the party seeking to enter the facility for COVID-19 symptoms by asking if they:
      1. have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
      2. came into close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
      3. feel or recently felt feverish;
      4. have or recently had any other COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, chills, headaches, muscle/body aches, confusion, or loss of taste/smell.
    2. Answers by guests
      1. If a guest answers “yes” to the question listed in Paragraph 2.a.i, the lodging facility must follow the Special Rules for Guests Who Are COVID-19 Positive (beginning on page 11).
      2. If a guest answers “yes” to any of the other questions listed in Paragraph 2.a, the lodging facility must require that the guest choose between (i) isolating themselves in their room unless and until the guest provides a test result establishing that the guest is COVID-19 negative, or (ii) checking out immediately. The lodging facility must require that the guest inform the lodging facility if a test confirms that the guest is COVID-19 positive.
    3. When a person who is not a guest seeks to enter the facility, the lodging facility must verbally screen the person for COVID-19 symptoms by asking the questions listed in Paragraph 2.a. If the person answers “yes” to any of the questions, the lodging facility must not allow the person to enter the facility, and must instead urge the person to return home and to contact their healthcare provider.
  1. Recordkeeping to Facilitate Contact-Tracing Efforts

    To facilitate the County’s contact-tracing efforts should they become necessary, the lodging facility must create and retain for a minimum of 21 days records of the following information regarding each guest’s visit.  This information is confidential, and will be subject to disclosure to the County Public Health Department only for case investigation and contact tracing purposes, to protect the health of workers, guests, and others:

    1. The guest’s name, phone number, and email address.
    2. Whether the guest ever reported that they were COVID-19 positive.
    3. The date(s), time(s), and duration of the guest’s visit.
  1. COVID-19 Positive Guests

    When a lodging facility learns that a guest has tested positive for COVID-19, the facility must do all of the following:

    1. Within 4 hours, report the case by following Step 4 of the instructions at www.sccsafeworkplace.org (replacing “worker” with “guest” as appropriate).
    2. Follow the Special Rules for Guests Who Are COVID-19 Positive (beginning on page 11).
    3. Offer to let the guest cancel the remainder of the reservation without charge or penalty.

Guest Amenities

  1. Restaurants
    1. Each lodging facility in which a restaurant or food facility operates must ensure that the restaurant or food facility is operated in compliance with the Order, any applicable State COVID-19 Industry-Specific Guidance documents, and, if applicable, the Health Officer’s Mandatory Directive for Dining.
    2. Buffets and self-serve food facilities are prohibited.
    3. Lodging facilities may deliver food to guests in a contactless manner (for example, by leaving a tray outside the guest’s door or pre-packing food into a bag for the guest to pick up at a concierge desk). In-room room service is prohibited.
  1. Gyms and Fitness Facilities

    Each lodging facility that operates, allows to operate, or makes available a gym or fitness facility must ensure that the gym or fitness facility is operated in compliance with the Order and any applicable State COVID-19 Industry-Specific Guidance documents.
  1. Pools
    1. Saunas, steam rooms, and indoor hot tubs/spas and swimming pools are prohibited.
    2. Each lodging facility that operates, allows to operate, or makes available an outdoor pool must ensure that the pool is operated in compliance with the Order and any applicable State COVID-19 Industry-Specific Guidance documents.
  1. Business Centers

    Each lodging facility that operates, allows to operate, or makes available a business center (including any room or area with computers or printers available for use by guests) must:

    1. Prohibit entry of any person who is not a worker or guest of the lodging facility.
    2. Reduce, arrange, or block off (using tape, rope, or printed signs) the chairs and workstations available for use so that no person works, sits, stands, or otherwise is within 6 feet of any other person.
    3. Make available hand sanitizer at the entrance to and exit from the business center.
    4. Make available disinfectant wipes or other equipment for guest use.
    5. Disinfect all equipment used by a guest—including computer keyboards, mice, monitors, printers, and other office supplies and accessories—after that guest’s use of the business center.
    6. If feasible, offer service to provide contactless delivery of printouts to guests in lieu of guests’ direct use of a printer.
  1. Personal Services

    Each lodging facility that operates, allows to operate, or makes available an onsite hair salon, nail salon, or other personal services amenity or business must ensure that the personal services amenity or business is operated in compliance with the Order and the Health Officer’s Mandatory Directive for Personal Services Businesses.
  1. Meeting and Conference Spaces

    A lodging facility may make its spaces available for gatherings (including weddings, banquets, conferences, and other events) only to the extent the facility ensures compliance at all times with the Order and the Health Officer’s Mandatory Directive for Gatherings.

Housekeeping, Facilities Maintenance, and Worker Protection

  1. Housekeeping
    1. Lodging facilities must offer daily housekeeping services to all guests.
    2. Lodging facilities must require and ensure that all guests, visitors, and other persons remain outside the room while a housekeeper or other staff is in the room.
    3. Personal Protective Equipment. Lodging facilities must provide at no cost the following personal protective equipment (PPE) and require that housekeeping staff wear all of the following at all times:
      1. Face covering;
      2. Eye coverings such as goggles, laboratory glasses, or a face shield;
      3. Disposable gloves that are used for only one room and then discarded; and
      4. Apron.
    4. Soiled Linens; Laundry. Lodging facilities must provide housekeepers with receptacles lined with plastic bags for soiled linens. While inside each room, housekeepers must place guests’ used towels and linens in the plastic bags and seal the bags.  All bed linens and laundry (including reusable cloths used by housekeepers) should be washed at a high temperature and cleaned in accordance with CDC guidelines.
    5. Other Cleaning Requirements; Training and Procedures. The following are mandatory components of all housekeeping services.  Lodging facilities must provide training to all housekeeping staff, in all formats and languages necessary for all staff to understand, regarding how to use PPE and how to keep themselves, guests, and others safe while performing housekeeping tasks. Among other things, training should cover, and lodging facilities should ensure housekeepers’ ability to comply with, the following requirements:
      1. Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after cleaning each room, even if also wearing gloves.
      2. Follow all manufacturer instructions on all disinfectant products.
      3. Do not share PPE or phones.
      4. Thoroughly clean all high-touch items in every room and common space, including doorknobs, handles, rails, light switches, sanitizing stations, restrooms, sinks, toilets, benches, phones, table surfaces, buttons on televisions and radios, and remote controls.
      5. Clean HVAC intakes and returns within guest rooms.
      6. The disinfectants used to comply with this Directive must be effective against COVID-19 and must be used following the manufacturer’s instructions. The CDC has provided a list of effective disinfectants here.
      7. Make sure that staff have enough ventilation (air flow) in areas where they are disinfecting. If they are cleaning in a bathroom or other small space, make sure that doors and windows are open.
    6. Deep Cleaning Between Guests. Each room must be thoroughly deep cleaned once between guest stays in accordance with CDC guidelines. The room should be cleaned as close to the next guest’s arrival (i.e., as many days after check-out) as possible. Lodging facilities must provide additional time to personnel to accomplish a deep clean.  The deep clean must include washing of all kitchen items (pots, pans, utensils, and dishes) and kitchen amenities (including refrigerator interiors, stovetops, coffee-makers, toasters, pantry shelves, and other similar areas).
  1. Porter, Bellboy, and Valet Service
    1. Staff may deliver baggage to guests’ rooms, but must do so in a contactless manner (e.g., by leaving bags outside the guest’s room, without direct hand-to-hand contact), and must not bring baggage inside rooms.
    2. Staff providing valet service must wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling each car, wear a face covering while driving even if alone in the car, and maintain social distance from guests.
  1. Cleaning Common and Staff Areas
    1. Regularly disinfect all high-touch areas and surfaces (such as check-in counters, bell desks, help counters, doorknobs, handles, rails, light switches, sanitizing stations, restrooms, sinks, toilets, benches, front desk areas, keyboards, computers, and phones), following CDC guidelines.
    2. If necessary, modify operating hours to ensure time for regular and thorough sanitization.
    3. In addition to making hand sanitizer available to clients throughout the facility (as required in the Revised Social Distancing Protocol), post signage requiring guests to use hand sanitizer or wash their hands (with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds) before and after using any equipment.
    4. Clean HVAC intakes and returns frequently.
  1. Staff Scheduling.

    When making staff schedules and assignments, lodging facilities must allocate additional time as necessary for workers to follow the cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting requirements in the facility’s Revised Social Distancing Protocol and this Directive, including in Paragraph 11 (page 8), Paragraph 13 (page 10), and Paragraph 19 (page 12).
  1. Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems

    When compared to other types of businesses, guests stay for prolonged periods at lodging facilities.  Therefore, air circulation within a lodging facility may have substantial effects on public health, especially if a facility’s HVAC system circulates air throughout the rooms of a facility before or in lieu of indoor air being exchanged with outdoor air.  An HVAC system can spread novel coronavirus throughout a facility.  Therefore, lodging facilities must determine and make all feasible upgrades or modifications to their HVAC systems that would reduce or mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, including using or upgrading air filters, setting up smaller zones in which air circulates, installing portable high-efficiency air cleaners, preventing intake vents from intaking air that has just been expelled by the system, modifying settings and equipment to maximize intake of outside air, ensuring that air is not circulated between rooms within and outside an Isolation Area, and other similar measures.
  1. Workers Who Are COVID-19 Positive

    Whenever the lodging facility learns that a worker who has tested positive for COVID-19 was at the facility within 48 hours of the date they were tested or within 48 hours of becoming symptomatic, the lodging facility must immediately:

    1. Implement the Revised Social Distancing Protocol’s procedures for when a person tests positive for COVID-19. All positive cases must be reported by following the instructions at www.sccsafeworkplace.org.
    2. Inform all personnel of the fact that a worker has tested positive for COVID-19 (and the date on which the worker tested positive, if known) while maintaining confidentiality required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Special Rules for Guests Who Are COVID-19 Positive

  1. Occupancy by Guests Who Are COVID-19 Positive

    All lodging facilities that allow COVID-19 positive guests to stay at their facilities must reserve certain rooms for COVID-19 positive guests, as follows:

  1. Lodging facilities must create an “Isolation Area,” which consists of at least 5 percent of the total rooms available at the lodging facility, all adjacent to one another, and all within a discrete and separable area of the facility. Lodging facilities with fewer than 20 rooms must reserve at least 1 room for the Isolation Area.
  2. Lodging facilities must separate the Isolation Area from the remainder of the facility through (i) a physical barrier such as a door that remains closed or plastic sheeting that is taped closed, and (ii) visually obvious no-entry signs to prevent other guests from entering the area.
  3. To the maximum extent possible, the Isolation Area must be served by a discrete and separable component of the facility’s HVAC system that can be made not to circulate air to other parts of the facility.
  4. To the maximum extent possible, the rooms in an Isolation Area must:
    1. Have entrances and exits directly to the outdoors; and
    2. Have operable windows.
  5. The Isolation Area must be expanded if necessary to ensure adequate space to comply with this Directive.
  1. Restrictions on Guests Who Are COVID-19 Positive

    All COVID-19 positive guests must be restricted as follows:

  1. Guests must stay within the Isolation Area except as strictly necessary to check out or obtain medical care.
  2. Guests may not use any area of the lodging facility otherwise available to all guests (or other members of the public), including gyms and fitness facilities, restaurants, pools, decks, and roofs, except for purposes of transit through the lodging facility.
  3. When a COVID-19 positive guest reports that their ability to take care of themselves is impaired, or fails to respond to the lodging facility’s inquiries regarding the guest’s ability to take care of themselves, the lodging facility may refer the guest to a healthcare facility and may require that the guest leave the lodging facility.
  4. When a COVID-19 positive guest checks out of a room, the guest—not staff—must open any operable windows (unless weather or safety does not permit) and turn on any HVAC system and fans to maximize ventilation in the room.
  1. Housekeeping

    With respect to rooms in which a COVID-19 positive guest has stayed, lodging facilities must follow all housekeeping requirements listed in Paragraph 11 (page 8) except as modified as follows:

  1. Lodging facilities must not offer daily housekeeping service during a guest’s stay.
  2. Lodging facilities must provide housekeeping services in emergencies.
  3. Lodging facilities must provide a set of cleaning supplies in each room within the Isolation Area so that the guest may clean the room and the housekeeper does not take supplies from room to room.
  4. Lodging facilities must not return a guest room occupied by a COVID-19 positive guest to service until it has undergone an enhanced disinfection protocol in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  1. Guests Who Are No Longer COVID-19 Positive

    When a guest who has been confirmed to be COVID-19 positive presents the lodging facility with a negative result from a PCR test taken within the prior 24 hours, the lodging facility may assign the guest to a room outside of the Isolation Area.
  1. More Limited Requirements Apply to Single-Residence Rentals

    Lodging facilities with only one continuous area available to reserve (for example, a whole residence available to rent through Airbnb) do not need to comply with Paragraph 17 but must otherwise comply with these Special Rules for Guests Who Are COVID-19 Positive.

Other Steps Recommended by the Health Officer

The following steps are not required, but they are strongly recommended by the Health Officer:

  1. For the safety of guests, staff, and the community, lodging facilities should encourage workers to get tested periodically for COVID-19, and should permit workers to go to testing facilities offsite during paid work time.
  2. Where a guest is COVID-19 positive but other members of that guest’s party are not known to be COVID-19 positive, the other members should stay in the Isolation Area with the COVID-19 positive guest, rather than in a room outside the Isolation Area.

Stay Informed

For answers to frequently asked questions about this industry and other topics, please see the FAQ page. Please note that this Directive may be updated.  For up-to-date information on the Health Officer Order, please visit the County Public Health Department’s website at www.sccgov.org/coronavirus.​​

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Last updated: 10/13/2020 9:38 PM