Bar & Restaurant, Hotel And Travel Industry Employees Deserve ‘Essential’ Status
As the COVID-19 vaccines start to make their way to the public, those on the front lines are – as should be the case – first in line to get the shot.
But there are others who, along with the military, first responders and senior citizens, should be part of Phase 1b: hospitality workers.
I’m talking about the hotel workers, people in bars & restaurants and those working in travel such as with the airlines. After all, they deal with customers all the time and run the risk of being exposed every time they show up for work.
Yet, there has not been one word or even a thought for these workers. The travel, bar, restaurant and all hospitality industries have suffered tremendously as a result of all the various restrictions, stay-home orders and shutdowns.
The quickest way to help these industries recover is to vaccinate the employees working in these areas. That will give them confidence and their customers and travelers confidence to return to those businesses.
I am not alone in this thought, either.
Chip Rogers, President and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, sent a letter to the National Governor’s Association calling on governors and state public health agencies to include hotel employees for inclusion in phase “1b” of the vaccination rollout.
“Hotels have been utilized as places to quarantine for many during the pandemic and helped support all levels of government by opening our doors to first responders and medical professionals for a place to stay closer to their hospital or place work as they provide around-the-clock care to patients,” he wrote.
“Hotel employees also remain on the frontlines, and each day that they come to work, they welcome both global and domestic travelers increasing their likelihood of contracting the virus. While hotels have protocols in place to ensure limited contact between employees and guests, prioritizing employees with access to the vaccine would provide another layer of protection.”
Hopefully Rogers and this column will bring some attention to those in the hospitality industry.