WASHINGTON—In a letter to President-Elect Joe Biden’s transition team, Chip Rogers, president/CEO, American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), offered the organization’s member hotels as distribution points for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“America’s hotels stand ready to work alongside America’s governors as states continue to move forward in administrating the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said in the letter. “By quickly mobilizing an existing network of sites, hotels can help strengthen the delivery and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in communities across the country to better streamline and build on current state efforts.
“As you know, administering the vaccine on a national level will be a significant undertaking requiring innovative solutions and collaboration. To aid in the distribution, the hotel industry is asking that hotels be considered as an option for vaccine administration sites in partnership with public health departments.”
He pointed out that the industry has the infrastructure needed for distribution. “Hotels have existing infrastructure and operational capabilities to serve as vaccine administration sites and capacity to assist,” he said. “The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) under its ‘Hospitality for Hope’ initiative has the infrastructure in place to support public health agencies and private sector partners through a network of more than 20,000 hotels which could be quickly ready serve as locations to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Through this program, the hotel industry has already successfully partnered with federal and local governments to provide assistance to those in need, including frontline and emergency workers as well as state and municipal public health departments.”
He illustrated the industry’s other capabilities:
- Geographic reach: With more than 50,000 hotels in every state, including properties located in cities, suburbs and rural communities, hotels have the geographic reach to support a wide distribution of the vaccine.
- Available Capacity and Operate 24/7: Hotels have private rooms, meeting rooms, conference and ballrooms, as well as outside areas. They are equipped for 24-hour operations to allow for round-the-clock vaccination administration. This will also ensure there is adequate space to maintain physical distancing, capacity limits and other safety protocols. Further, as hotels are currently running at less than 50% occupancy rates, families or individuals who might be traveling to receive the vaccine will have access to comfortable and flexible lodging options should they need.
- Comprehensive cleanliness protocols: The industry has also adopted AHLA’s Safe Stay, an enhanced cleaning initiative that builds on the hotel industry’s long-standing commitment and operations procedures to ensure the safety of guests during the ongoing public health crisis.
- Infrastructure: Hotels also offer ample parking and are often accessible from major transportation networks, including highways and public transportation routes. Hotels also have outdoor capabilities that can provide safe, weather-proof vaccination services where parking lots could be utilized for vaccination administration, similar to drive-thru testing sites.
- Refrigeration Capabilities: With many hotels being temperature controlled and the majority of hotels having refrigeration capabilities to store vaccines, issues concerning vaccine storage will be limited or can be quickly addressed to meet the requirements necessary for safe and effective vaccine storage.