Aerosol transmission has proven to be a major factor in the spread of COVID-19, and the IUF welcomes the recent WHO statement acknowledging that “[t]he virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings, where people tend to spend longer periods of time. This is because aerosols remain suspended in the air or travel farther than 1 metre (long-range).”
This updated WHO advice comes on the heels of a webinar last month co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the IUF on the safe operation of hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus was on modes of virus transmission, ventilation and cleaning routines as well as the steps necessary to protect workers and guests. Representatives from AccorInvest and Melia and academic experts joined representatives from the WHO, ILO and IUF to discuss strategies for the safe re-opening of hotels.
Key messages from the webinar included:
- Regular cleaning once per day is enough to remove the virus that may be on surfaces (CDC guidance) including in guest rooms. When room cleaning is limited to post check-outs, workloads increase and can cause musculoskeletal injuries (Dr. Lisa Brosseau, ScD, CIH)
- Hotel guidelines should be focused on providing tools for understanding aerosol transmission, assessing ventilation in every space, considering workers’ and guests’ risks, and selecting methods that minimize those risks (Dr. Robert Harrison, MD, MPH, University of California San Francisco)
Halshka Graczyk, Technical Specialist on Occupational Safety and Health at the ILO, stated, “Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) must be at the heart of COVID-19 recovery and return to work policies for all sectors. Return to work policies should be informed by a human-centered approach that puts rights and international labour standards at the heart of economic, social and environmental strategies and ensures that policy guidance is embedded in national occupational safety and health systems.”