SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The former chief of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), the state agency responsible for employee health and safety standards, announced today that some provisions of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors' proposed "healthy buildings" ordinance are ill-defined and may actually increase exposure risks to COVID-19 for hotel workers who follow its mandates.
The ordinance, which is scheduled for the Supervisors' vote Tuesday (July 7), imposes arbitrary cleaning standards, mandating, for example, the repeated cleaning of low-touch hotel walls and chandeliers, exceeding Center for Disease Control and Prevention and California's Department of Public Health recommendations. It also demands that hotel workers clean occupied rooms when a guest stays multiple days, unless the occupant refuses daily cleaning, dramatically increasing potential exposure risks for employees.
"There is no need to increase the number of times a hotel employee must enter and clean a guest room when it is not changing occupants, risking exposure to the coronavirus should it be present," said Len Welsh, who led Cal/OSHA for eight years. "This ordinance appears well-intentioned, but some of its provisions could be thought out more carefully."
The ordinance, Cleaning and Disease Prevention Standards in Tourist Hotels and Large Commercial Office Buildings, was proposed by Supervisor Aaron Peskin on behalf of his supporters at labor union UniteHere Local 2. It was approved, 3-0, on June 29 by the Land Use and Transportation Committee, which made amendments before sending it to the full Board for Tuesday's vote.
The ordinance requires cleaning of some surfaces without justification from expert guidance, which concerns San Francisco hotels and many of the 25,000 hotel workers. Should this ordinance pass, because of the Supervisors' decision, San Francisco hotel employees could increase their exposure to COVID-19.
San Francisco hotels and the California Hotel and Lodging Association worked closely with CDC recommendations, Gov. Newsom, the California Department of Public Health, Cal/OSHA and San Francisco's public health office to develop health safety standards that exceed any other industry, short of hospitals. Those Clean + Safe guidelines were issued April 30, more than two months before Peskin introduced his ordinance, which came almost three weeks after Gov. Newsom allowed counties to reopen hotels.
The CHLA standards include:
- Customized COVID-19 plans for hotels
- Employee safety trainings in English & Spanish
- Clear and appropriate social distancing signage
- Delivery and use of personal protective equipment for employees
- Cleaning directions that keep employees and guests safe
The CHLA standards follow the California Department of Public Health, Cal/OSHA and the Center for Disease Control recommendations that have been utilized as guidance by 54 of 58 counties in California.
About the California Hotel & Lodging Association
Recognized as one of the most influential state lodging associations throughout the country, the California Hotel & Lodging Association's mission is to protect the rights and interests of owners and operators and be their indispensable business resource. Established in 1893, CHLA serves the unique interests of each segment of California's diverse lodging industry.
SOURCE California Hotel & Lodging Association