Can I Safely Stay in a Hotel?

Currently, the CDC recommends that you delay travel. Travel increases the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. If you must travel, be sure to adhere to local guidelines, get a test 1-3 days before leaving, and, if you’ve gotten the vaccine, wait 2 weeks after your second dose. 

But once you’re on the road, what about hotels?

Here are three situations when staying in a hotel is not recommended:

  1. If you are sick or have a positive COVID-19 test. Wait until you have completed your isolation period and symptoms have resolved.
  2. If you have had a recent COVID-19 exposure. Wait until your quarantine period is over.
  3. If you or a family member have a preexisting health condition that increases your risk.  Wait until you and the family member with the health condition are vaccinated.

Here are some tips to reduce your risk if you decide to stay in a hotel:

  • Use mobile or contact free check-in when available. 
  • Request early or late check in times to avoid times when the lobby may be crowded.
  • Consider ventilation.  Request a room with a window or balcony. When you arrive at the room, open a window or turn on the bathroom fan for 30 minutes.
  • Request a room that has been unoccupied for at least 24 hours. Respiratory droplets can remain in the air indoors for multiple hours. Ask the hotel how long they seal off the room between guests. 
  • Wear a tight-fitting, double-layer mask when you are in proximity of other guests or hotel staff. 
  • Ask about cleaning procedures in advance. Check hotel websites and online reviews or call ahead to ensure they are following disinfecting procedures.  
  • Self-park your car and skip valet services.
  • Avoid shared spaces in the hotel, especially where guests may remove masks to eat and drink, like lounges, bars, and dining areas.
  • Skip the daily cleaning for short stays. If you are staying longer, arrange to have your room cleaned while you are out or ask for fresh towels or supplies to be left at the entrance of your room.
  • Use the stairs and skip the elevator. If you have to ride in the elevator, only ride in the elevator with members of your party and always wear a mask.
  • Sanitize high touch surfaces.  Bring your own disinfecting wipes to wipe down things like TV remotes, light switches, and door knobs.
  • Skip the hotel gym or indoor pool or go when the facilities are not crowded and you can keep at least 6 feet of distance. In the gym, keep your mask on and sanitize machines before and after use. In the pool, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread in the water, but you should wear your mask on the pool deck and keep to your own lane. 

What do I do after traveling? 

The CDC recommends that you self-quarantine for 7 days after travel and avoid being around people who are at risk for severe COVID for 14 days to reduce the risk of spread.

Last update: February 25, 2021, 19:30 EST

Science review: SGB, SKB, ERS, JAB