On April 28, Governor Baker announced the creation of a Reopening Advisory Board to advise the administration on strategies to reopen the economy in phases based on health and safety metrics. The board is comprised of three public health officials, three municipal officials, and 11 leaders from the business community across the state.
In addition to the original board, a separate panel has been formed to represent the state’s restaurant, hotel, and tourism industries. The group’s primary goal is to propose safety guidelines and protocols that businesses and customers will need to adhere to once these industries reopen. The group which consists of more than a dozen Massachusetts restaurateurs, hotel executives, business leaders and public officials, has already met twice to aid the Baker administration's efforts to safely reopen these three key industries.
Both restaurants and hotels are scheduled to open in Phase 2 of Governor Baker’s reopening plan, while the majority of tourist sites (casino floors, museums, stadiums, performance venues) are scheduled to open in Phase 3 or Phase 4.
Bob Luz, panel member and president and CEO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, said for Boston.com that, in respect to restaurants, the safety guidelines the panel has proposed will align with the public’s expectations. They’ll be adhering to CDC guidelines that recommend six feet between tables in restaurants, as well as parties no greater than 10 people.
“There’s going to be good signage, there’s going to be a lot of hand washing, there’s going to be masks on employees to start — all those good things that I don’t think is going to shock anybody,” Luz said.
At the same time, hotels in Boston and around the world are also working on developing new standards to enhance cleaning and ensure guest safety.
In a recent Washington Post webinar, Hilton President and CEO Chris Nassetta talked about the hotel chain’s plan to introduce a low-touch experience, with a digital check-in and keys. “You won’t need to go to the front desk to check in, and there will be contactless entry”. Guests will break a seal when they enter a room, so they will know that it has been cleaned to the highest standards — Hilton has partnered with Lysol and the Mayo Clinic to develop “hospital-grade hygiene protocols” in order to safeguard team members as well as customers during COVID-19. In addition, guests will be able to run everything — from temperature, TV, and lighting controls to ordering room service — from their app. Restaurants in the hotel will feature more single-serving grab-and-go items “at least in the short term,” he said, and room service could be “knock and drop.”
Jim Coyle of customer experience consulting company Coyle Hospitality, said in a recent NPR article that guests at most hotels will start seeing disinfectants applied more liberally and visibly for cleanliness and for psychological reassurance.
"When you get a guest key, you will see the staff members," he says. "They will conspicuously wipe the guest key in front of you before they hand it to you. When you arrive at a desk, you're going to see hotel staff wiping the desk clean in front of you even though there's nothing on it."
If you want to keep up with Boston's reopening efforts, the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB) has put together a comprehensive webpage with COVID-19 information and resources. The page also includes recordings of their webinar series that are providing ongoing discussions on the current situation in Boston as it relates to the tourism and meeting industry.
For regular updates on the MCCA’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, please go to https://sb.signatureboston.com/mcca-covid-19
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