How COVID affected hospitality security in 2020 and how its bouncing back in 2021
Hospitality security is often the most challenging type of assignment. Hotel guests can arrive from anywhere in the world, particularly in New York City. They will touch common surfaces, linger in registration areas, pass each other in confined hallways.
With the onset of the global COVID pandemic, reduced international travel severely impacted the hotel business. Fear of infection also drove a significant decline in hotel stays.
For much of 2020 the hotel industry was struggling to stay in business. Hotel staffing was reduced. Entire floor and wings of hotels were closed.
Subsequently hospitality security assignments disappeared during the first half of 2020.
As the year progressed, with more effective COVID therapeutics, and later the appearance and distribution of highly effective vaccines, states and cities began to ease away from complete social lockdowns to an opening up. International travel was resumed from certain countries, and conventions brought more travelers to New York.
The opening up resulted in resumed need for hostelry, accommodations, meeting areas, dining facilities. These activities always require a consideration of security, particularly considering presence of COVID.
With foresight, GSS developed hotel security protocols, which complied with the New York state Forward Safety Plan, for maintaining social distancing, face coverings, and personal interactions at a distance.
GSS shouldered COVID protection as part in parcel with regular hotel security duties. Each hospitality assignment, in addition to security personnel, has a GSS COVID Compliance Officer (CCO), responsible for establishing and enforcing safety protocols, training hospitality staff, and monitoring compliance. The GSS CCO has successfully completed C19CO training.
Early this year GSS started receiving calls inquiring about our hospitality security expertise. COVID is always a query topic, and discussions with these potential clients indicate planning to resume hospitality with COVID a significant topic.
With COVID threats, the COVID Compliance Officer modifies normal hospitality practices to adhere to the New York State Forward Safety Plan. Social distancing, food and beverages served by properly protected personnel using disposable utensils and plates.
Breakfast buffets are considered unsafe, as are public water fountains. Room service during the pandemic is considered the safest dining option in the hotel, and all hotel personnel engaged in this practice from cooks to delivery personnel are closely screened and monitored. GSS advises clients on sanitary protocol for the safety of hotel guests and hotel staff.
Hotel visitors require completion of NY state approved questionnaires, and temperature scans. Signage is posted at all entrance locations, reminding visitors of social distancing requirements and required face covering. Hand sanitizer stations are located at all entrance and exit locations, as well as in bathrooms.
With vaccinations underway at full speed, and recovered COVID patients also having had immunizations, GSS expects increasing relaxing of COVID related restrictions. We expect to significantly bounce back later in 2021 for a robust hospitality security practice, owing in part to our careful planning for COVID protection protocol for our clients.
Some experts predict herd immunity to be achieved by the end of 2021, signaling return to normal hospitality security business.