The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced hotel employees should receive an early COVID-19 vaccination due to their close proximity to guests.

According to WESH.com, the latest federal guidance from the CDC prioritizes “Traveler Accommodation” under its essential workers category, which elevates hotel workers to Phase 1c.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

While the CDC recommendation does not mandate that states prioritize hotel workers, it put them in a category below frontline essential workers, but in the same group as religious organizations, utilities and various store retailers.

American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) President Chip Rogers said the move added “another layer of protection” to employees working with international and domestic customers. Last month, Rogers urged the CDC to move hotel workers into Phase 1c.

“This is a significant achievement that directly impacts the health and safety of hotel workers across the country,” Rogers said. “It also recognizes that hotel employees continue to be on the front lines of the pandemic.”

“Travel and tourism are critical drivers of the American economy, and while travel demand has hit record lows, ensuring hotel employees are prioritized during the vaccine rollout will help keep both employees and guests safe when it becomes safe to travel and resume meetings and events once again,” Rogers continued.

Since the coronavirus outbreak began, hotels across the U.S. have opened their doors to health care workers and first responders, as well as allowing local governments to use unoccupied portions of the properties for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

In the U.S., the hotel industry recorded its worst year to date, hitting all-time lows in occupancy and revenue per available room in 2020. The study also found there were over one billion unsold room nights for the first time in history.

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