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Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state and local advisories before scheduling trips.

Armed with Lysol disinfectant spray, a 100-count box of latex gloves, masks both reusable and disposable, two pocket-sized bottles of hand sanitizer and an infrared, no-touch forehead thermometer, I recently hit the open road on a National Parks tour that would include several hotels stays. Wondering how the lodging industry has adapted to COVID-19? Keep reading.

RELATED: 10 amazing National Parks photos to inspire your next trip

Big hotel chains have already responded to the crisis publicly. Marriott, for example, recently launched its Marriott Global Cleanliness Council to address safety concerns due to COVID-19. Its efforts include enhanced technology to counter virus spread, minimizing guest contact and new food safety standards. Hilton has gone to similar lengths to enhance guest safety with its CleanStay program, including guest-accessible disinfecting wipes at entrances and high traffic areas, PPE for team members and extra disinfection of top 10 high-touch areas in guest rooms, among other changes. As you may imagine, the guest experience looks a little different these days.

Viva Las Vegas

Wynn Las Vegas

I’m based in Los Angeles and had to swing through Vegas en route to Great Basin National Park in northern Nevada. The location of Wynn Las Vegas on the lesser-trafficked north end of the Strip doesn’t guarantee safety, but that’s why I chose it. I also was impressed by its enhanced safety standards. For example, checkpoints have been set up at every entrance that automatically scan guest temperatures as they walk in/out of the resort (guests registering a 100.4 degree temperature or higher will be escorted to their guest room for testing), a sticker was affixed to my guest room door indicating no one had entered it since last cleaned, room wipes and two disposable masks awaited my arrival (masks are mandatory at indoor public spaces throughout Nevada and the cleaning crew at the Wynn replenishes masks for guests daily). Guests are limited to no more than four persons in an elevator at a time.

There were changes throughout the resort, as well. The pool, for example, was limited to half capacity (this meant getting on a waiting list, but it was well worth it and a feature I wish Vegas resorts would continue) while all Wynn restaurants required advance reservations and forbid congregating inside the restaurants while waiting for a table. At Asian eatery Red 8, for example, QR codes were offered in lieu of menus. I always chose to eat either very early or near closing to ensure I had plenty of space away from people.

Meanwhile, casino floors throughout the Strip had gone to various lengths to promote guest safety, including turning off every other slot machine in some instances (machines at the Wynn are wiped down hourly) and limiting the number of people at table games. The craps tables at MGM Resorts, for example, limited players and included protective shields between players.

Lastly, the Vegas Strip is famous for its digital billboards promoting megawatt entertainment and since shows right now are dark, many of them had been transformed with safety messages like, “No mask, no dice,” #StrongerTogether and “We don’t have a lot of rules in Vegas, but wearing a mask is one of them.” Although social distancing protocol is everywhere, it was admittedly hard to follow given how busy it was both in the resorts and up and down the Strip.


Americana Modern Hotel

My time on the road also included a visit to Lassen Volcanoes National Park and Lake Tahoe, and this meant additional hotel stays. Basecamp South Lake Tahoe on the Cal-Nevada border offers a chic, motel experience designed to delight young travelers. Because there are no indoor hallways in motel-style lodging, and no need for able-bodied people to use elevators, social distancing was easy. However, some changes had been made. The complimentary breakfast that takes place in the lobby had been temporarily axed, the number of people allowed to check in at a time had been limited and the onsite restaurant only allowed for takeout. Thankfully the hotel is situated around two expansive courtyards filled with fire pits, bench seating and plenty of pretty lights that glow at night.

Meanwhile, the Americana Modern Hotel in downtown Redding boasted a similar rustic chic vibe and a motel setting that allowed for easy social distancing and some restrictions, including a reduced complimentary breakfast that all guests must take back to their rooms and limited numbers of people in the lobby.

Tagged: California, COVID-19, Las Vegas

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