The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to raise our demanding standards to an even higher level with new protocols for the current circumstances. We have elevated our cleanliness standards and are changing hospitality norms. As a part of Marriott International's family, we have put in place a multi-pronged approach designed to meet the health and safety challenges presented by COVID-19 as outlined in Marriott's Commitment to Clean. These protocols will continue to adapt to current needs, in consultation with federal, state and local authorities and health experts.
A leader in medical research and one of the top-ranked academic medical centers in the United States, VUMC provides counsel for on-site operating procedures, advises on development of training and educational materials for associates (STARS), and provides expert guidance for standards and protocols relating to the unique, multi-faceted aspects of Gaylord Hotels' convention and resort business.
VUMC was selected both for its nationally recognized expertise in infectious disease control and because of its local ties to Nashville, which is home to Gaylord Opryland, the original Gaylord Hotels property. Both VUMC and Gaylord Opryland are beacons in the Nashville community, and both are dedicated to providing their clientele with distinctive services of the highest caliber.
We use disinfectant products that have been approved and certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other international government environmental agencies, as applicable, for use against emerging viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Our enhanced cleaning protocols adhere to the recommendations set forth in the EPA Emerging Pathogen Policy regarding cleaning and sanitization. We are also following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and the guidance of our state and local health authorities regarding COVID-19.
In addition to all Gaylord Hotels associates (STARS) completing new and additional training to ensure a safe and clean environment, every hotel has identified dedicated hygiene specialists who are hyper-focused on the health and safety of our guests. In conjunction with this team, every hotel* has on-site medical personnel -- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and/or a Registered Nurse (RN) on-site.
*Attractions are supported by local EMT or the local resort's on-site medical personnel.
We have implemented extra-stringent daily cleaning procedures that are focused heavily on high touch areas. In public spaces, Gaylord Hotels has added to its already rigorous cleaning protocols, the requirement that surfaces are treated with hospital-grade disinfectants and that this cleaning is done with increased frequency. Public spaces, including, but not limited to, the lobby, aquatic areas, fitness centers, and meetings and convention spaces, have dedicated staff to sanitize frequently throughout the day. In guest rooms, we have added detailed cleaning practices, requiring all surfaces to be thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants. We also are placing disinfecting wipes in each guest room for guests' personal use.
Each hotel is required to have a hygiene plan. STARS are required to be aware of and follow guidance for personal hygiene, physical distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Unvaccinated STARS are required to wear masks. For fully vaccinated STARS, masks are optional. Hand sanitizing stations for guest use are placed in high traffic areas and public spaces.
Where required by local and state mandates, occupancy limits and seating capacities have been reduced to allow for appropriate social distancing. We have added partitions at select front desks, concierge stands, and food and beverage service lines to provide an extra level of precaution for our guests. For the protection of our guests and STARS, we have implemented "upon request only" housekeeping service at select properties. Masks and gloves are available to all STARS.
Guests can choose to use their phones to check in, access their rooms, make special requests and order room service that is specially packaged and delivered right to the door without contact. These "touchless" services can all be done quickly via the Marriott Bonvoy mobile app.
At Gaylord Hotels, food handlers and supervisors are trained on safe food preparation and service practices. The company's food and beverage operations are required to conduct self-inspections using its food safety standards as guidelines, and compliance are validated by independent audits. We have also enhanced sanitation guidelines and training videos for STARS that include hygiene and sanitizing practices. In addition, the company has modified operational practices for in-room dining and has designed new approaches to buffets.
A comprehensive protocol for cleaning and sanitizing has been designed to keep attendees safe. Where appropriate, these protocols can be adjusted in partnership with our meeting planners. For example, seating capacities and floor plans may be reviewed on an event-by-event basis to ensure adequate physical distancing that follows local fire department, as well as state and local health authority guidelines. Convention public space attendants are dedicated to regular cycles of sanitization in high-touch point areas. In addition, our industry-leading team of sales and event experts are in place to support meeting planners and attendees in navigating the current meetings landscape.
All STARS are required to have their temperature taken prior to entering their work area. Anyone with a temperature at or above 100.4°F or exhibiting any known symptoms of COVID-19 (following the definition of a reportable illness per the CDC) are not allowed to work. Unvaccinated STARS are required to wear maks. For fully vaccinated STARS, masks are optional. STARS are trained on how to respond swiftly and report all presumed on-property cases of COVID-19 to the local health department. If the property is alerted to a presumptive case of COVID-19 at the resort, the property will work with the local health department to follow the appropriate recommended actions.
Electrostatic sprayers are being used to apply hospital-grade disinfectant to high touch surfaces including hotel lobbies, public spaces, and heart-of-house. We are using the highest classification of disinfectants recommended by the CDC and WHO to treat known pathogens.
Thermal scanners are deployed at each STAR entry point to allow security officers to conduct non-invasive temperature checks of all STARS. Those with a temperature at or over 100.4°F (38°C) will be subject to secondary screening. Those confirmed to have a temperature at or over 100.4°F (38°C) will undergo further medical assessment and be directed to appropriate medical care.
Guests can choose to use their phones to check in, access their rooms, make special requests and order room service that will be specially packaged and delivered right to the door without contact. These “touchless” services can all be done quickly via the Marriott Bonvoy mobile app. Note: mobile key is currently available for all Gaylord Hotels properties except Gaylord Opryland.
All Gaylord Hotels have certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and/or a Registered Nurse (RN) on-site. If the hotel is alerted to a suspected case of COVID-19, the guest will be directed toward appropriate medical care through our staff, who follow the direction of local health authorities. We will then conduct additional cleaning and disinfecting protocols of all areas that the guest may have been in during their visit.
In the event there is a guest with a confirmed case of COVID-19, that guest room is removed from service. Similar protocols will be used to address offices and other back of house areas.
Electrostatic sprayers are being used to sanitize areas such as public spaces and back-of-the house. Additionally, hand sanitizer stations are prominently placed throughout the resorts.