Labor Committee approves measures to protect guests & employees
TRENTON – Acting to protect the health and safety in two of New Jersey’s most significant sectors of its economy – tourism and gaming – the Senate Labor Committee today approved two bills sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney that would require the adoption of sanitation standards for hotels and casinos to protect against the coronavirus.
The bills, S-2478 covering casinos and S-2479 for hotels, would require the Commissioner of Health to set practices and procedures to keep the facilities clean and ensure the confidence of guests and patrons. The protocols would include the sanitization of each hotel and casino in the state.
“These standards will help to balance the need to return to work, and restart the economy with the safety of the workers, guests and patrons by codifying CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Hotels and casinos are anchor attractions for two of the most significant sectors of New Jersey’s economy, tourism and gaming. They should be kept safe and clean for workers and guests.”
The standards would include disinfecting rooms, elevators, surfaces, kitchens, gaming floors and other high-traffic areas, as well as training workers on safe practices. They would also require the continuation of social-distancing standards, including a prohibition of gatherings of more than 10 people.
The standards for casinos would be applied once they are reopened.
“Hotels are high traffic, high interaction areas, with New Jersey welcoming more than 116 million visitors in 2019,” said Senator Sweeney. “The comeback from the shutdown will be a sustained struggle for the hospitality industry, including hotels. These standards will improve the safety of guests and reassure them of protections.”
The Bureau of Housing Inspection in the Department of Community Affairs would distribute the guidelines developed by the Department of Health and inspect each hotel in the state to enforce compliance, according to the bill.
Both bills were approved with committee votes of 3 – 2.