Marriott CEO says facial coverings are fundamental

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Marriott CEO says facial coverings are fundamental
Photo Credit: Space Cat/Shutterstock

Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson highlighted mask wearing as a key component of the hospitality sector’s comeback during a virtual forum hosted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association on Thursday.

Sorenson called facial coverings “a significant part of how we earn confidence from the consumer.”

“This issue has gotten far too politicized, which is a tragedy,” said Sorenson. “And it’s complicated from a government perspective, because what are you permitted to actually require in a country like the U.S., where you’ve got a strong sense of personal liberty? 

“It’s also complicated from a business perspective. When you’ve got a hotel full of guests on Memorial Day weekend, you’re going to have a percentage of those guests that are going to want everyone wearing masks. And you’re going to have a percentage of guests that say, ‘I’m not worried about this.’”

According to Sorenson, lax mask protocols will likely cause many guests to pull back on travel and opt to stay home. 

“We’re seeing not just the hotel business, but the airlines and restaurants sort of wrestle with what role is it of theirs to police,” he added. “I think it’s something for the industry to [focus on]. We have influence … to make sure we are leaning toward the most cautious set of rules on cleanliness and mask wearing.”

Sorenson’s comments come on the heels of Nevada’s decision to mandate that all Nevadans and tourists wear face coverings in public spaces. Las Vegas gaming and hospitality giants Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts expressed support of the move. Previously, Nevada gaming regulators only required players to wear masks at tables with no plexiglass partition.

California, North Carolina and Washington have also passed mask-wearing mandates.

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