San Francisco Sets Nationwide Standard for Hotel Cleaning and Safety with Healthy Buildings Ordinance

For Immediate Release: July 7, 2020

Contact: Ted Waechter / 919-636-1124 / [email protected]


San Francisco Sets Nationwide Standard for Hotel Cleaning and Safety with Healthy Buildings Ordinance

After Disastrous Reopenings in Las Vegas and Florida, UNITE HERE Local 2 Says San Francisco is National Leader on Requiring Hotels to Prioritize Cleaning Over Profits


SAN FRANCISCO – UNITE HERE Local 2, the hotel workers’ union, today praised the Board of Supervisors’ leadership in setting the country’s strongest cleaning and safety standards for hotel reopening. The Healthy Buildings Ordinance – which requires cleaning and safety measures recommended by the World Health Organization, including daily room cleaning – passed unanimously. The union had said that San Francisco should not let hotels reopen without strong COVID-19 safety standards, warning that while shortcuts could pad hotel profits, they would endanger workers’ safety and San Francisco’s reputation as a safe place to visit.

“By setting the country’s strongest standards for hotel reopening, San Francisco has positioned itself as the top destination for travelers concerned with cleaning and safety after COVID-19,” said Anand Singh, President of UNITE HERE Local 2. “It’s no secret that hotel companies could save millions by avoiding the World Health Organization’s guidelines, and when hotels were allowed to set their own reopening standards in Las Vegas and Florida, they actually reduced cleaning services, public health guidance went unenforced, and case rates soared. By requiring hotels to prioritize cleaning over profit, San Francisco is taking leadership to protect hotel workers and rebuild travelers’ trust that our city is the cleanest, safest place to visit.”

The Board of Supervisors’ Healthy Buildings Ordinance will adopt recommendations from the World Health Organization and others for deeper, more frequent cleaning in tourist hotels – including daily room cleaning – and forbid retaliation against workers who speak out about unsafe conditions. This emergency ordinance will go into effect on July 17 and be in effect for 60 days; passage is expected of an ordinance to make these cleaning and safety standards permanent. The Healthy Buildings Ordinance also sets safety standards for office buildings and is supported by SEIU Local 87, the janitors’ union.

“As housekeepers, we know that the right way to reopen the hotel is to clean more, not less,” said Joanne Liu, a housekeeper at Marriott’s St. Regis hotel and a member of UNITE HERE Local 2 who has been out of work since mid-March. “My family has no savings in the bank, so of course I want to go back to work, but I want to go back to work in a safe way. After COVID-19, I wouldn’t feel safe to let a room go days without disinfection before I clean it. My coworkers and I fought for strong cleaning and safety standards so we can protect our health and provide for our families.”

UNITE HERE Local 2 represents 14,000 hospitality workers in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, including nearly 9,000 hotel workers. Ninety-five percent of members are unemployed due to COVID-19.


UNITE HERE Local 2 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents 14,000 members working in the hotel, food service, and airport industries in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, including 9,000 hotel workers. Learn more on Twitter @UniteHereLocal2 or at