Juhana Tikkanen

The global coronavirus pandemic will likely change aspects of the hospitality business forever. Travelling (especially routine business travel) has always presented challenges to staying healthy – one reason business travelers tend to get sick more often than others. It’s difficult to stay healthy when travelling for a number of reasons that include a tendency to work longer hours, forego exercise, eat less nutritious food and exposure to lots of people and environments. Stress, lack of exercise and poor food choices reduce the body’s immune system and ability to fight off illness. And viruses such as COVID-19 can be deadly for people without robust immune systems.

Travel presents a particular challenge when a disease or virus is spread through the air as public environments such as airports, airplanes, restaurants and hotels typically place people in close proximity to each other, making airborne transmission easier and more likely. The coronavirus COVID-19 is transmitted via air as well as contact with surfaces that have been touched by an infected person, making it especially difficult for travelers to avoid coming in contact with. It also creates a difficult challenge for hotels to prevent virus transmission to staff and guests.

The health challenge in hotels – addressing the causes

There are plenty of contagious diseases that we live with everyday such as the flu, colds or strep throat. Although similar in many ways to those respiratory viruses, COVID-19 is from an entirely different family of viruses and behaves somewhat differently, including an incubation period of up to two weeks before signs appear and a higher mortality rate. Efforts in China to limit spread of the infection through addressing the methods of transmission have proven successful so far. That means enforcing strict practices of personal hygiene, regularly disinfecting public area surfaces and practicing ‘social distancing’ to prevent airborne transmission.


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