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After a long stretch of simply trying to stay afloat, hotels in many regions of the country have bounced back close to normal occupancy rates. In theory that would be great news, but unfortunately, several prominent hotel chains in the U.S. haven’t revamped the size of housekeeping staffs to account for the higher number of guests, The Guardian reports

While many hotel housekeeping employees are still awaiting a recall to work in any capacity, even those who have come back are often faced with limited schedules and over-strenuous workloads. 

Housekeeper Nuris Veras Merlos detailed her recent experiences in her return to work — noting the increased exertion and time it takes to clean rooms under new protocols and limited staff. Currently, she only works one to two days per week. 

In an interview with reporters, Veras Merlos shared that prior to the pandemic, tasks mostly included touch-up cleaning. Now, though, guests forgo cleaning during their stay and housekeepers are sent in only to turnover rooms. When they enter, they face piles of towels and dirty linens and floors that are sometimes so wet and dirty, they need to be heavily scrubbed. Veras Merlos explains that tasks not only take more work, they require stronger chemicals in order to get surfaces clean enough for the next guests. 

Multiple hotel chains have made recent announcements regarding cuts to housekeeping services, including Host Hotels and Resorts offering housekeeping services as an opt-in amenity as opposed to assumed everyday work. Other chains such as Hilton and Pebblebrook also announced significant cuts.

In the wake of these large scale cutdown, labor union Unite Hire released a report documenting the impact of these decisions on a nationwide scale:
• The loss of 39 percent of housekeeping positions (180,000 estimated)
• $4.8 billion in cumulative lost wages
• Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of the projected afflicted employees would be people of color

In more optimistic housekeeping news, IEHA is hosting the 32nd annual Housekeeping Olympics, an inspiring and fun challenge for those in the health care, hospitality, facilities management and residential cleaning industries. The event is a great way to recognize the great staffs working inside facilities. Registration is still open until Aug. 21. For more information, click here