Coronavirus Preparedness | Hostelling International USA

 

HI USA’s Commitments to Guest and Staff Safety during Coronavirus

There are many news stories about the coronavirus, and travelers are smart to be prepared. HI USA is taking coronavirus seriously and wants our guests to feel safe and be informed on the latest facts.

How are HI USA hostels responding to COVID-19, or novel coronavirus?

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The safety of our guests and staff is our top priority. Here are the steps that our hostels are taking to ensure guests can have a healthy, safe experience during their stay with us.

All our hostels around the United States have high standards of cleanliness, which helps to prevent the spread of illness, and we have additional health and safety protocols in place:

  • Schedule of frequent cleaning and disinfection of targeted areas (such as elevators, bathrooms)
  • Easy access to handwashing facilities and hand sanitizers
  • Quick response to spills, trash and other situations
  • Sanitation procedures for kitchens, and other common area facilities
  • Information and signs in hostels with guidance on healthy habits and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Regular communication and training with staff members about illness prevention, following the guidance from CDC, plus local officials.
  • Reduced number of guests per guestroom and rearrangement of sleeping spaces to create more distance between guests
  • Suspension of all regular tours, outings, community meals, and engagement programs for guests
  • Suspension of all community and educational programs for community members and our local partners

As we provide a shared-space environment, guest safety is a priority. If a guest appears visibly sick at check-in, we reserve the right to ask them to reschedule their stay and not check in. We can refer sick guests to the nearest medical facility or clinic.

If a guest starts to feel sick or develops symptoms during their stay with us, we ask them to call the hostel front desk and our staff will direct the guest to contact the nearest medical facility or clinic. We will also move the guest into a private guest room, if available, and limit their use of common spaces and amenities to allow sick guests to self-isolate.

 

Which HI USA Hostels Are Open?

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A number of hostels in large cities and several independently operated affiliate hostels are open to offer guests safe, affordable accommodations. Some hostels are accepting limited reservations for private guestrooms only. Hostels currently open include:

Out of an abundance of care for staff and guests and in response to local situations, HI USA has temporarily closed its small and mid-size hostels through April 30, 2020. HI USA will not open its summer seasonal hostels in Los Angeles South Bay, or in Cape Cod and the Islands this year.

Please note that the local conditions are rapidly evolving, sometimes daily. If you have questions, please contact the hostel directly.

 

What is the CDC Guidance about Travel in the United States?

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HI USA is following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), plus federal and local authorities.

The CDC has stated that as the coronavirus outbreak expands, the risk of individual exposure or passing on the infection to others will increase. Cases of COVID-19 and instances of community spread are reported in a growing number of states. The CDC also recommends that older travelers and adults with underlying health issues should avoid situations that may put them at increased risk of exposure.

Many communities now restrict large gatherings and have required restaurants, bars, and attractions to reduce or temporarily cease their operations to minimize the spread of infection. Residents and visitors in some locations, including the states of California, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and New York, are being asked to shelter-in-place, stay at home, or self-isolate for social distancing.

If you have questions about the virus, how to protect yourself, or where it may be present, the CDC shares regular updates on its Coronavirus Situation Summary site.

Be aware that the U.S. has halted incoming travel from highly contaminated regions and is performing enhanced airport screenings to help minimize the spread of the virus.

Some states and cities have declared what’s called a “state of emergency”. This does not mean it is unsafe to travel to that destination; instead, this declaration simply allows government officials to access additional funding and support for managing a temporary crisis, and to focus on fast responses without typical processes or regulations that could delay actions.

Travelers are strongly advised to research any local conditions or situations before they arrive in a city.

 

How can travelers protect themselves from COVID-19?

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COVID-19, or ‘novel coronavirus,’ is a respiratory illness that was first detected in China in December 2019. Symptoms include high fever, cough and difficulty breathing. The virus can be spread via person-to-person contact or from contact with contaminated surfaces. To protect yourself and others, practice these healthy hygiene habits:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you can’t wash your hands
  • Cough into the crook of your elbow
  • Sneeze into a tissue
  • Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose and eyes
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • If you are sick, stay at home or call a medical professional

 

What are HI USA’s reservation cancellation and refund policies?

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This public health situation is fast-evolving, and we understand that travelers may need to change their travel plans. HI USA has enacted cancellations and refund policies in accordance with the CDC & WHO positions, local government travel policies, and in alignment with the travel industry as a whole.

At this time travel within the U.S. is largely unrestricted, and our normal cancellation and refund policies apply unless a guest is traveling from a travel-restricted country. Our policies are subject to change in response to changes in the public health situation.

The following special cancellation policies are in effect for reserved stays through April 30, 2020.

Individual Travelers

These terms are for guests who booked their own stay, rather than booking through a travel agent or as a member of an organized tour, package, school group or other group.

To identify which policy applies to your reservation, refer to the room and rate type described in your confirmation e-mail.

  • Guests who booked through a third-party system such as Booking.com, Hostelworld.com or Expedia.com must contact that partner to change or cancel their reservation. Their booking terms will apply.
  • Guests who booked a “Flexible Rate” option may cancel their stay without penalty up to 24 hours before your check-in date.
  • Our “Best Rate” option does not allow for cancellation, unless the hostel is forced to close or the guest is arriving from a travel-restricted country.
  • Guests who booked a “Non-Refundable Rate” directly with HI USA and wish to cancel will receive a credit for a future stay.

Some US cities are starting to impose shelter-in-place orders to contain the spread of the infection. If you have a reservation at a hostel within one of these cities, you may check-out early or make a same-day cancellation within the 24-hour period ahead of your arrival date.

Group Travel

If you are a group organizer and wish to make changes to your group booking, please contact your HI USA Group Sales Manager or email sales@hiusa.org to discuss the options.

 

How can I reach HI USA if I have questions?

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Please reach out to emergency.prepare@hiusa.org for any questions you may have concerning measures we have taken for the coronavirus at our hostels. If you wish to change or cancel your reservation, please refer to the section above this one and follow the appropriate process for your booking.