Workers Report Increases of COVID-19 Cases at LA Hotels as Industry Continues to Reopen
Los Angeles, CA: On Wednesday dozens of hotel workers protested for Los Angeles County to pause reopening of hotels to tourists.
The demonstration drew attention to the surge of workers who since returning to work have tested positive for COVID-19, experienced COVID-19 symptoms, or have quarantined because of contact with guests or co-workers who tested positive for COVID-19.
“UNITE HERE Local 11 has learned of at least 85 hotel workers and guests who have either tested positive or have undergone quarantine since the reopening of the hotel sector to tourists and leisure guests on June 12th. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors needs to put the health and safety of workers and guests first,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.
The union believes the true number of people who have contracted the virus or who should have quarantined due their potential exposure is significantly higher, since workers are fearful to report their symptoms or diagnoses and hotels have failed to adequately trace guests and workers who have had contact with COVID-19-positive individuals.
During the protest, workers also raised concerns that hotels have failed to inform guests when a worker or fellow guest has tested positive or has been forced to quarantine.
“I am very concerned that when my hotel opens, I will put myself and my family at risk, I have my son, elderly brother, and grand-daughter living with me. They are my everything. I am scared to go back to work,” said Luz Rizo, a housekeeper at the W West Beverly Hills for nearly 20 years.
Earlier this month, a survey conducted UNITE HERE Local 11 with nearly 2,300 hotel workers found that 75 % of hotel workers do not believe hotels are ready to open. The union has sent a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors expressing alarm about the rushed timeline of the sector’s reopening.