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Safer Practices for Lodging Operations Guide

This article contains guidance from Buncombe County Environmental Health on safety and best practices for lodging businesses during COVID-19. 

Click on the links below to jump to different sections of the video:

Recommendations for Safer Practices While in Operation

  • Develop written standard operating procedures to facilitate training.
  • Advise guests during the check-in process to notify the front desk and ask for a manager if they become symptomatic during their stay
  • Guests who become symptomatic should place a “Do Not Disturb,” sign on their door.
  • Staff should not enter these rooms while they are occupied.
  • Advise any guests or employees who are symptomatic to notify their medical provider (if available) or any local Urgent Care facility so they can be connected with resources within the community.
  • Contact Buncombe County Environmental Health at
  • for any questions regarding basic sanitation.  See attached contact information for local Environmental Health Staff.
  • Buncombe County COVID-19 Self Checker

Requirements for Food Service in Lodging Establishments

  • No buffets or customer self-serve areas allowed at this time. Employees may serve guests food or offer prepackaged food in lieu of self-service areas or buffets.
  • Employees who are serving food should not have direct contact with the guests (guests should not be able to touch their hands).  Food should be placed on a surface for the guest to then retrieve it in order to maintain social distancing guidelines.
  • Practice the 3 W’s: Wash hands frequently, wait 6 feet apart and wear cloth masks as required.

Note: regularly disinfect high touch surfaces throughout the facility and commonly shared areas (examples: shuttles, railings, light switches, handles, and remote controls.) Based on CDC Guidance as of 3/18/20

How to clean and disinfect:

  • Surfaces
    • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection for products used. Clean hands ( immediately after gloves are removed.
    • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
      • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted. Minimum contact time of 1 minute for 1000ppm concentration for bleach is required in order to be effective.  Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
        • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
        • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
      • Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens (list is available at are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
    • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floors, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination, if present, and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely, or
    • Use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims (examples are available at ) that are suitable for porous surfaces.

Clothing, towels, linens and other items that go in the laundry

  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
    • If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
    • If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
    • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.

Hand hygiene and other preventive measures

  • Employees should clean hands often, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
  • Employees should follow normal preventive actions while at work and home including recommended hand hygiene and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Additional key times to clean hands include:
      • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
      • After using the restroom
      • Before eating or preparing food
      • After contact with animals or pets
      • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)

If you have any other questions, you may contact Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services Environmental Health via email at or by phone at 828-250-5016.  For information and real time updates on the COVID-19 response please visit 

County Seal

Additional Guidance:


  1. Guidance from state regarding housing for isolation and quarantine:
  2. How to wash hands: (
  3. EPA guide for disinfectant:
  4. Guidance on disinfectant: (
  5. Stay at home:
  6. Self-checker:
  7. BCHHS Screening checklist
  8. BCHHS Screening log