Visit Berkeley delivers masks, hand sanitizer to local hotels

Masks delivered to Berkeley hotels
Sunny Shen/File
Tourism organization Visit Berkeley acquired 168 gallons of hand sanitizer and 29,000 masks, which were delivered to local hotels, through its membership with the California Hotel and Lodging Association.

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Ahead of the expected August UC Berkeley move-in season, tourism organization Visit Berkeley delivered personal protective equipment, or PPE, to local hotels June 23 and 24.

According to Visit Berkeley spokesperson Dan Marengo, Visit Berkeley acquired the PPE — which included 168 gallons of hand sanitizer and 29,000 masks for Berkeley hotels — through its membership with the California Hotel and Lodging Association, or CHLA.

Marengo added that 20 Berkeley hotels received PPE, including Hotel Shattuck Plaza, Bancroft Hotel, Berkeley City Club and Graduate Berkeley.

Graduate Berkeley spokesperson Caroline Stephens said in an email that the hotel plans to use the Visit Berkeley PPE delivery for both guests and employees.

Stephens added that Graduate Berkeley is making adjustments ahead of the August move-in season, including enhanced cleaning procedures and training for employees.

Visit Berkeley first acquired its PPE delivery as a pilot destination in the CHLA “Clean + Safe” initiative, Marengo said in an email. Marengo added that the delivery also included information on applying for the initiative.

CHLA spokesperson Pete Hillan said in an email that the “Clean + Safe” initiative, along with concurrent CHLA guidelines, was first released in April in advance of June reopenings for hotels and lodging statewide.

According to Hillan, the initiative, which now has more than 450 participants, aggregated public health guidelines to establish standards for guest and employee cleanliness and changing guest experiences, as well as workplace cleaning and safety.

When PPE from the state became available in May, CHLA submitted equipment orders to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, or Cal OES, Hillan said. 

Cal OES spokesperson Elaine Kong said the office works to supply PPE to individual counties — including Alameda County — which then dictate how the equipment is distributed locally.

According to Kong, Alameda County has received more than 1.4 million masks as of press time.

Kong said the PPE is then distributed across different sectors, including the hotel and lodging industry. 

According to Marengo, that industry has also faced an economic downturn in Berkeley.

Marengo said Visit Berkeley found that local hotels have seen bookings decrease by 75% or more amid the pandemic, with nonessential travel being restricted per Alameda County COVID-19 guidelines.

Marengo also noted that some Berkeley hotels are popular for events such as meetings and weddings, which bring in additional revenue.

Berkeley hotels, however, are expected to see an uptick in reservations for the August move-in season, according to Marengo.

Although Marengo said the PPE delivery was not solely in anticipation of students’ return to campus, Visit Berkeley wanted to distribute supplies well before the expected move in.

“While it won’t be the normal mid-August situation … local hotels are definitely expecting more activity,” Marengo said in the email.

Contact Hanna Lykke at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @hannaathearstDC.