New Jersey Requires Daily Housekeeping. Hotels Want That Repealed.

New Jersey passed a law requiring daily housekeeping during the pandemic. It goes so far as to require that sheets are changed daily. Hotels have become a dirty mess to save costs – checking guests into rooms that haven’t been cleaned and letting trash pile up in the hallways.

Yet the justification for New Jersey’s law was always absurd. Requiring a changing of sheets during a guest’s stay wasn’t going to limit the spread of Covid-19 because you aren’t getting Covid from your own sheets.

The law was passed in June 2020. If Covid is really the reason it persists, it’s as though we’ve learned nothing in the past two years. More likely this is meant to support housekeepers and the unions that represent them.

This is one cases where the interests of unions and customers are aligned. Even where housekeeping returns to hotels ‘on request’ the dirty little secret is chains are allowing hotels to do little more than take out the trash. The law requires full housekeeping, at least an an option (that guests can opt out of).

[T]he state Department of Health issued a “guidance memo” in response to the public’s concerns that the law forces more interactions with housekeeping staff possibly spreading the virus. Guests can request fresh linens and make their bed themselves if they prefer no contact, according to the memo from state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.

“Because guests may choose to request daily cleaning by hotel staff at any time, hotels should always maintain sufficient staffing levels at all times to ensure that each and every occupied guest room can be cleaned by staff,” the commissioner’s memo said. “Additionally, because hotel staff are trained in cleaning, hotels should not encourage or incentivize the option for guests to clean their own rooms.”

Hotels argue that the law should be repealed for two reasons,

  1. It’s costly “at a time when the industry is still recovering” which isn’t persuasive considering hotels have been full at high rates and it’s an argument against employment.
  2. Washing sheets is bad for the environment, because anything that a company wants to do that’s against its employees and customers always gets wrapped up in a ‘noble cause’.

It’s in a hotel chain’s interests to maintain its reputation that sets it apart as an experience from Airbnb. But it’s in an individual hotel owner’s interests to spend as little as possible, capitalizing (and depleting) a brand’s reputation. The major chains have been short-term oriented, focused on extracting fees from hotel owners at the expense of their long-term brand.

But hotel chains should be legally permitted to do this! Just as New Jersey residents should be legally allowed to pump their own gas. But, New Jersey.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. New Jersey is also one of two states which requires full service for gasoline fill ups.

    It is the king of featherbedding jurisdictions.

  2. New Jersey gas stations at least have the common sense to let you pump your own gas if you insist. Oregon, the other state where you can’t pump your own gas – the attendants will think you’re about to detonate a nuclear bomb if you get out of your car.

    I’ve been at Oregon pumps where the attendant asked me do I want a top-off. That should obliterate any argument that attendant pumping is safer.

    Oregon is also full of racists (KKK)

  3. What’s the difference between trash and girls from New Jersey?

    Trash gets picked up

    (Only kidding. I’m from New Jersey)

  4. It’s VERY good that there are minimum standards. Nobody forces any business to be a “hotel”, they can be a B&B, but it’s pretty darn good that the government puts some hygiene standards on hotels. Makes life a lot easier if I don’t have to personally investigate every single potential hotel before making a buying decision. Same for fire safety standards.

    Some people may argue that hotels should also be allowed to have bed bugs, or unsafe fire safety, like in most third world countries (lack of enforced regulation) and customers spend hours on end to research every possible hotel to see which one cuts corners. What a truly hellish place to live that way would be!

  5. At least, now, there’s a reason to go to New Jersey…. “load up the car! We’re going to see what Housekeeping looks like, kids!” The kids think I’m being old fashioned because Housekeeping is a myth. They know that anything in and out of Newark gets canceled, so we have to drive.

  6. Very interesting since I’ve been to Atlantic City quite a few times since this went into effect and never received daily housekeeping. Default (at least at casino hotels where I stayed) was no housekeeping and you only got it upon checkout or request. Not sure if having it on request meets this requirement but I assure you hotels in NJ do not all provide daily housekeeping services.

  7. NJ is NUTS no wonder they dumped their medical waste in the Atlantic and it washed up on the shores of the beaches in RI an CT.

    Do the residents of NJ change their sheets everyday? The State needs to subsidize the Hotels for this “extra” service.

    The hotel chain has a standard and the standard needs to be followed that is how we know that if we go to a Hilton in NJ vs CA that the same minimum standards will apply . If not then the hotel loses their franchise and becomes a Choice hotel

  8. Unfortunately certain democratic states have become nanny states where they seek to control pretty much every facet of our everyday lives. I’m all for people being able to opt out of housekeeping if they want. I’m not really sure I need the bed linens changed every night, but they sure better be between guests if not I will not stay at that property ever and that does seem like a public health issue with things like monkey pox going around that can be passed by linens. Of course if I opt out of housekeeping then I won’t be tipping for housekeeping.

  9. ““Additionally, because hotel staff are trained in cleaning, hotels should not encourage or incentivize the option for guests to clean their own rooms.”” This is nonsense. I didn’t know you needed a PhD to do housekeeping. This language is definitely from the unions. If hotels want to incentivize guests (like giving points etc) they should be allowed to when it comes to cleaning the room during that guest’s stay.

  10. You certainly do not need a PHD to become a house keeper, however many of these union house keepers earn upwards of $60,000 to $120,000 yearly with glorious benefits. Consumers will incur the cost of mandated daily house keeping. Consumers will fund the govt, unions, extra labor and shareholders all for the same subpar service because we whine about daily housekeeping.
    Beware what you wish for. A $150 a night room suddenly becomes $350 a night. Have fun doling out thousands for a square box.

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