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Is it safe to stay in hotels as reopenings get underway?

It's best to call ahead to see how the place you’re considering is working to minimize the risk of COVID-19.

Is it safe to stay in hotels as reopenings get underway?

It depends on the precautions both you and the hotel take. It's best to call ahead to see how the place you’re considering is working to minimize the risk of COVID-19. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests asking if the staff is wearing face coverings, for example, and whether cleaning practices have been stepped up.

To reassure potential guests, many hotels — from luxury resorts to budget brands — are sharing the changes they’re making on their websites. New practices may include adding hand sanitizer stations in lobbies, disinfecting surfaces like elevator buttons more frequently and removing extra items in rooms, such as pens and paper. Breakfast buffets may also be replaced with prepackaged meals.

Once at a hotel, Dr. Albert Ko at the Yale School of Public Health says guests should continue to follow social distancing guidelines, since the virus spreads mainly from person-to-person contact. Dine outside if possible, he says, and don’t crowd into elevators.

The CDC also suggests taking the stairs when possible and minimizing the use of common areas.

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For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

The United States has more than 2.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University.

Just after 4 a.m. EDT Thursday, the U.S. had 117,00 deaths from the virus. Worldwide, there are more than 8.3 million confirmed cases with more than 449,000 deaths.