“Last year was difficult because I had panic attacks, anxiety attacks and ended up in the emergency room twice,” she said in a Spanish-language interview in July.
Now she is on duty again, working a day or two a week or sometimes not at all. The work that used to be shared among several housekeepers now falls to them alone, she said. “I had to do it myself because you said you had too few staff,” she said, “but why don’t you give us a call when you are short on staff? Why don’t we work? “
Ms. Ryan, the Hilton spokeswoman, said the workforce “is being assessed hotel by hotel and informed of market demand, the local business environment and recommendations from government and health officials.”
Stonebridge Companies, the hospitality firm that manages the Hilton Seattle franchise hotel, said that “the pandemic has dictated a number of changes in our service model, with daily room cleaning becoming an opt-in service in most cases will”.
Julie Gabot, a 62-year-old housekeeper in Hawaii, said her job had become more strenuous than it was in the past. She has worked at Sheraton Waikiki for nearly 30 years, and her seniority meant she was guaranteed a job when the hotel began taking staff back.
But rooms that used to take 45 minutes to an hour now take twice as long. Longer stays, which are more common now than they were before the pandemic, mean “it’s harder during checkout time,” Ms. Gabot said. Items that would have been removed during daily cleaning, such as tampons, diapers, or sand brought in from trips to the beach, will build up.
“There are a lot of things to do and then we will disinfect everything now,” said Ms. Gabot. “It’s time consuming now.”