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Budget hotels fail hygiene inspections

By Wang Hongyi and Shi Yingying  (China Daily)

08:41, April 02, 2013

With a daily budget of just several hundred yuan, tourists in Shanghai have about a 10 percent chance of staying in a hotel room with subpar hygiene.

Fifty-four budget hotels in Shanghai out of 500 inspected have been penalized for poor hygiene, the city's Health Supervision Department said.

The department recently released the results of inspections of more than 500 economy hotels in the first quarter. among them were branches of many well-known chains, such as Hanting Inns and Hotels, 7 Days Inn, Home Inn and GreenTree Inns.

The inspections checked health permits, hygiene management, facilities, work records, sterilization certificates and staff management.

Most of the 54 hotels failed to provide heath certificates for their staff. Many of them failed to clean and sterilize the daily necessaries, such as sheets, towels and cups according to hotel rules.

Four were penalized for operating businesses without a health permit.

They are branches of the country's well-known hotels GreenTree Inns and 7 Days Inn.

"So far, these 54 hotels have been asked to rectify the concerns within a certain timeframe. And details of the penalties will be released to the public later," said Hu Xuewei, a spokeswoman for the health supervision department.

Regarding the accusation that one employee did not have a health and training certificate to directly serve a guest, a staff member at 7 Days Inn's Siping Road branch in Hongkou district told China Daily that those caught in the spot check are not their "regular employees".

"They're only interns," said the employee who did not want to give his name. "Our regular workers and those in the probation period are qualified, but those caught in the random inspection are interns who are still getting familiar with their working environment and duties."

He said the interns were working under the supervision of regular employees to cover jobs that didn't involve directly serving hotel guests. "Something like assisting the front desk," he said.

A spokeswoman for Hanting Inns & Hotels said the budget chain is investigating the charge of "lacking public health permit" at their Pujiang town branch. "We haven't confirmed it yet," she said.

The hygiene issue in hotels has drawn wide concern since last year when media reported that staff members at the country's leading budget hotel chains use face towels to clean cups and toilets.

In March, a couple of reporters worked undercover at a Home Inn hotel in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, and found that the hotel maids cleaned toilets with face towels, according to a local newspaper.

"I was shocked to see the news last year. I often choose budget hotels when I have business trip because they look clean and economic. It's really disgusting to learn this," said Wang Lubing, a local resident who works for an IT company.

The Shanghai Health Supervision Department said it will beef up the supervision and inspections of local economy hotels. It will also work with local tourism department, informing the public the most recent hygiene information on hotels.

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