The Crusader Newspaper Group

New Illinois law allows hotels to refuse service to unruly guests

Unruly hotel guests in Illinois will be able to be thrown out under a new law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Existing law prevents hotel managers from removing customers who verbally abuse staff. Sponsors of the bill said the measure gives hotel managers the authority to deal with troubling behavior and maintain a safe working environment.

American Hotel and Lodging Association President Chip Rogers said his organization has been pushing for legislation nationwide which is called the “Be Nice Bill” to handle unruly customers.

“Hotel employees should not have to put up with that, so we do put the health and safety and well-being of the hotel employee first,” said Rogers.

The AHLA said hotel employment is down 250,000 jobs since February 2020, and Rogers believes this new law hopefully will help the hotel industry address a worker shortage.

“No question about it, the number one challenge on the minds of hoteliers on a daily basis right now is finding enough workers and keeping those workers,” said Rogers. “We poll our members on a quarterly basis and the most recent information we got back from our membership shows that 82% of hotels have openings right now and about a third have so many openings that it impairs their ability to fully service the demand that they have.”

The law Pritzker signed Friday does not pertain to people living in hotels, and guests cannot be removed during severe weather warnings.

The measure goes into effect in two months.

According to the Illinois Office of Tourism, the direct visitor spending impact of $32.2 billion generated a total economic impact of $59.5 billion in Illinois in 2021 including indirect and induced impacts.

Kevin Bessler reports on statewide issues in Illinois for the Center Square. He has over 30 years of experience in radio news reporting throughout the Midwest.

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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