by Lisa A. Grimaldi | July 27, 2018
The city of Miami Beach has unanimously approved an ordinance mandating that hotels outfit housekeepers with panic buttons - what the city calls "safety buttons" - as of Aug. 1, 2019.
Under the measure, all Miami Beach hotels and hostels must provide all employees who enter guest rooms -housekeepers, minibar attendants and room service staff - with a panic button or notification device to use in the event of an "ongoing crime, harassment or other emergency in the employee's presence."  The ordinance also states, "Hotel and hostel employees often work alone (or alone with a guest) in a guest room or restroom, placing the employees at risk of violent assault, including sexual assault and sexual harassment."
The ordinance defines a guest as "any invitee to a hotel or hostel, including registered guests, persons occupying guest rooms with registered guests, visitors invited to guest rooms by a registered guest or other occupant of a guest room, persons patronizing food or beverage facilities provided by the hotel or hostel, or any other person whose presence at the hotel or hostel is permitted by the hotel or hostel employer."
Miami Beach is the third major U.S. city to mandate this protective measure, following similar actions in Seattle and Chicago, both of which went into effect on July 1, 2018.