Plan to get tough on mold in hotels gets another public hearing

Published: Sep. 26, 2017 at 8:58 PM AKDT
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Anyone with a complaint about significant visible mold in a hotel could soon have a place to take their concerns. On Tuesday night the Anchorage Assembly held a public hearing on a proposal to give the city of Anchorage the authority to order the operator of a hotel to fix the problem. When no one from the hotel industry testified the hearing was continued to the meeting of October 10.

Anchorage Assembly member Eric Croft submitted the proposal which described exposure to mold as a “serious medical incident.”

“The resulting negative publicity could have serious economic consequences for Anchorage and the statewide visitor industry,” stated one part of the ordinance.

If it’s approved, both guests of a hotel or employees could report the issue to the Department of Health and Human Services with whistleblower protections for employees. Several employees of an unnamed downtown hotel testified.

“The hotel if full of mold. Our guests that come from outside, also from here in Anchorage are exposed to these molds,” said Folly Faumuina.

“Something has to be done and we as employees have no authority,” said Ian Fox, who said he works in the hospitality industry.

After an inspection of a credible complaint, the department’s director could direct a hotel to clean up the mold or face penalties. If the director believes the mold is likely to cause sickness or disease he or she could order the hotel to be vacated and closed.