EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso’s historic Hotel Paso del Norte located in the city’s downtown district is set to reopen later this year and will include an added safety feature in the age of COVID-19.

The hotel which originally opened in 1912 will now include an air filtration system that officials said can kill 99-percent of viruses through ionization every 10 minutes.

“We are among the First Marriott Autograph hotels in the world to install a system that cleans the air to this level,” said Carlos Sarmiento, General Manager of Hotel Paso del Norte. “Being in the renovation process when this crisis occurred gave us the unique opportunity to implement additional safety features before opening our doors. When we undertook this project; we were prepared to restore the 108-year-old property’s architectural elements, create stunning event spaces and amenities, and curate a distinct culinary destination—but Covid-19 gave us the need to enhance the air quality in all areas of the hotel.”

Officials said the system that’s being installed at the hotel features HVAC-mounted ionizers that use proactive air purification technologies to deactivate airborne viruses safely.

“The system incorporates bipolar ionization, which creates millions of positive and negative ions, a proven method for virus destruction,” a news release said.

The air filtration system has been tested in simulated hospital ICUs and hotels used to house medical personnel in isolation during the pandemic, officials said. The Plasma Air system was shown to reduce 99% of bacteriophage after only 10 minutes of exposure to ionization.

“In 2020, there is no amenity greater than safety,” added Sarmiento. “Reopening during a pandemic means that offering an authentic destination experience is not enough. It’s imperative that we employ advanced safety precautions to promote health and peace of mind. Then guests will truly be able to enjoy this beautiful hotel.”

Other safety measures at the Hotel Paso del Norte include:
• A Commitment to Clean Plan that ensures hygiene and cleanliness throughout the hotel
• A dedicated position committed to the oversight of hotel safety efforts
• Training for all associates
• Sanitizing stations throughout the hotel
• Sanitizing of high-touch areas at a minimum of every two hours
• Associates wear personal protective equipment, receive temperature checks prior to each shift, and complete wellness questionnaires
• Vendors wear masks and have their temperature checked
• All guests required to wear masks in public areas as mandated by local and state laws as well as Marriott
• Safety signage and protocols posted throughout hotel
• Implementation of social distancing
• Floor signage to encourage guests to stay six feet apart
• Plexiglass barriers at the front desk, bell desk, concierge, and all restaurant host podiums
• Hotel shuttle cleaned and sanitized after each trip
• Valet services temporarily suspended; self-parking encouraged
• Bell carts sanitized after each use
• Mobile check-in promoted via the Marriott Bonvoy app, including the request of items, chat features, etc.
• Hotel room keys sanitized between stays and prior to distributing to guests
• Use of trays to hand items to guests
• Credit card machines positioned for easy guest access, reducing associates handling of guest credit cards
• Disinfecting wipes provided to all guests upon check-in
• Thorough cleaning of all guest rooms within a 24-hour window between guests for each room
• Rooftop pool use is available through a reservations system to ensure there is no overcrowding