The Chicago City Council is considering an ordinance that would require hotels to restrict public access to their employee-only areas — especially their freezers
The measure was advanced thanks to alderman Tuesday in response to the death of Kenneka Jenkins whose body was found inside a walk-in freezer at a hotel in Rosemont on September 10.
Hotels would have to post signs warning guests about off-limit areas such as kitchens, laundry rooms, and closed pools, according to the Chicago Tribune. Freezers would also need to have alarms or emergency release devices installed inside them to prevent someone from being locked in.
The 19-year-old Jenkins recently died in the Crowne Plaza’s walk-in freezer in Rosemont. An autopsy determined that Jenkins died of hypothermia from exposure to the freezing conditions. Jenkins left her Chicago home to attend a party at the hotel and was found about 24 hours after relatives contacted the hotel and police reported her missing.
Surveillance videos that were released by police days later show Jenkins – alone – wandering through a kitchen area near the freezer.
Hotels that do not have the proper signs and mechanisms under this ordinance would be potentially fined anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 per day. The Chicago City Council will consider the ordinance this week.