7 Health and Safety Measures Hotels Must Take To Prevent COVID-19 Transmission
Since traveling is restricted to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, the hotel and tourism industry has become one of the most hard-hit enterprises due to the pandemic. No one's booking reservations. Several nations have imposed travel bans. A lot of establishments have shut down.
While it's disheartening to look at how the profits went downhill, lodging businesses should work together during these difficult times to take health and safety guidelines to the greatest extent possible.
The hotel management team, in consultation with the local health authority and hotel, catering, and tourism administration, should establish a solid action plan on how to prevent the spread, manage cases, and mitigate the impact.
If you own a hotel accommodation business, here are 7 health and safety measures you should take.
1. Train the staff
The first step is to temporarily stop the operations and use the time to train the staff and disinfect the premises.
Communication is key. From the reception and concierge department to the cleaning and housekeeping team, all staff should be educated about COVID-19 so they can safely carry out their assigned tasks.
2. Increase sanitation
With the spread of COVID-19, hotels should operate with the understanding that their establishment should be the most sanitary it’s ever been.
Increase the use of disinfectants suggested and approved by your local health department.
Install hand sanitizers in door openers and restrooms.
Public high-touch spaces, including the front desk, tables in the lobby area, elevator buttons, water fountains, and vending machines, must be cleaned frequently.
The reception desk should have a medical kit that includes germicidal disinfectant/wipes for surface cleaning, tissues, face masks, gloves (disposable), and bio hazard disposable waste bags.
Pens and key cards must be cleaned with disinfectants.
Cleaning and housekeeping
The cleaning and housekeeping staff should be provided with personal protective equipment when disinfecting, including gloves, disposable gowns, closed shoes, face masks or face shield, and disposable aprons.
Any surfaces that employees and customers touch the most require frequent cleaning.
Any surfaces that become soiled with respiratory secretions or other body fluids (e.g. toilet, hand washing basins, and baths) should be cleaned with a regular household disinfectant solution containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (that is, equivalent to 1000 ppm.
Whenever possible, use only disposable cleaning materials.
Restaurant and dining
All dishes, silverware, glassware and table linen should be disinfected thoroughly, including the ones that have not been used.
3. Screen the people entering your establishment
Let's say your hotel continues to operate during the lockdown to house stranded tourists and essential guests (e.g. health workers, skeletal forces, etc). Make sure to implement strict policies to prevent the possible transmission of the virus.
People coming in and out of the building, from the staff and suppliers to the visitors, must be temperature-screened and obliged to use sanitizers.
4. Do record-keeping
Monitoring should not stop there - the management should also maintain records.
Should there be positive cases within your property, the records will help you trace who has been in contact with any infected individuals. The records should be kept for a minimum of 90 days.
5. Implement strict policies regarding social distancing and etiquette
Social distancing, along with frequent hand washing and respiratory etiquette, should be observed at all times. Some of the measures your hotel should take include:
Organizing amenities to give more space between people.
Limiting people gathering in one area all at the same time, and closing other amenities.
Posting infographic materials about COVID-19
Posting notices about social distancing measures (maintaining a distance of at least 3 feet, observing respiratory etiquette, and avoiding anyone who is coughing or sneezing)
Limiting human interaction including shaking hands with guests and staff.
Encouraging contactless payments
6. Limit human contact when dining
Guests should avoid handling food. Like most restaurants, no dine-ins should be allowed. Self-service stations, like water refilling stations, coffee machines, soda machines, and others, should also be closed, since they are common touch points. Just ask the guest what they want to eat and deliver the food to their respective rooms.
7. Monitor guests and staff with symptoms
Consult with your local health department regarding the appropriate actions if a guest or a hotel worker shows symptoms of the disease. They have the legal authority to implement control measures, including isolation and quarantine, and medical treatment.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a savvy travel and lifestyle writer for Pembroke Hotel Kilkenny, a four-star boutique hotel in Kilkenny, offering exceptional accommodation and dining experiences in Ireland’s historic marble city. When she’s not taking vibrant street photos, you can find her writing articles about travel, food, and lifestyle.