COVID – 19: Universal Guidelines for the Hospitality Industry

COVID – 19: Universal Guidelines for the Hospitality Industry
May 6, 2020 Bradley Cox

The UNWTO is reporting that 96% of the world’s tourism destinations have put in place some level of travel restrictions. As we move forward and these restrictions are partially lifted or modified, it is incumbent on  our Green Globe members and other businesses in the tourism industry to prevent a possible second outbreak worldwide. Research and contributions from our membership has allowed us to compile a universal list of best practices that will contribute to this prevention. There are just a few guidelines and measures the tourism industry needs to implement in their routine of operating as we move forward to containing the spread of the virus.

Avoid Overcrowding

  • Keep occupancy of the hotel, resort, spa or attraction in line with social distancing recommendations.
  • Guests/visitors should keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters or 6 feet from others.
  • Limit the amount of guests/visitors on the property
  • Regulate server guest ratio.

Increase Communication

  • Provide guests/visitors informational letters or pamphlets detailing the implemented measures and regulations on your property.
  • Put up posters or use electronic devices throughout the property that instructs guests/visitors to take precautionary measures seriously.

Focus on Staff

  • Provide regular health checks for staff and temperature checks before every shift.
  • Staff that have direct contact to guests should wear face-masks, as well as staff who are in contact with any food and beverages.
  • Staff in kitchens should to wear face-masks in addition to the hygiene standards that alreadt apply.
  • Staff must wash hands regularly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds; especially after interacting with guests/visitors.
  • Be aware that different stages and phases of the pandemic require different levels of strictness in measures. Hold regular staff briefings on additional hygienic and preventive measures.

Focus on Guests

  • Guests/visitors who show any symptoms of Covid-19 must be isolated immediately. Separate other guests/visitors that were in close contact with the affected person and isolate them as well.
  • Implement a guest-friendly cancellation policy that allows guests/visitors to postpone their visit.
  • Update your website and listings in order to inform people what restrictions your business is operating under.
  • If the business offers a shuttle service make sure the people being transported have been together as a group before. Do not transport several ‘travel groups’ from different places at the same time.
  • All guests/visitors should provide detailed contact information in case an infected person is or as been on the property.
  • Put up protective plastic shields at the reception counter.
  • Rearrange the lobby to give guests the opportunity to occupy the space safely.
  • Create several small sitting areas and place them at different parts of the lobby.
  • Have a high level of hygiene throughout the property.

Building and Housekeeping Hygiene

  • Practice routine cleaning of high trafficking and high touching surfaces (elevator buttons, handrails, doorknobs, lobby, public restrooms) with bleach solutions and bromine or other cleaning agents that are adapted to the purpose of killing the virus.
  • Regular cleaning of ventilation fans.
  • Put up disinfectant stations with hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol in high trafficking areas as well as at the entrance of different hotel areas (pool area, spa, restaurant, gym etc.).
  • Use hot water (at least 60°C), detergent and bleach to launder linens and towels.
  • Reduce housekeeping to a minimum. Ensure cleaning staff enter rooms only after guests have checked-out or when they specifically demand it. When entering, employees should wear gloves and a face-mask.
  • Dispose of garbage bags in the trash cans regularly and wear gloves when doing so. Wash hands afterwards with warm water and soap.
  • Ventilate areas regularly especially closed rooms.
  • Keep doors open where possible to minimizing the amount of people touching doorknobs.
  • Close some floors in rotation for intensive and effective cleaning. Steam mattresses and carpets.

Hotel Facilities 

  • Recommend closing pools areas.
  • If open, make sure pools contains appropriately treated water and a chlorine level that is internationally accepted. The chlorine should disinfect the water enough to prevent any germs from spreading.
  • Run microbiological quality tests on a regular basis to make sure the water is safe to use.
  • Instruct guests to shower before using the pool.
  • Recommend closing sauna and gym.
  • If open, limit the amount of people using the sauna and gym. There should still be a distance between people of at least 1.5 meters or 6 feet.
  • Reduce the number of  machines in the gym to control the amount of people and to ensure keeping distance is possible.
  • Put up posters in the gym to remind people of the importance of cleaning and disinfecting the machines after using it.
  • Guests using the gym should change their clothes only in their room. Changing rooms should be closed closed.
  • Suspend use of hand dryers in public restrooms and use only paper tissues that are disposed of thoroughly.

Restaurants and Cafes

  • Prevent queues from occuring when people are waiting for a table in the restaurant. Make reservations an option.
  • Place the tables in the restaurant with a distance of at least 1.5 meters or 6 feet from others.
  • Clean the tables thoroughly after every guest.
  • The restaurant should not offer buffet.
  • Offer room-service. The employee places the food in front of the door and knocks. There is no direct contact between guest and employee.
  • No paying in cash or keep use of cash at a minimum.

Other Recommendations

  • Assess if spa treatments and services can be provided safely with limited contact between staff and guests.
  • Move the entertainment programs to the outside area if possible. Adjust the number of participants.
  • Close the kids club.
  • Have temperature checks of visitors on arrival.