Many people are now thinking about going on holiday – often in the UK, but what do they need to think about, and more importantly what do businesses need to do to tempt holidaymakers to stay in hotels, b and bs and self-catering accommodation again?
To build confidence in the sector, businesses need to be doing the right thing but also making sure that people know what lengths they are going to keep them safe.
All businesses have to do a risk assessment where they think about the journey of their customers and staff and then think what controls need to be put in place. This would include things such as:
Social distancing measures – how to keep queues safe, what to do at pinch points such as toilets, how to manage these (maybe a traffic light system for toilets and a one in one out system). In hotels, they may also consider how to pick up the keys safely, how to use the lifts and corridors.
Where food is provided, this could be in a restaurant if there is room for social distancing, or businesses may decide to serve room service only. The days of the breakfast buffet are probably over for a while, and whilst you may find some restaurants will serve you over a counter, they will not allow you to serve yourself. Outdoor eating areas will be at a premium for those who are still unsure of going inside.
Where to use face coverings is also becoming an increasing issue, and businesses need clear signage to make customers aware if this is a legal requirement in parts of the building.
Cleaning and disinfection is also key, particularly of hand contact surfaces, from door handes to keys, hairdryers to remote controls, taps and toilet seats. The business should set out its cleaning regime and check lists. It is reassuring for customers to see clean buildings, and to see staff disinfecting surfaces.
Laundry is another consideration of course. It needs to be washed at over 60C which you would hope would be the case anyway! Staff need to be careful when changing beds to make sure they don’t create aerosols by shaking linen, and some businesses leave rooms or houses vacant for a day or so to reduce risks.
Hand hygiene – providing sanitiser for guests and staff at key points such as on entry to the building, in the guest room (a nice touch)..
Ventilation – making sure there is a good flow of fresh air in and stale air out. A good rule of thumb is to think about how would cigarette smoke be removed from an area – that is quite a lot of ventilation!
After doing this, then the business needs to train staff and implement the controls, but it is really important that they communicate what they have done to their customers.
By putting information on their website, they can show people what they are doing for safety, and also help people to understand what they need to do when they visit the business (pre-booking, arrival times, departure times, any other measures such as guests stripping the beds in self catering accommodation, putting the dishwasher on as they leave etc.)
So if you are looking to go on a holiday or break, take a look at the businesses’ website and see what they say about their COVID-19 controls and that can help you make your choice. If you want to know more, I am sure they will not mind if you telephone and ask them. Many will be only too pleased to share the information and will also be pleased to see that their potential guests care about safety too. This really is a partnership to keep everyone safe.