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Guidelines to Limit the Spread of Coronavirus in the Hospitality Sector

Coronavirus

Coronavirus has effected the hospitality sector largely around the world and services are limited to take away and home deliveries

Which is not producing enough revenue like before and employers have been working on business continuity plans by

  • Reducing the workforce
  • Deduction in salaries
  • Cost cuttings
  • Downsizing where required
Coronavirus in hospitality sector
Coronavirus in hospitality sector (Source Pixabay)

However, once hotels and restaurants reopen under some guidelines of regulatory bodies and travellers will be having heightened awareness and expectation of cleanliness in hotels

We must consider those aspects and new business norms with extensive cleaning disinfection protocols to gain the confidence and trust of the people.

Some of the important guidelines, followed by the hotel industry, are following:

Guest Arrival & departure process

  • Use of mask and gloves for the Concierge staff involved in guest pick up and drop off from the airports
  • The social distancing of 5-6 feet between staff and guest
  • Cleaning and disinfection of the hotel’s car with EPA approved chemical after each guest use and especially the high touch areas like door handles and buttons
  • Removal of newspaper/magazines and directories from the car to avoid any cross-contamination
  • Disinfection of guest’s luggage on arrival
  • Use of mask by the guest and temperature monitoring at hotel’s main entrance through thermo scanners
  • Follow the required protocols of local health ministry if a guest is having symptoms of COVID-19 and deny check-in for the safety of others
  • Professional floor markings of 6 feet apart in front desk areas to maintain the social distancing during check-in and check out process
  • Use of face mask and gloves by the front office staff
  • Scanning of guest’s passport with tab to avoid direct contact
  • Disinfection of pen and room key before handing over to the guest or contactless check-in and keyless entry is another option
  • Availability of hand sanitizer at various areas and signage of COVID-19 awareness to keep the guests updated for the required protocols
Coronavirus in guest arrival & departure process
Coronavirus in guest arrival & departure process (Source Pixabay)
  • Professional floor markings within the lift and allowing two guests maximum to stand in a lift in the opposite direction to avoid any close contact
  • Sealed room for the guest after cleaning and disinfection of the room by housekeeping
  • No entrance to the guest room’s behaviour and only guest demand
  • Provision of extra guest amenities in room for the guest 
  • Provision of small hygiene kit in the room for the guest
  • Removal of menu booklet from the room and introduction of QR code menu which can be scanned through mobile to get the full menu
  • Removal of minibar items from room and provision of minbar in a sealed form on guest’s request
  • The social distancing between the rooms by keeping one room vacant between two rooms
  • Cleaning and disinfection of the room after each guest check out and keep it vacant for next 48-72 hrs.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of room’s AC filters by the engineering team after each guest use or installation of automatic UV disinfection system
  • Removal of linen from the room and sending it to laundry by packing in a separate bag with label
Coronavirus at reception
Coronavirus at reception (Source Pixabay)

Food & Beverage Outlets/Room Service

  • Use of face mask and gloves
  • Professional floor marking of 6 feet to maintain the social distancing
  • Temperature check of the guest with IR gun while entering to the outlet and take required action as per protocol if having fever
  • Deny entry of the guest if not wearing a face mask
  • Seating of the guests by keeping social distancing and required occupies as per regulatory bodies
Coronavirus at beverage place
Coronavirus at beverage place (Source Pixabay)
  • Removal of the printed menu and introduction of QR code menu to avoid any cross-contamination as the printed menu can be in contact of various guests
  • Touch-less payment option for the guest safety and disinfection of cards, machines, micros, pen and front counter after each guest interaction
  • Service norms to be followed while serving the guest to avoid any close contact for the safety of service staff and guest as well
  • Table cloth and napkins to be removed, only disposable napkins to be provided
  • Cleaning disinfection of table and chair with EPA approved chemical after each guest use and deep disinfection at night by HK through fogging machine
  • Bill folder to be disinfected after each use
  • The option of a hotel’s cutlery or disposable as per guest request
  • Delivery of food items in a guest room by using disposable packing material and without entering the room
Coronavirus at room service
Coronavirus at room service (Source Pixabay)

Kitchens and Processing Areas

  • Chefs have to wear mask and gloves
  • Provision of handwashing soap, hand sanitizer at required areas
  • Maintain social distance within the kitchen
  • Monitoring of body temperature for kitchen staff by using IR gun
  • Cleaning disinfection plans and execution with increased frequency by using EPA approved chemicals
  • Use of quality and safe raw material to produce a safe product
Coronavirus at kitchen
Coronavirus at kitchen (Source Pixabay)
  • Compliance of HACCP, FSMS and local regulatory requirements in Kitchens
  • Provision of disposable napkins/dusters to chefs to avoid any cross-contamination
  • Provision of cleaning disinfection chemical with auto dosage pumps for the dishwashing machines to clean and disinfect the hotel’s cutlery
  • Monitoring of dishwashing temperatures (washing above 60 oC and rinse above 80 oC)
  • No of breaks can be increased for the staff as its difficult to work with the mask for a long time period
Coronavirus at processing area
Coronavirus at processing area (Source Pixabay)

Health club/Fitness facilities/Pool

  • Social distancing within the health and pool facilities and temperature monitoring to be considered
  • An inventory of high touch surfaces, items and areas (including phones, keyboard, computer screen, credit cards machines, handles, equipment, etc.) is to be prepared along with a checklist and roster to ensure high frequency cleaning and wiping
  • Team members are to be trained to disinfect surfaces in accordance with a pre-arranged before/after guest usage
Coronavirus at fitness club
Coronavirus at fitness club (Source Pixabay)
  • Team members are to wear a face mask and gloves at all times. It is recommended that these be changed every 4 hours
  • Hand sanitizer must be readily available either freestanding touchless or pump bottles
  • Safety procedures and protocols are to be displayed at the entrance doors to the gym for guests to read
  • To consider fitness facilities availability by appointment only, for one guest including sharer(s) at the time
  • All contact surfaces to be sanitized before the next guest is allowed into the fitness, ensure enough time between appointments to allow for this.
  • Prepare alternative options to fitness such as jogging routes, drop guests to open parks or walking routes
  • Offer a selection of fitness routines for guests to choose from in the room through the television entertainment system
  • At pool Sun loungers set up within accordance with social distancing  protocol
  • Sun loungers and other poolside seating must be sanitized after each use.
  • Sun loungers / and other outdoor furniture must be sanitized each night after the closing of the pool
  • Towel counters and other tabletop surfaces to be sanitized at least once per hour
  • Pool deck to be pressure washed and sanitized each night after the closing of the pool
  • Entrance to the pool/pool area is not allowed after pool closing time
Coronavirus at health and fitness area
Coronavirus at health and fitness area (Source Pixabay)

Banqueting/Meeting rooms/Outdoor catering

  • Use of face mask and gloves
  • Social distancing in halls and meeting rooms
  • Temperature monitoring of staff and guests with IR gun before the entrance
  • Use of cleaned and disinfected linen for each function and proper disposal to laundry after each event
  • Provision of touchless hand sanitizer dispensers in halls and meeting rooms
  • Disinfection of outdoor catering vehicles, igloo boxes and food trolleys with EPA approved chemical before and after each event
Coronavirus Banqueting/Meeting rooms/Outdoor catering
Coronavirus Banqueting/Meeting rooms/Outdoor catering (Source Pixabay)

Cleaning and disinfection of food and nonfood-contact surfaces

  • To limit the spread of coronavirus, must use right disinfectant with proper concentration
  • All public areas, back of the house and front areas including kitchen’s workstations should be thoroughly sanitized with approved PRO-COVID-19 sanitizer and disposable dusters
  • The direct food contact surfaces like equipment’s, trays, small wares tables, utensils and high-risk infection places are cleaned, sanitize and disinfectant frequently as per plan.
  • Tables and chairs need to be cleaned and sanitized with approved food safe sanitizer before and after being used by guests
  • Daily deep sanitation to be carried out by House Keeping department
washing hand against coronavirus
washing hand against coronavirus (Source Pixabay)

Appropriate Use of Personal Protective Equipment’s (PPE)                                                     

  • The handler of Food and staff that contact with raw food items such as fruits and vegetables, milk, chicken and food processing areas or kitchen should be used suitable protective gloves, mask hairnets and clothing.
  • The persons who serve food must wear protective accessories such as gloves, mask hairnets and clothing at the workplace. disposable hairnets and single-use gloves should be disposed of properly once these became soiled or damage.
  • Staff members should avoid touching their face, eyes, nose and mouth to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Safety kits against coronavirus
Safety kits against coronavirus (Source Pixabay)

Hand hygiene practices

  • Increased number of hand-sanitizer dispensers to be installed at all back of house areas, staff corridors, kitchens etc.
  • Food production & service staff have to strictly wash hands with antibacterial soap for 20 seconds followed by sanitizer rub before entering work station
  • Hands should be wet with clean and running water then turn off the tap and apply soap
  • Rubbing hands together with soap and make sure to lather between your finger, your nails and back of your hands.
  • Hands must be scrub for at least 20 sec
  • Both hands rinse properly with clean and running water
  • Dry your hands completely using a clean disposable or paper towel or air dryer
  • Handwash & sanitization practice should be repeated at periodic intervals or after using restrooms, smoking area and any other physical contact work
  • Stewarding on shift, outlet chef, outlet manager will be responsible to ensure soap & sanitizer are refilled at all times
  • Random hand swab samples to be checked by the Hygiene Manager
How to wash hands
How to wash hands (Source Pixabay)

Staff checks/lockers/cafeteria

  • Social distancing and use of face mask to be made mandatory at staff accommodation, cafeteria, lockers and during transportation in buses
  • Provision of hand sanitizing dispenser at staff accommodation, lockers and cafeteria
  • Staff temperature checks during check-in and check out with IR gun or thermos canner and appropriate actions as per Sop in case of Covid-19 symptoms
  • Staff need to avoid visiting other buildings and public gatherings to keep themselves safe
Check staff fitness
Check staff fitness (Source Pixabay)

Suspected/Confirmed COVID-19 Positive case

  • If a guest or staff presents themselves with flu-like symptoms, request they remain in their room or accommodation
  • Seek urgent medical attention through local health ministry
  • Follow proper advice from local authorities if in the case guest or staff to be relocated to a medical facility for treatment
  • Review CCTV system, electronic door lock system, eyewitnesses, etc. to systematically track patient activity since their arrival at the hotel.
  • Collect contact details from any guests in contact with the patient.  Follow local authority instruction to isolate these guests for medical attention
  • Prepare a list of team member names who had immediate contact with the concerned guest/s. Follow the advice from the authorities in their risk assessment of team members.
  • Prepare team members for the possibility of quarantine or self-quarantine, explaining requirements and addressing questions.
Suspected/Confirmed COVID-19 Positive case
Coronavirus test (Source Pixabay)

Conclusion

Since there is no medicine or vaccine so far and WHO has also focused that we have to learn to live with this pandemic by adopting some precautionary measures

So we must remember the five basic rules;

  1. Face mask
  2. Social distancing
  3. Hand washing and disinfection
  4. Cleaning disinfection of food and nonfood-contact surfaces
  5. Timely inform, if COVID-19 symptoms appear

Written By Muhammad Nadeem   (Hygiene Manager/FSTL The Gulf Hotel Bahrain Convention and Spa)

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