COVID-19 PROTOCOLS FOR TOURISM

 

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Introduction

The tourism industry has developed comprehensive protocols for the operation of all types of tourism businesses or facilities in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The protocols align with the WHO, NICD and DoH guidelines and advice, and will be revisited as required on an on-going basis. They cover customer information, PPE (personal protective equipment), physical distancing, and sanitisation and hygiene practices, among others, for staff and customers.

Our businesses will be among the safest places to be. The protocols address all the acknowledged risk areas related to travel and tourism. We will ensure the crucial areas of concern for government are addressed through these protocols and the following:

 

Persons with higher risk

Self-catering establishments can operate for high risk categories of guests travelling by private car or hire car.

 

Staff travelling on foot

All establishments will reduce as far as possible staff use public transport.

 

Limit risk of transmission as a result of travelling between districts & provinces

  • To travel from home to and from an accommodation establishment – proof of booking must be carried, plus it is recommended that directions or a map of the route also be carried;

  • Customers only stop to purchase fuel or other items at a petrol station or permitted retail operation en-route.

 

Ability to trace contacts in the event of someone testing positive for COVID-19

  • All operating businesses will obtain and keep guests details plus recent and planned travel information;

  • Staff contact details will be up-to-date and all details of staff on all shifts will be meticulously recorded.

 

Pledge of adherence to protocols

  • All owners and managers of businesses will sign a pledge to adhere to industry protocols;

  • The TBCSA and sector leaders will provide support and guidance to smaller establishments to implement the standard industry protocols.

  • The manager will be the COVID-19 Health and Safety Officer (COVID-19 Officer).

 

Covid-19 officer & team responsibilities

  • Develop, maintain and implement:

  • Standard hygiene and sanitising procedures (including schedules/logbooks) per area etc.

  • Special area cleaning procedures – as required

  • Physical distancing plans

  • Guest procedures

  • Staff procedures

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) standards for staff

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) standards for guests

  • Procedures for staff with symptoms, and/or suspected COVID-19

  • Procedures for guests with symptoms, and/or suspected COVID-19

 

  • Monitoring the implementation of the protocols and the effectiveness of the measures undertaken.

  • Monitoring overall compliance, identifying and correcting gaps, and adapting the plan to practical experience.

  • Maintain staff and guest health records.

  • Maintain and checks logs of cleaning activities.

  • Maintain and manage stock and use of PPE.

  • Oversight of all staff and guest training and information provision.

  • Independent Third-Party Hygiene Audits – as required.

  • Independent Third-Party decontamination cleans – as required.

 

GVPC MEDICAL DECLARATION: 3. MEDICAL & TRAVEL STATUS & ACCESS

  • All Guests will be required to complete a Medical and Travel declaration on check-in.

  • Special screening stations can be set up just before or after entrances.

  • All Guests must compete the form, not just the contracting party. This means all passengers in hired cars must complete the declaration.

  • The industry will develop a standard form for this.

  • The completion and acceptance of the form acts as access acceptance into a facility.

  • While the declaration must be signed on check-in to ensure it is up-to-date, businesses may opt to ask some/all of the questions on booking/reservation and may suggest that high-risk individuals might want to postpone their trip, or they could decline such reservations.

  • Industry operators may develop the form as an app, which the Guests completes on a device, before or on arrival, with electronic submission on arrival indicating sign-off.

 

DECLARATION FORM TO INCLUDE

  • General health, chronic and other conditions, and medication

  • Physical impairments

  • Symptoms prior 30 days

  • Smoker status and fitness level

  • COVID-19 history

  • COVID-19 status disclosure signed-off

  • Record of trip – full current trip itinerary (past and future) for tracing

  • Recent travel history other than this trip – 1 month

  • Next of kin/friend not travelling with you name and contact details

  • Nationality

  • ID or passport number

  • Travel insurance declaration and proof (international guests)

 

  • There will be a simple risk rating completed on the form by the supervising staff member or computed by the app, and higher risk Guests should be noted on a separate schedule.

  • The form will state clearly that the GVPC’s details will be shared with local public health authorities if any other GVPC or staff member they may have been in contact with while on your premises or in your vehicle/craft becomes ill with COVID-19.

  • If they will not agree to this, they cannot proceed.

 

Guests & staff temperature monitoring

  • Temperature of all Guests will be taken on check-in.

  • For multiple-day stays, daily temperature should be recorded.

  • The staff member taking the initial temperature reading must annotate the medical declaration form indicating either the actual temperature recorded, or that it was taken and it was in the normal range.

  • As far as possible any subsequent readings during a stay, and the check-out reading should be also noted on the same record.

  • All staff members temperatures will be recorded on arrival for shifts and on departing after shifts.

  • These will be recorded on an appropriate manual or automated schedule.

  • All temperatures will be taken with a non-contact thermometer.

  • Any temperature outside of the normal range (above 37.5oC) requires action to be taken. Refer to Protocol 16.

 

SIGNAGE & EASY-TO-FOLLOW 5. GUEST INFORMATION

  • Guests will need extensive information and briefings on the COVID-19 protocols.

  • Easy to understand and assimilate information must be provided in rooms, check-in counters.

  • Notices attached to walls, tables etc., are preferable to avoid contamination by touch.

  • Apps and other electronic information provision can also be used to minimise touch.

  • For check-in, standard briefings should be made to all Guests similar to current airline safety briefings.

  • The information and briefings must emphasize that all measures are for guest and staff safety, and cover:

    • Hand sanitising and correct hand washing.

    • Footwear sanitising where applicable.

    • Surface sanitising.

    • Physical distancing – spacing and queues.

    • Use of masks – detail on proper use and specifically what is expected when eating and drinking

    • Brief explanation of procedures if someone has a high temperature or COVID-19 symptoms.

    • Access to medical services and pharmacies.

    • Other detail per business and sub-sector – such as room cleaning and linen change frequency, and if restaurant reservations required, etc.

 

STAFF TRAINING

Extensive training must be provided to all staff to ensure that they understand:

  • The virus, how it is spread, the symptoms and how long it survives on surfaces.

  • The required sanitisation and distancing procedures for themselves and for guests.

  • The effective use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and what PPE they must use.

  • All special procedures e.g., shifts, separation of duties, etc.

  • Staff in certain functions with higher risk such as room cleaning and laundry should have additional training specific to their roles.

  • Training should also cover support for staff, addressing their general fears and concerns, what happens if they have symptoms or test positive etc., and how this might affect their shift/team, and how the business will support them.

  • Staff training should not be once-off, but should repeat for all staff, with regular updates.

  • Training rooms must have proper physical distancing.

 

Guest personal protective equipment (PPE)

Guests will be required to wear masks except when:

  • In their guest bedroom

  • They are a small group in a self-drive hire car

  • While eating or drinking

 

  • Acceptable masks are cloth masks, surgical masks and N95 respirators.

  • It is expected that most Guests will have their own cloth masks.

  • All facilities and businesses should have a spare supply of surgical or cloth masks, which can be provided to Guests should they not have their own mask(s).

  • If a guest does not have their own masks for a multiple day stay, then multiple masks should be provided.

  • Hotels may offer a specialized cloth mask laundry service. This will require small sealable bags in which used masks can be submitted for laundry and then a new sterile bag to return the clean mask. It will be at the businesses’ discretion to charge for masks and laundry of masks or not.

 

STAFF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

  • All staff must wear masks at all time, except while taking meals.

  • The business must provide sufficient disposable masks for a mask per staff member per shift, or a minimum of 3 cloth masks per staff member.

  • One is worn on shift, including on transport home, one is in laundry (at home or provided by the business), and one is already clean and ready to wear the next day when returning to work.

  • Certain jobs require gloves to be worn, (to be discarded after each shift or after each soiled linen, crockery cutlery batch has been handled).

  • Clearing, wash-up, waste disposal, laundry staff should wear gloves.

  • Disposable plastic aprons are appropriate in room cleaning, clearing and wash-up.

  • Visors should be worn where staff are likely to be in close proximity to guests.

  • Biohazard containers must be used for disposal of used disposable PPE.

 

SANITISING & HYGIENE PRACTICES

  • Frequent Guest and staff hand sanitising and/or hand washing is critical along with frequent proper sanitising of surfaces and these together are the key defence against COVID-19.

  • Members of staff using an area continuously, such as a worktop will be responsible for sanitising their surface after every customer.

  • Surface sanitising schedules should be drawn up for other areas, which are not used continuously by a member of staff. Schedules will depend on footfall and type of usage and surface.

  • These schedules must be initialled, or updated on an on-line workflow system, to ensure compliance with sanitising requirements.

 

    1. Hands

  • Guests will be required to sanitise their hands on initial arrival at the door, check-in counter, ticket counter/boom, pick-up counter, or vehicle/ craft.

  • Staff members can administer the sanitiser, or it can be self-administered from a dispenser, but observed.

  • For hotel guests in particular and other Guests, shoe sanitising on entry with spray or wipes should be done, and use of walk-off mats on arrival to sanitise shoes/feet should be considered.

  • Thereafter sanitisers and wipes for Guests to use will be available for pens, credit cards, phones, wallets, purses when used, and for changes in situation e.g., on exit, boarding or disembarking, entering or leaving a facility, area or vehicle, using bathrooms, using lifts.

  • Guests hand sanitiser must be widely available i.e., on hand for, or carried by, key staff in contact with Guests and available throughout establishments and facilities, on vehicles and in craft, in lifts etc.

  • Staff must hand sanitise or wash hands before and immediately after entering the work premises or vehicle, after changing into uniforms, after using lockers and frequently while on shift, particularly after touching items or surfaces.

  • Appropriate non-touch bins should be available for disposal of wipes everywhere wipes are provided.

 

SURFACES

The following items and surfaces throughout front and back of house areas must be wiped/cleaned with an appropriate disinfectant detergent. As far as possible, this must happen after every “use” or change of person/people using, or at a minimum, frequently:

  • Water bottles, jugs & amenity bottles

  • Door handles – rooms/vehicles/cupboards

  • Pens – used by more than one person

  • Credit card machines – especially buttons

  • Light switches

  • Taps & mixers

  • Soap & sanitiser dispensers

  • Toilet roll holders

  • Toilet flush buttons/levers

  • Electrical socket switches

  • Salt & pepper shakers & other static tableware, e.g., toothpick holders/sauce bottles

  • Tablets & mobile devices

  • Computers, laptops & printers

  • Deck railings & banisters/balustrades

  • Tables, counters & desks

  • Plastic folders

  • Kitchen surfaces

  • Fridge handles & doors

  • Kitchen equipment

  • Air-conditioning controls & vents

  • Window sills

 

LUGGAGE

  • All luggage should either be sprayed with a disinfection spay after off-loading, or wiped, with a minimum of all handles and corners carefully wiped with surface sanitiser.

  • If the guest handles their own luggage to move it into or out of the room, and it is not touched by staff, then wiping or spraying is not required.

 

CASH HANDLING

  • Cash handling should be minimised or eliminated.

  • Pre-payments, EFTs, credit and debit cards should be maximised.

  • If a guest or staff member handles cash, hand sanitising should happen immediately afterwards.

 

REMOVE SURFACES

Throughout establishments the number of surfaces which can be touched must be reduced to eliminate touching and the need for surface sanitising:

  • Remove rugs, carpets, cushions and softs where possible.

  • Remove magazines, newspapers, games, decor items, flower pots and vases etc.

 

REDUCE USE AREAS

  • Any areas which are not in use, or which can be taken out of use, should be locked to eliminate usage and the need for regular surface cleaning or deep cleaning in the event of any contamination.

 

GENERAL

  • Bio-spill kits will be used for all cleaning of blood or vomit.

  • Only appropriate disinfectant surface cleaners to be used.

  • Only 70% alcohol hand sanitisers to be used.

  • Any swimming pools operating must be at maximum safe levels of chlorine.

  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and water reticulation systems, fridges, dishwashers, and laundry equipment must be regularly serviced and operating effectively.

  • Hot cycles (70o C or higher) with the usual detergents should be used for laundry.

  • High temperature dishwashing settings should be used at 150o C - 160o C with rinse at 180o C.

 

STANDARD PHYSICAL DISTANCING & CAPACITY CONTROLS

  • The space between any persons in public areas and back of house areas should be a minimum of 1.5 metres at all times, with two metres preferred.

  • Exceptions are when one person, e.g., a receptionist or cashier, is wearing a visor, or if there is a Perspex or similar shield between the people concerned.

  • Guests from the same small family/friend group who share a room or car can be close to each other.

  • Businesses must maximise the use of on-line reservations, e-check-in and e-check-out, and any types of non-contact processing to reduce the need for proximity of people.

 

Cars: Self-drive

Two to four people from the same small family/friend group who are sharing a room/car can use one car. No cars can be shared between parties who are not known to each other.

 

KITCHEN

The two keys to safe kitchen operation are physical spacing and surface and equipment sanitising.

  • To facilitate spacing, staffing levels may have to be reduced.

  • Equipment must be sanitised frequently using surface sanitisers (handles, knobs, dials, switches and static equipment) and utensils, pots and pans, and receptacles, should undergo more frequent hot washing.

 

ROOMS

  • Room cleaning frequency maybe reduced and linen change frequencies reduced to lower contamination risks.

  • If daily or more frequent cleaning and changing was standard, longer stays should have room cleaning every two to three days, and linen change every three to four days.

  • Turndown service should be eliminated.

  • To reduce surfaces in rooms, all excess softs –cushions, throws, extra blankets etc., and décor items should be removed.

  • All other superfluous items which can be removed should be, and guests may have certain items on request for guest collection – e.g., sewing kits, vanity kits, shoe cleaning kits, irons, magazines.

  • Hand sanitiser should be provided in-rooms for guest use.

  • Hotel rooms require increased cleaning and sanitisation both on stay-over and check-out cleans.

  • New room cleaning standards will be required and room cleaning staff must be trained on these standards.

  • This will also include how to handle linen and sanitising of bathrooms.

  • Disposable gloves should be worn when cleaning bathrooms and disposable aprons are also recommended.

  • Room cleaning staff must sanitise their hands and shoes, and disposable aprons on finishing each room and before entering the next room.

  • Stay-over cleans concentrate on a careful sanitising clean of all surfaces, including phones, TV and radio controls, kettles, curtain pulls/curtain edges, minibars, trays, amenity containers and bottles etc., or mini-bars emptied with limited stocking on request.

  • The contents of housekeeping trolleys should be reduced (less guest supplies) and the trolley and remaining contents should wiped and deep cleaned at the end of each days shift.

  • All other equipment, mops, wet cloths etc., are sanitised by dipping in sanitising solution after each room clean.

  • Colour coded cloths should be used for different items; bath, shower and sink, toilet, room surfaces etc. and disinfected separately.

  • At the end of shifts, cloths and mops should be sanitised in solution for 30 minutes, and all cloths washed on a high heat cycle.

  • The virus does not live very long on surfaces, particularly porous surfaces.

  • The current WHO statement is “studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard.

  • If an accommodation establishment can rotate room use, i.e., leave rooms idle for 1 – 3 days (or more), occupancy permitting, this will also assist in ensuring rooms are decontaminated for the next check-in.

 

STAFF AREAS

  • Staff areas as just as important for sanitising and physical spacing as public areas.

  • It is important to ensure that additional staff information is recorded and kept up-to-date including relevant medical history regarding chronic or other conditions and staff must be asked to inform HR/management if these change.

  • It will be explained that these steps are for their own protection.

  • Other staff information such as contact details, physical address, who they live with, next of kin etc., must be up-to-date. In order to manage staff teams, and address PPE requirements and allocation of staff to shifts, businesses should identify working areas and rank then as high, moderate and low risk areas based on the type of job/activities and levels of contact with Guests and other staff.

  • At risk staff members, i.e., those who are older or have co-morbidity conditions should be given special consideration.

  • Rosters can be adjusted so older/compromised staff work in low risk areas, or on smaller shifts and there should be enhanced standard operating procedures for at risk workers including more PPE such as visors.

  • For accommodation establishments, consideration can be given to having some staff stay in hotels to avoid public transport risks.

  • Staff should be allocated to separate shifts or shift teams per area or function and changes to teams should be avoided.

  • This allows for mitigation if a staff member tests positive, as only one staff team will be required to isolate.

  • Staff in teams should work, eat and arrive separately so there is no cross-contamination between teams.

  • Shifts may be staggered slightly (e.g., 10-minute intervals) to avoid queues at staff entrances and congestion in locker rooms/changing rooms.

  • Locker/change room times should be scheduled to allow for smaller groups at any one time in the rooms.

  • A similar increase in sanitising and surface cleaning in all staff areas as in public areas is required, plus the same schedules for completion to indicate sanitising has occurred.

  • Any scanners – e.g., fingerprint scanners, clocking-in machines etc., must be wiped frequently as part of the surface-sanitising schedule.

  • Lockers also need to be sanitised after each shift by each staff member before they leave.

  • On arrival staff must undergo a sanitising process including spraying or wiping shoes, clothes, handbag, cell phone and face mask before or just after entry.

  • Walk-off mats can also be implemented at entrances.

  • All staff members will have their temperature checked on arrival and before departing (see section 4).

  • Staff uniforms may be reduced in complexity and limited to simple items.

  • For instance caps, scarves and ties can be omitted. schedule.

  • Lockers also need to be sanitised after each shift by each staff member before they leave.

  • On arrival staff must undergo a sanitising process including spraying or wiping shoes, clothes, handbag, cell phone and face mask before or just after entry.

  • Walk-off mats can also be implemented at entrances.

  • All staff members will have their temperature checked on arrival and before departing (see section 4).