The pandemic of COVID-19 has brought recession on multiple fronts- financial, economic, and social. Having affected nearly all of the industries that you can name, it has halted the previous normal and forced to adapt to new norms and changes which will take time to get streamlined into the new life. For the travelers having the spirit of viewing new places, it surely would have been a great blow and must be very tough to keep up those urges under control.
But beyond that, the industry of hospitality has suffered the most severe losses. With almost no booking during the pandemic and burning of cash for the infrastructural updates as per the new safety norms, it surely is an uphill task for the owners. However, as the saying goes by that the show must go on, similarly with the unlock guidelines under the execution of many nations, the hotels are opening up for the guests with high levels of security. This article discusses in more detail about the major query of the hour- Is it safe to stay in hotels amidst the pandemic of COVID-19?
The major points of concern
As a guest opting for hotel stay due to business purpose, it is obvious for you to ponder on the following points that might question your safety in the stay:
- The hotels being a public place would be having a lot many people coming from outside and thus multiple touchpoints. Therefore, you might be safe within your rooms that are sanitized regularly, but what about the lobbies, elevators, and in-house restaurants that would be touched by multiple people?
- Even the housekeeping coming into the room would be commuting from their homes to the hotel daily for the duty and thus there would be very high chances of them carrying germs from the outside.
- It also raises concerns about the health of the previous guests in the room and if they had any signs of the infection or not.
- The guests occupying the nearby rooms in the same lobby would be having different health conditions and as a result, it would be very tough to keep a contact tracing in the extreme cases of any detection amongst them.
These four questions would surely scare the guests and make them think a lot about their decision to opt for travel.
Answering the question
Now coming to the main question of the safety to opt for hotel stay amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the answer is not straightforward and highly conditional. As per the norms set up by the different national governments, the general public must avoid travel as much as they can and prefer to stay in their homes until and unless some improvement is observed.
But, let us say that you cannot delay this further and the situation demands you to travel- either for business or personal purposes. In that case, rather than fear, it is very important to think of the safety and act accordingly, because your safety is in your hands. Therefore, in such circumstances you must follow all of the underlying safety precautions and keep both yourselves and your surroundings safe:
- Maintain social distancing under all of the circumstances. Stay at least 6 feet away from the people coming into your room for service or while you are walking in the common space of the hotel.
- Always wear a mask when you step outside of the room or if anyone comes into your room. This acts as the first level of the barrier for the virus and prevents further spreading into the community.
- Clean your hands regularly with alcohol-based soaps before eating and with alcohol-based sanitizers at regular intervals while you step out of the room or come in contact with any touchpoint.
- Keep your disinfectant handy and use the same at regular intervals on the commonly used surfaces like doorknobs, tabletops, laptops, TV, remotes, etc.
- Avoid touching your face, nose, and eyes with dirty hands in the outside, as the droplets have very high chances of coming in contact via these media.
- Disinfect the room at least twice a day and offer full cooperation to the cleaning staff who conduct the entire process.
- Last, but not the least, avoid having your food in the restaurant and rather choose to have it within the room by maintaining the required cleanliness activities.
Duties of the hotel management
Safety is a two-way journey and depends upon both the guest as well as the hotel management. Thus, from the latter point of view, the following safety steps must be followed to harbor a composed internal environment:
- Temperature screening of all incoming people into the hotel- be it hotel staff, guests or anyone else, and allowing only those who show normal readings
- Self-declaration form or health assessment regularly from all of the guests staying in the premises
- Hourly sanitization of the touchpoints at the common spaces of the hotel
- Replacement of the fixtures in the common bathroom spaces with automatic types, like touchless faucets, automatic soap dispensers, etc.
- Ensuring twice a day sanitization of the guest rooms and proper coordination between both of the parties
- Regular inspections of the kitchens to see the food preparation and updates on the chefs preparing those
- Full sanitization and disinfection of the room after checkout and not allotting the room for the next few days as a precautionary step
As stated in the entire article, safety depends upon both the management as well as the individual and thus they must cooperate to avoid the outbreak of any new cases. Therefore, apart from all of these safety protocols, certain additional steps can be taken by the incoming guests, like as follows:
- Selection of the destination very wisely
- Researching on the hotel before booking to know its history of the COVID cases and the safety plan to maintain the safety
- Asking the hotel management about the overall health of the incoming guests and particularly of the ones who previously stayed in the upcoming room
Similarly, the hotel management should also keep these data transparent and share those freely with the guests to keep them updated and promote well-being in such tough times. Always abide by the motto of ‘Be safe, Stay safe and Make safe’.