Tourism could return to Europe this summer if the European Commission gets its way but it is unlikely to be business as usual.
Indeed, the EC’s recently-published advice for the reopening of tourism comes with strict proposed guidelines for hotels. There are new rules for people looking to travel and while Malta’s government has not pronounced itself on the matter, hotel workers would do well to study them just in case.
Heres what hotels could look like if they follow the EU’s COVID-19 advice:
1. New precautions for hotel staff
Hotel staff should receive training on infection prevention and control measures and hotels should make staff work from home if there possible. If not, work and meal-time shifts should take social distancing into consideration.
2. Check-ins and reception
Once guests have checked in, their details should be kept handy in case they’re needed for contact tracing but must ensure the highest level of data protection.
When physical distancing cannot be fully observed, alternative measures should be considered to protect guests and workers, such as the use of glass or plastic teller panels, wearing of masks and regular hand sanitisation. All regularly touched surfaces must be cleaned on a daily basis.
3. There are new rules for guests too
Guests should has access to all information including specific signage before the entrance of the hotel displaying the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do in case they develop symptoms during their stay or 14 days after their departure. This should be made available digitally and prior to their check-in.
4. Do you have to maintain physically distance once checked in?
Physical distancing must be imposed in places guests are likely to congregate, including limiting the number of people who can enter the lobby, restaurants, bars and lobbies. They should consider allocating slots for meal times or visits of pools or gyms.
5. And do you have to wear a face mask?
The use of face masks in the hotel is encouraged and hand sanitiser should be available at reception, at entrances to restaurants, bars and dining rooms. A separation panel between receptionist and guests should be implemented, with floor markers to ensure physical distancing between guests when queuing up.
6. Thinking of hitting up the buffet?
Food should be served at tables rather than a self-service buffet. However, if a buffet must be served, then guests should apply hand sanitiser upon entry to the restaurant, when visiting the buffet and after having served themselves at the buffet. Physical distancing must also be observed at the buffet.
Distance of two metres between tables, and proper ventilation of air must be included inside the restaurant.
7. New measures for recreational facilities
Fitness centres should have access to hand sanitiser as well as physical distancing between equipment and limited number of people allowed at the same time.
No changing rooms should be allowed, guests should change in their own rooms.
In terms of spas, as physical contact cannot be avoided during spa treatments, the use of face masks by the person providing the treatment and the guest should be encouraged.
8. What about the hotel pool?
For pool facilities, there should be physical distancing of two metres between tables, beach loungers and guests during various activities, and in the pool too. Guests sharing the same room however, can share tables, and beach lounger sets.
9. What if you have children?
Hotels should consider whether children indoor recreation zones should remain open since physical contact or physical distancing cannot be avoided. Should they remain open, staff must wear masks, sanitiser should be present and a limit on the number of children in the facilities will be imposed.
10. When possible, use the stairs
Sharing the elevator with persons not sharing a room should be avoided to ensure physical distancing. The use of elevators should be prioritised physically challenged individuals and by those carrying luggage.
11. What if you classify as a vulnerable person?
Those who are vulnerable should be discouraged from participating in activities where physical distancing cannot be guaranteed at all times. Moreover, they should be served meals in their room.