Looking towards business reopening
What we know so far
The government has already produced some guidance to get the country and businesses open again.
Alongside this they have published eight sector specific guidance documents covering:
We are still awaiting sector-specific guidelines for the hospitality sector. The government has set up a task force to identify what will be required to open safely. Businesses need this information now and Cumbria Tourism, alongside other organisation representing our sector, is lobbying hard for clarity and as much notice as possible.
Until this is received, we know that you are keen to get as ready as you possible can to ensure that you can trade safely as well as providing your customers, staff and local residents with the confidence required.
BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & industrial Strategy) have produced five “Steps to Working Safety” that are applicable to all working environments.
Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
Before restarting work, you should ensure the safety of the workplace by:
- carrying out a risk assessment in line with the HSE guidance
- consulting with your workers or trade unions
- sharing the results of the risk assessment with your workforce and on your website
Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
You should increase the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning by:
- encouraging people to follow the guidance on hand washing and hygiene
- providing hand sanitiser around the workplace, in addition to washrooms
- frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
- enhancing cleaning for busy areas
- setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets
- providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers
Help people to work from home
You should take all reasonable steps to help people work from home by:
- discussing home working arrangements
- ensuring they have the right equipment, for example remote access to work systems
- including them in all necessary communications
- looking after their physical and mental wellbeing
Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible
Where possible, you should maintain 2m between people by:
- putting up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance
- avoiding sharing workstations
- using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance
- arranging one-way traffic through the workplace if possible
- switching to seeing visitors by appointment only if possible
Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk
Where it is not possible for people to be 2m apart, you should do everything practical to manage the transmission risk by:
- considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate
- keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
- using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
- using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible
- staggering arrival and departure times
- reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’
What you can do now
The are many myths circulating about what our industry will have to do (or not do) in order to open safely but until the guidance is published, we can prepare by considering some general points to be ahead of the game. Staff safety is covered in the above workplace guidance but their safety (and that of your own) is integral to opening safely and will form part of your risk assessments.
This is mean to be an active document and we will be adding to it as we know more. The below points are not sector-specific but are useful general points to think about whilst waiting for the government guidance:
Look at guidelines already published for other sectors and the five steps to working safely
Study your customer journey in line with your Covid-19 risk assessment and put in or adjust your operational plan in place for each part of your business
Before they arrive
- Are you offering flexible cancellation terms if the Covid-19 situation were to change – can they refund or re-book easily?
- How will you communicate with the guest if you had to close suddenly?
- What facilities are not currently available, or you cannot deliver due to restrictions, extra cleaning needed, limited staffing or social distancing?
- Café, restaurant, pool, spa. Early check-in, late check out#
- Is anything operating differently?
- Packed lunches
- Room service breakfast, room only, general room service
- Limited menus
- No buffet facilities at mealtimes
- Pre-booking only, timed ticketing
- Limited or extended opening hours
- 6-night stays instead of 7
- Maximum number of visitors/guests
- Only providing 1:2:1 activities or for family groups
- Limiting access and number to shower/toilet facilities on camping sites
- What are you doing to mitigate the spread of the virus?
- Hand-sanitiser stations
- Deep clean after every stay
- Use of different or more appropriate cleaning products
- If laundry can’t be washed at high temperatures, consider a sanitising agent
- More (visible) cleaning staff
- Will staff be wearing masks or PPE? Do you expect visitors to wear facemasks?
- Staff on hand to advise/ensure social distancing
- How often are communal facilities cleaned and what is the responsibility of the visitor/guest?
- Good communication with staff
- Regular temperature checks
- Coronavirus awareness information and extra training given
- Pastoral care
- Check in/check out – What special arrangements are in place?
- Key collection – key safes, key cards posted out
- Drive up/car park check-in with limited contact
- Print-out or digital confirmation – Some sectors already do this well
- Email final bill before check-out with payment links
- App or online visitor information including menus, FAQs etc so guests can plan before they arrive
- Pre-booking only/ticketed timed entry only
- Contactless or online pre-payments for purchases or check-out
- What social distancing measure have you put in place, particularly in public areas?
- One-way flow of visitors – what signage is needed?
- Share visitor safety information
- How are you interacting with suppliers?
- Is there a process in place for deliveries, have/will suppliers changed?
- Is your action plan in place in case of infection?
- Does your website have the right messaging?
- Is it reassuring to potential guests and visitors?
- Are you communicating this through your databases, social media, marketing plans? Do you need to be communicating some of the above?
When they are here
- Does it allow for social distancing, is signage in place?
- Advise customers not to enter if they are displaying symptoms
- Are you operating a one-way system around the property/attraction? If so, is clear signage in place?
- How will arrival/check-in be managed? How will any potential queuing be mitigated or managed?
- Perspex screens at reception, ticketing points to protect staff
- Sadly, no handshakes
- Limited use lifts, sanitize regularly
- Do you need floor markers to facilitate social distances?
- If using timed entry has this been communicated effectively in advance
- Visitor Information
- If offering on-line room information, tours commentaries, menus etc how is this communicated to the visitor? Posters and/or in advance?
- Is your Wi-Fi robust enough for the extra use?
- Display Covid-Safe Kitemark when it’s available
- Explain what to do if visitors feel unwell
- Do you have enough seating if require allowing social distancing?
- Will you need to stagger mealtimes, offer room service?
- If staff are wearing masks or other forms of PPE do you need a way of explaining to guests that this is for their safety? This has not been normal before.
- Encourage contactless or card payments
- Examine cleaning routines for each part of the business, every room from entrances to storerooms. This is the perfect opportunity to de-clutter!
- Evidence of cleaning processes will form part of your Covid-19 risk assessment.
- Communicate some of this to visitors, e.g.: frequency of cleaning of toilets for public use
- How will you handle crockery, cutlery, condiments on tables etc?
- Bring cutlery and disposable condiments and sauces to the customer
- One-time use menus, online-only or even a blackboard
Some general point to think about
Accessibility When thinking of arrival/departures, one-way systems around buildings and venues, how will this affect your existing access statement and facilities for the less able? Safety for all is paramount at this time but you also need to ensure this is communicated in the right way and assistance and signposting is given where appropriate.
Declutter The virus can remain on certain surfaces for longer. This is the perfect opportunity to declutter. Think about children’s toys, unnecessary furniture, out of date information when looking at cleaning routines.
Main pinch points. How can you avoid these or mitigate their risk?
Staff awareness Have you communicated your opening plans to your staff? Have you listened to their concerns and incorporated them in your plans? Are you providing adequate training?
Some points from the EU Guidelines. These suggest an increased ventilation of rooms for at least one hour are recommended after guest check-out.
Cleaning and disinfection: Cleaning of frequently touched surfaces as often as possible (at least daily and if possible, more frequently) is key. Examples of these surfaces are doorknobs and door handles, chairs and armrests, table-tops, light switches, handrails, water taps, elevator buttons, bar counter tops, etc. Staff should be informed of and perform the procedure of cleaning after checking out, as well as regarding the treatment of cleaning equipment, waste management, laundry and personal hygiene following cleaning
Legionella. If a business has been closed for some time has this been addressed?
Insurance. Is it up to date, some businesses may have downgraded their insurance during lockdown?
Marketing. How are you currently marketing – are you currently marketing? Hints and tips to follow.
Reading, Resource, Trusted Supplier & Best Practice
There are many papers, helpful guides and tips from both our industry and others. We will add to this area as more information is available. If you find something you think will interesting for our members, please send it in and we will add it.
Please note, Cumbria Tourism cannot endorse any guidance that does not come from official channels.
Information & Guidance
COVID-19: EU Guidance for the progressive resuming of tourism services and for health protocols in hospitality establishments