Planning a getaway? Here are some changes to expect
By Waithera Mbuthia
The infamous quote by our Health CS is that ‘If we continue to treat this disease (Covid-19) normally, then it will treat us abnormally’. As such, things have shifted from the normal way we’re used to. Unfortunately, the hospitality industry has taken an undeniable hit considering most socializing,unwinding, entertainment and bonding happens in this sector. As a response to the ‘new normal’, and to ensure that we can still have fun albeit safely, the ministry of tourism has released guidelines and protocols, which are to be followed by hotels, entertainment joints, camps and other hosts. This is to ensure Covid-19 containment measures are followed and to ensure the safety of both staff and clients.
So, if you are planning for a getaway, or a trip, here are some changes you should expect to find in the accommodation and dining places.
You will be required to clean your hands frequently. As this is the first step in reducing infection transmission, it is good that you comply.
All joints are required to put up hand washing spots throughout the premise, with signage indicating the same.Also, portable hand sanitizers are required to be given to guests, to carry around, and this applies even to the tour vehicle operators. Also ensure you carry your own sanitizer if possible.
All hotel rooms, camp sites should be disinfected thoroughly following ministry of health set guidelines after guests have checked-out. They should be given at least an idle day before admitting other guests. All linen should be collected and disinfected in a central place to prevent contamination.
- Food matters
We all love some good food,especially away from home. So, the ministry has come up with a way to ensure your food is healthy. You will miss your buffet style meal in most scenarios.Buffet style serving, especially where guests serve themselves is discouraged.In the event of a buffet, the chefs should serve the food, while wearing masks and gloves, they should also be keen to observe social distance. A glass screen/shield is also encouraged in such scenarios. Otherwise, it is safer to have prepackaged meals, with disposable containers. Utensils used communally should be disinfected before next use. This also applies to drinks.
- Staff health
All core staff of the premises are required to have Covid-19 free certificates, which are valid for not longer than 14 days. This means that the hotel staff will be required to take the covid tests frequently. As a result, most of the hotel(s) management have resulted in having staff in shifts- which translates to reduced manpower. This means that your order may not come as fast as you’d wish.
- Covid Awareness Signages
As a constant reminder that these are not normal times,premises have been encouraged to stick out posters relating to Covid-19 at strategic points. So be ready to see many of these. Signages indicating different directions are also encouraged. The premises are also required to plan the seating space in a manner encouraging a social distance of 1.5 meters from one person to the next.Waiting staff are also required to keep a safe distance while receiving and delivering guests' orders. Premises should be disinfected regularly, especially high traffic areas. Such should also be manned by staff. Doors can be wedged open, to reduce risk of contamination from one handler to the next.
- Guest safety
Your temperature will be taken frequently, and as much as it may bother you, this is the new normal. This ist o ensure that you or your loved ones do not have a fever, which is a cardinal sign of Covid-19. You might also be required to pre-book your stay to where you are going. This will also require you to fill a medical and travel declaration form online, to ensure full risk assessment. Institutions are required to have access to medical facilities, a pharmacy, or a medic on site in case of any guest has medical related issues.
These are some among the many changes you might find out there. They are all meant to protect our good health. Go have fun, and stay safe.