Upon learning new facts about coronavirus every day, a broader array of symptoms is coming up, according to the World Health Organization. On a general note, health authorities have suggested the symptoms of cough, high temperature (fever), running nose, and shortness of breath, to be the main ones for coronavirus disease. India has recently reported 170 cases of coronavirus disease and with this count increasing every day, tourism is facing a major blow.
Shimla, the tourist hotspot, stands highly alert and aware of the tourist visits amidst the coronavirus situation. With major tourist attractions like Jakhu Ropeway, Mall Road, and the Lakkar Bazaar suffering heavily with a scarcity of tourists, several hoteliers have decided not to risk the lives of their family and tourists by shutting down hotels and homestays. In some regions, people have also taken a unanimous decision to send back the tourists towards their respective destinations. The government has also been requested to maintain a high stringency in terms of tourist visits. Amidst all this confusion, this article sheds light on some important aspects of coronavirus management for hoteliers.
What should hotel operators do?
The most important prevention is self-prevention and that can be achieved by self-quarantine measures. But when it comes to hotels, the mangers and staff need to be on their toes and respond quickly to any situation that may arise. The first step is to make the staff and guests aware of necessary health measures such as infection prevention, awareness and risk communication.
- Communicate the preventive measures to your staff. Remember charity begins at home.
- Remind your staff to use proper alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wash their hands frequently.
- Provide N95 quality face masks to the staff at the hotel.
- Provide good quality sanitizers to your hotel guests and staff.
- Inform the guests regarding risk mitigation practices and measures that the hotel management follows.
- Make sure that the luggage and handbags of the guests are not touched bare-handed by the staff or the guests while staying in the hotel. Encourage maximum safety.
- Ask the staff and guests to avoid body contact and handshakes for greeting. Maintain a minimum distance from each other.
- Disinfection protocols for the luggage and rooms should be of top grade. There is always a risk of running out of sanitizers and therefore disinfection protocols are the first step of ensuring infection prevention.
- Do not encourage using soaps for bathing. Use shower gels and avoid using the same body sponge/scrub for two or more people. Separate towels should be provided for the staff and the guests.
- In case any staff member or guest shows any symptoms of flu, it is very important to follow isolation protocols and inform the medical authority as soon as possible.
- Lastly, review the business continuity plans and please carry out a table-top exercise to find out if your hotel management is prepared for a worst-case scenario.
Try to follow these crucial tips for prevention and proper management, but most importantly, ensure that your hotel is safe for tourists, once this epidemic crisis subsides. Shimla has always been an abode of beauty and will forever be regarded as the ‘Queen of Hills’.