Is it safe for you to travel now?
Remember the time we used to step out of the house just to network with likeminded people. When we didn’t have an agenda for the evening but knew we will have a great time anyway. That seems like a decade ago, right? Questions that are confusing us most of the time since the government lifted restrictions:
- Is it safe for you to travel and visit a resort/hotel?Is it safe to stay overnight at a resort?
- Can we get involved in the fun activities?
- What are some of the protocols followed by resorts to ensure visitor safety?
- How can visitors ensure their own safety?
A lot has happened this year. If I go ahead and list out the things that took place along with the outbreak of Coronavirus, it’d rather be a dismaying trip down the memory lane. Starting from losing our favourite celebrities to Covid and depression, the mounting tension with China, Bihar floods, to the economy seeing the worst blow in 50 years, there’s a whole nine yard.
All in all, this year has changed our perspective towards life but that is a different discussion altogether. Let’s dive straight into what a roller-coaster 2020 has been for all of us. We were all made to stay at home indefinitely when the spread of Coronavirus became imminent across cities in the country to avoid contact with other people.
Any place that ensured contact with others had the risk of virus being transmitted. Hence, the government restricted public gatherings for close to a month resulting into a total shutdown of shops and local businesses.
Starting from the restrictions being laid out by the government to minimise the Covid-19 impact to companies responding with pay-cuts and laying off employees because the work did not require overstaffing when the business showed signs of slowing down.
Then came the unlock series where the government eased restrictions on businesses, local shops, pubs, malls, and theatres in intervals and large gatherings were still not allowed without a mask and proper sanitisation.
Ever since the government lifted restrictions and allowed them to operate at 50% capacity, the town has had some respite as far as stepping out was concerned. As happy and relieved as we are to visit our favourite places, the question that had most of us bewildered and perturbed is whether gathering in large numbers a smart idea since the virus is still around and not going away anytime soon.
Is it safe for you to visit/stay in a hotel and get involved in the fun activities?
I visited a hotel about a week ago to deliver some linens on behalf of my sister who owns a small linen business which had taken a serious hit during the lockdown and is now slowly reviving. I reached the three storey hotel and inquired a few things with the owner about the measures being taken to check if anything was actually done on the ground level.
“Are there any customers staying here right now?”
Yes, we have around 12 guests occupied in four rooms right now. We take all the precautions to keep our customers and staff safe from contracting the virus. It’s been tough for all of us as our hotel was only two months old before the lockdown and remained closed until last week.
“What measures do you and your staff take to ensure safety?”
We ask the customer to sanitize themselves first before entering the hotel premises followed by the temperature check. One of our staff members then sanitises the visitor’s belongings with disinfectant sprays. That way, we ensure the customer is fit to stay in the hotel.
“Hotels and resorts mean coming in close contact with your customers to address their needs. How do you manage that?”
That’s a thoughtful question. Once we are done with the basic sanitisation, we let the customers inside to freshen up and don’t come in contact with them until they check out. The food orders or any other requests are left at the doors ensuring zero contact with customers. Lastly, we have made it mandatory for our staff to wear a mask at all times and wash their hands regularly.
“So, when do the rooms get cleaned?”
The rooms get cleaned when the customers have checked out completely from the hotel until then, we don’t enter the rooms even to change the bedsheets unless it is utmost necessary. Once the customers check out the room is sanitized and sheets are washed as usual. Although the transmission is less through inanimated surfaces, we clean common objects like TV remotes, door knobs, chairs, dining table, mini fridge, coffee machine are all disinfected before the next customer arrives.
“When do you think things will go back to normal?”
Normalcy is coming back. These 12 customers are proof that people don’t want to stay indoors anymore. People wish to spend time with their family somewhere out on a weekend camping trip or getaway. As a management, we make sure our customers understand the gravity of the situation and cooperate with us. Good thing is, they are happy with the service given the current circumstances.
“What measures have you taken apart from the basic sanitisation protocols?”
We have placed flyers on the doors and bathrooms so that people are reminded of the same wherever they are. Staff members are allowed to interact with customers only from a distance. We have restricted customers from smoking and drinking inside the rooms as of now because that will require us to enter the room and perform cleaning which is unsafe for staffers. The food is served in disposable containers and paper plates are provided so customers can use them as a platter to eat.
“Okay, last question. And how do you manage the customers in the lounge area?”
The same protocols are practised in the lounge area. The food is placed on the table. Customers have to serve it themselves. Wait staff in the lounge area are following the social distancing guidelines and we have limited chefs in the kitchen as well.
As mentioned by the hotel owner, transmission of virus through inanimate surfaces is indeed less likely unless someone sneezes without their mask, then the virus may inhabit that surface for 2-3 hours.
So, even if you end up touching the surface the transmission will not take place as long as you sanitize your hands immediately. Carrying your own disinfectants and sanitizers will be an added incentive if you are visiting hotels or resorts.
What about the swimming pools in resorts?
We visit resorts and hotels to engage in all kinds of activities. Sometimes with friends and sometimes with our families. Swimming is one of the most interesting of all since a lot of us are deprived of them in cities.
There is no evidence when it comes to catching the virus from water. Swimming pools contain high levels of chlorine which automatically inactivates any form of virus in the water. Although the swimming pool is safe to dive into, distancing should be maintained and guidelines should be followed to prevent the transmission. Since public pools are open to all, hotels and resorts are required to regularly disinfect the surfaces so the place is safe for all.
It goes without saying that as resorts gear up to reopen for business, activities will also function fully with necessary guidelines in place.
The same protocols should be followed to prevent the transmission as being public places. Mandatory do’s such as wearing masks, physical-distancing, and regular sanitisation should be practised at all times.
With the end of the lockdown, Bangalore tourism and hospitality sector is eyeing on re-establishing themselves. Some hotels have gone the extra mile and partnered with companies that validate and review safety standards to retain their customers’ faith in their service.