Practical guide to staying in a hotel in the ‘new normal’

Traveling will never be the same again after the coronavirus pandemic . We keep hearing this phrase, and yet what does it mean? We can go by car or plane, to the beach or to an urban center, but surely we will need accommodation on vacation. This is why we bring you a guide on how the hotel sleeping experience will change from COVID-19.

What will be the capacity? What about hygiene measures? Can we use an elevator? And what about the buffet or the pool? There are many questions about stays in tourist establishments and, with the imminent opening of the first hotels, we looked for all the answers.

Almost all can be summed up in just two: extreme hygiene and cleanliness and social distance . However, and among the amalgam of new protocols and Covid-free stamps, the Institute for Spanish Tourist Quality ( ICTE) in collaboration with the Cehat hotel association and the Secretary of State for Tourism, in addition to different entities such as the Hotel Business Association de Madrid ( AEHM ), unions and hotel chains, has designed a general rule for its application in hotels and tourist establishments so that the long-awaited reopening does not entail contagion risks.

It is also reviewed by the Spanish Association for the Prevention of Occupational Risks and follows the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), just missing the green light from the Ministry of Health to make it normal.

Arrival at the hotel

We entered the hotel, surely after passing a carpet impregnated with disinfectant . Our first contact is usually the reception, a place where people always roam in, out and waiting to carry out some management.

Although temperature measurement is not set as mandatory before entering the hotel, it is recommended that establishments have non-contact thermometers

The capacity must now be controlled and we will find measures to ensure distance, both with other travelers and with employees.

There will be hydroalcoholic solutions within our reach and there will be a non-contact thermometer although, at least for the moment, it will not be mandatory to take our temperature.

In order to spend as little time as possible in this place, measures such as online check-in and electronic keys will be encouraged . In addition, payment by card or other means that avoid handling cash will be encouraged. Have you been loaned a pen to sign? It must be disinfected after each use, as well as keys or cards, if they are physical.

The counters must be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day, although they may be more, depending on the influx of customers.

Done, we have the room. If we need help with luggage , staff will fill disposable gloves and / or disinfectant wipes to clean bag handles and handles. In addition, it is recommended that no one other than us handle our car.

Common zones

Each hotel must define the capacity of its common spaces, where we will always find hydroalcoholic solutions , especially in passageways and areas of greatest use.

Emphasis will be placed on respecting the safety distance and regular cleaning of paper, gel and soap dispensers in public toilets – where towels, even those for individual use – will disappear.

It is recommended to place abundant informative posters for both guests and staff with the hygiene and cleaning recommendations required

We will also see a lot of information around us: the signage in the form of informative posters for guests and staff and marks on the ground that indicate the recommended safety distances are recommended.

In the room

Lovers of minimalism will be a little more comfortable in hotel rooms from now on. Under the new protocol, textiles should be reduced as much as possible, including rugs, as well as decorative items and amenities .

We will find blankets and sealed pillows and litter bins always with a lid and a double bag, as well as a pedal or some system that avoids the need to operate it manually.

Hair dryer and wardrobe hangers must be disinfected at the exit of each client.

Regarding cleaning, and if there are any doubts, protocols are established to clean and disinfect all the elements, from the textiles – which will be washed at more than 60º – to the minibar.

Disappearance of the buffet?

What for many would be a kind of drama is not specifically contemplated in the document, although it is recommended to opt for services that reduce customer manipulation to reduce risks.

In the specific case of the buffet, formulas such as the installation of protection screens and assisted service, individual plating or suitably covered monodose are recommended. Of course, no items such as cruets, salt shakers, oil cans, beverage machines, etc. And all superfluous decoration will be reduced.

Itineraries will also be recommended to avoid crowds in certain areas and prevent contact between people.

The room service

As for room service, the staff will serve us equipped with gloves, as well as a mask if the safety distance cannot be maintained. All crockery material will be sanitized after each use.

Elevators yes or no

It is necessary to inform customers of the maximum capacity of the elevators although, ultimately, you can only go up with the people in your family unit, unless you use masks.

Swimming pools

The swimming pools, another of the great centers of concentration of guests -especially the holiday resorts- raise many doubts. In principle, they cannot be opened until phase 3 and to do so, guidelines and recommendations will be determined according to the results of the scientific report requested by ICTE on the behavior of the virus in water, both in outdoor and indoor pools.

Open gyms

We find the gymnasiums of the hotels open , for which the capacity must be defined so that the safety distance is ensured -yes, also between machines-. In case of offering group classes, they must guarantee a space of 2×2 m outside the teacher, with marked positions on the floor.

Of course, avoid exercises that involve contact and prioritize activities that can be done in open spaces.

Between each session, rooms will be cleaned and disinfected and sources for common use will be sealed, except for those with continuous fluid or automatic activation.

If we play sports individually, each machine must be cleaned and disinfected after use, and common elements such as weights, dumbbells and fitness balls will be removed if disinfection is not possible between uses.

Animation and children’s areas

The areas reserved for the little ones may be open, provided that the frequency of cleaning and disinfection is increased. Those responsible for the little ones must also do their part to increase personal hygiene.

As for the animation , the activities should be designed in such a way that the capacity can be controlled and the safety distance between people respected, which, again, is the basic rule.

Can weddings or conferences be held?

The protocol establishes requirements for events, although it delegates the celebration permit to the competent authority. In any case, the rules will be the same: capacity control and social distancing at all times of the event (arrival, breaks, food services, etc.).

If the safety distance cannot be maintained, the use of masks will be essential.

Note taken from: CERODOSBE