The Polish government has launched the latest stage of lifting restrictions connected with the COVID-19 pandemic. 4 May marks the reopening of hotels and accommodation facilities. In consultation with the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, the Ministry of Development prepared guidelines for the venues’ operations in accordance with enhanced health and safety standards.
Compiled by the Ministry of Development and the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, the guidelines are intended to increase the safety and health protection of hotels and other facilities offering accommodation along with their guests. By following them, the venues in question will minimise the infection risk of hotel guests and other outsiders, including suppliers.
Guidelines for the operations of hotels/accommodation facilities/boarding houses during the COVID-19 epidemic in Poland.
Ministry of Development in consultation with Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, 28 April 2020
The aim of the introduced measures is to:
- Increase the safety and health protection of employees and guests of hotels/accommodation facilities/boarding houses,
- Minimise the risk of infecting guests and any other outsiders, including suppliers,
- Limit the number of contacts in hotels/accommodation facilities/boarding houses during a given period of time to minimise the risk of infection,
- Take comprehensive actions adapted to the epidemic stage.
Guidelines were divided into four sections:
- Ensuring employees and staff safety.
- Ensuring facility safety.
- Preventive procedures: suspected COVID-19 infection among employees/staff.
- Procedures for suspected COVID-19 infection among outsiders/clients.
Ensuring employees and staff safety
- Define tasks and processes that normally require close interaction, along with the way of their modification to increase the physical distance between employees and maintain safety at work in compliance with applicable laws (at least 1.5 metres in a workplace).
- Split working shifts to appropriately increase the safety of employees present in a given moment in a hotel/accommodation facility/boarding house.
- Reduce the number of employees using communal areas at the same time, e.g. a canteen, a cloakroom, etc. The number of people using the areas in question should facilitate social distancing of at least 2 metres. Equip staff of hotels/accommodation facilities/boarding houses with personal protective equipment, such as masks or face shields, gloves and hand disinfectants, as well as long-sleeve waterproof aprons, to be used should the need arise.
- Guidelines for employees:
- Wash hands with water and soap before starting work, immediately after coming in.
- Cover nose and mouth while performing duties; alternatively, wear face shields and protective gloves,.
- Keep a safe distance when talking with people and between colleagues (2 metres recommended).
- Frequently and thoroughly wash hands with water and soap following instructions placed near the washbasin and disinfect dried hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer (at least 60% of alcohol).
- Cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm or use a tissue - immediately dispose of the tissue into a recycling bin (closed lid) and wash hands.
- Try avoid touching your face, especially mouth, nose and eyes.
- Make all efforts to keep workstations clean and hygienic, especially after each day’s work. Keep in mind to disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as a phone receiver, a keyboard and a mouse, light switches and desks.
- Regularly (several times a day) clean common surfaces that clients have contact with, e.g. door handles, railings, countertops, chair backs.
- If possible, avoid commuting to work by public transport.
- Whenever possible, ventilate rooms without air conditioning.
- Reduce the number of meetings and in-company sessions to an absolute minimum: the meetings should be staged with windows open, keeping distance between participants as recommended by sanitary services (at least 2 metres); phone and e-mail communication is preferred.
- Limit the use of communal areas by employees, and in particular:
- arrange different break times,
- reduce the number of employees using communal areas at a given time (e.g. by spreading meal breaks).
- Take special care of employees from high-risk groups - if possible, people aged 60 years and older and/or with health conditions should not be involved in direct client interaction.
- Suppliers of hotels/accommodation facilities/boarding houses are obliged to use personal protective equipment in compliance with the applicable laws.
- Develop a procedure applicable in the case of a suspected infection and give clear instructions to employees.
- To reduce close interpersonal contacts, using phones, e-mail, etc. for communication is recommended whenever possible.
Ensuring facility safety
- Information about the maximum number of clients allowed to stay at the same time in a given area of the venue should be displayed in a visible place next to the entrance and at the reception desk.
- Dispensers with hand disinfectants should be made available for the guests of a hotel/accommodation facility/boarding house, with particular emphasis on the entrance, the reception area, elevator entrances, food service facilities and restroom entrances.
- It is recommended to provide an option of purchasing face masks at the reception desk.
- Instructions on hand washing, putting on and taking off gloves and face masks should be placed in sanitary and hygienic areas; instructions on proper hand disinfection - next to disinfectant dispensers.
- Monitor daily cleaning activities and provide adequate equipment and means, with particular emphasis on disinfecting high-touch surfaces - railings, door knobs, light switches, handles, chair arms and flat surfaces, including table tops in workrooms and staff dining rooms, keeping the required distance between staff and guests (at least 2 metres).
- Reduce the time guests spend at the reception desk to a minimum.
- The maximum number of guests in a hotel/accommodation facility/boarding house should be specified and monitored, based on the number of available rooms (number of rooms multiplied by two people).
- Areas such as TV lounges, children’s indoor play areas, swimming pools, saunas, discos and others, where social gatherings may take place, should be excluded from use until the next stage of economic reopening. The aforementioned areas may be used exclusively by groups of guests staying in the same rooms.
- Conference rooms can be applied in accordance with regulations described in the applicable laws (keeping a social distance of at least 2 metres between particular participants).
- Non-guests are prohibited from being present in a hotel/accommodation facility/boarding house.
- Lobby restrooms, elevators, reception desk counter (after every check-in), door handles, railings, handles, phones, keyboards, lounge equipment and other high-touch surfaces should be disinfected at least once every hour.
- Ensure precise dosing of professional cleaning products.
- Adopt a “by request only” policy for standard room cleaning services.
- After each check-out, standard room cleaning is recommended along with the disinfection of all high-touch surfaces (including chair backrests), items (e.g. remote controls) and bathroom, thorough airing out of the room and, once the cleaning is complete - ozoning/nebulization/decontamination with the use of other dedicated technologies.
- A room is rental-ready only after disinfection time compliant with the decontamination device’s instruction manual or the recommendation of applied technology’s manufacturer.
- The cleaning staff should be equipped with and properly use disposable face masks, gloves and, if needed, a disposable long-sleeve apron. Bedding and towels should be washed in a temperature of min. 60ºC with a detergent. Clean laundry is wrapped and delivered from the laundry under the sanitary regime.
- It is prohibited to use hotel hand dryers in guests’ bathrooms.
- If possible, all the areas of a hotel/accommodation facility/boarding house should be systematically aired out and common areas ozoned (or decontaminated in other available technology) in set periods of time.
- Restaurants and bars in hotels/accommodation facilities/boarding houses are allowed to operate in compliance with sanitary regime regulations (buffets are prohibited). Restaurant meals can be served only for hotel residents, provided that the distance of at least 2 metres between guests is observed.
- Hotel equipment available for guests (e.g. bikes, canoes, etc.) must be disinfected after every single use.
- Because of the COVID-19 threat, hotels/accommodation facilities/boarding houses have the right to suspend or limit services that might pose an increased risk for guests and staff (e.g. luggage delivery to rooms, etc.).
- An area or room suitable for the temporary isolation of a person showing COVID-19 symptoms should be selected and appropriately equipped (i.a. with personal protective equipment and disinfectant).
- Helpful phone numbers to sanitary and epidemiological stations and medical help should be compiled and displayed in a defined easy-access location.
- All guests and potential clients of a hotel/accommodation facility/boarding house should be informed about the COVID-19 virus safety procedures applied in a given venue.
Preventive procedures: suspected COVID-19 infection among employees/staff.
- The staff of a hotel/accommodation facility/boarding house should be familiarized with the introduced COVID-19 protocol, learning about the most important guidelines and related duties.
- Employees and staff of a hotel/accommodation facility/boarding house should be instructed that in the case of any alarming symptoms they should not come to work, but stay at home and call a sanitary and epidemiological station, an infectious diseases clinic or, if the symptoms intensify, call 999 or 112 to report a possible COVID-19 infection.
- It is recommended to continuously follow information published by the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate and the Ministry of Health, available at gis.gov.pl and https://www.gov.pl/web/koronawirus/, as well as the applicable legal regulations.
- In case an employee carrying out his expected tasks shows alarming symptoms implying a COVID-19 infection, he should immediately stop working and be sent home using private transport. Immediately stop the guest check-in, inform the appropriate local sanitary and epidemiological station and strictly follow any instructions and orders.
- The employee should wait for the transport in a designated area that enables temporary isolation.
- It is recommended to specify where the employee stayed earlier, carry out standard cleaning procedures and disinfect high-touch areas (door knobs, railings, handles, etc.).
- It is recommended to follow the advice of the local sanitary inspector to determine if additional procedures should be implemented for the case in question.
Procedures for suspected COVID-19 infection among outsiders/clients.
- If a guest is showing clear COVID-19 symptoms such as continuous cough, feeling very unwell, shortness of breath, he should not be allowed to enter the venue. Instead, he should be instructed to contact the nearest infectious diseases clinic and consult a doctor, either by using private transport or calling 999 or 112.
- If the guest resides in a hotel/accommodation facility/boarding house, he should be temporary isolated in a dedicated area. An emergency medical dispatcher should be informed about the suspected infection. The incident should be reported to the venue’s management, making it possible for the staff to determine where the person in question stayed earlier. Standard cleaning procedures should be carried out and high-touch areas (door knobs, railings, handles, etc.) disinfected.
- Compile a list of employees and clients (if possible) present at the same time in the same part/parts of the venue as the potentially infected guest. Follow Chief Sanitary Inspectorate guidelines available at gov.pl/web/koronawirus/ and gis.gov.pl in relation to people that came into contact with the guest in question.
- Immediately stop the guest check-in, inform the correct local sanitary and epidemiological station and strictly follow any instructions and orders.
Attachments – instructions:
- hand washing
- hand sanitizing
- how to safely take off a face mask
- how to safely take off gloves