COVID-19 Guidelines and considerations
Cleaning & Housekeeping
Hoteliers have started implementing the newly instituted health and safety protocols as part of ever-evolving operating procedures to help their employees and guests.
Reorganising a whole housekeeping operation, however, can be a completely overwhelming task. FCS would like to ease the burden, by reaching out a helping hand to our hospitality industry colleagues and friends, using official guidelines to ensure full compliance.
Read further for the WHO guidelines and considerations for accommodation providers at this time for Cleaning and Housekeeping.
Cleaning and disinfection
Even in the absence of COVID-19 cases in the establishment, it is recommended that hygiene services be enhanced. Special consideration should be given to the application of cleaning and disinfection measures in common areas (restrooms, halls, corridors, lifts, etc.) as a general preventive measure during the entire COVID-19 epidemic. Extra attention should be given to objects that are frequently touched, such as handles, elevator buttons, handrails, switches, doorknobs, etc. Cleaning staff should be instructed accordingly.
As part of the tourism accommodation establishment action plan for COVID-19, there should be a special cleaning and disinfection plan for situations in which there are sick guests or employees staying at the establishment or identified with COVID-19 within a few days after leaving the establishment. Written recommendations for enhanced cleaning and disinfection should describe the additional operating procedures for cleaning, managing solid waste, and for wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).
The following should be implemented for rooms or specific areas exposed to COVID-19 cases:
- Any surfaces that become soiled with respiratory secretions or other body fluids of the ill person(s), e.g. toilet, hand washing basins, and baths should be cleaned with a regular household disinfectant solution containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (that is, equivalent to 1000 ppm). Surfaces should be rinsed with clean water after sufficient contact time for chlorine.
- Service staff may require additional training in the preparation, handling, application, and storage of these products, mostly bleach, which may be at a higher concentration than usual. The cleaning staff should know how to make sure the bleach is not disintegrated and how to rinse it off after 10 minutes.
- When the use of bleach is not suitable, e.g. telephone, remote control equipment, door handles, buttons in the elevator, etc. then alcohol 70% could be used.
- Whenever possible, use only disposable cleaning materials. Discard any cleaning equipment made of cloths and absorbent materials, e.g. mop-head and wiping cloths. When pertinent, disinfect properly non-porous cleaning materials with 0.5% sodium hypochlorite solution or according to manufacturer’s instructions before usage in other rooms.
- Textiles, linens, and clothes should be put in special, marked laundry bags and handled carefully to prevent raising dust, with consequent potential contamination of surrounding surfaces or people. Instructions should be given for washing them in hot cycles (70ºC or more) with the usual detergents. All used items must be handled appropriately to mitigate the risk of potential transmission. Disposable items (hand towels, gloves, masks, tissues) should be placed in a container with a lid and disposed of according to the hotel action plan and national regulations for waste management.
- In general, public areas where a case has passed through or has spent minimal time in (corridors) do not need to be specially cleaned and disinfected.
- Cleaning crews should be trained on the use of PPE and hand hygiene immediately after removing the PPE, and when cleaning and disinfection work is completed.
- All rooms and common areas should be ventilated daily.
Monitoring of sick guests
Housekeeping and cleaning staff should inform the management or the reception desk of any pertinent incidents, including possibly sick guests in their rooms. They must treat all this information with discretion.
Availability of materials
Cleaning staff should be trained on the use of and provided with personal protection equipment as listed below:
- Disposable gowns
- Closed shoes
- If doing procedures that generate splashes (e.g. while washing surfaces), add facial protection with a face shield and impermeable aprons.
They should also have access to sufficient disinfectant solutions and other supplies.
Optional housekeeping programs
All programmes where guests can voluntarily forego housekeeping services should be suspended in the service of maximizing health and safety of hotel staff and guests alike.
Setting the right standards and making sure they are adhered needs to be a priority for hotels going forward.
While all of the suggestions we have complied are important, being able to monitor, update and track your cleaning regimes and also being able to give accountability that standards are being met are key areas. Setting the right standards and making sure they are adhered needs to be a priority for hotels going forward.
Human contact and the passing of paperwork between staff also needs to be reduced. Most locations currently don’t handle cash and only accept contact-free payments at the front desk to avoid potential infection points. So why ignore this procedure in-house and increase the risk of potential infection between staff?
The FCS Housekeeping platform and app can be used as part of your arsenal to help you not only remove the need for sharing paper lists of duties, but also allows you to include a set of cleaning standards or guidelines for the staff to follow that meets WHO criteria, right in the app.
Giving your cleaning teams clear and precise details of the standards and guidelines and then being able to show evidence that you are not only following these but closely monitoring them, not only reduces stress for hotel management as well as the guests. The FCS Housekeeping app allows staff to confirm that duties are completed in real-time, using photos as proof of standards being met, if required.
Imagine a guest asking how clean the room is (for their peace of mind) and being able to show them not only the list of regular duties performed to meet standards but evidence that these requirements are being met.
FCS Housekeeping has a proven ROI that helps to reduce manpower costs and boosts productivity while at the same time allowing the ability to set measurable standards and maintain accountability where needed.
The FCS Housekeeping system’s interaction with the hotel PMS allows the front desk to be kept abreast of the room status. This reduces the amount of movement around the hotel by staff chasing for updates with regards to which room is ready for the guest and which is not.
At a time when hotels are looking to scale back on some guest services and costs to help fund new cleaning regimes and practices, the installation of new software might not seem to be a priority. FCS Housekeeping has a proven ROI that helps to reduce manpower costs and boosts productivity while at the same time allowing the ability to set measurable standards and maintain accountability where needed.
Whether you are opening your hotel in a few days or in a few months, it is crucial to have a plan for your staff to help them flourish in the New Normal working environment. Has your hotel done everything it can to help your team prepare for the arrival of guests?
While creating a contactless experience is not a new concept in hospitality, COVID-19 changed all that in a flash – what was previously nice-to-have has now become a must-have. Guests now demand to know how hoteliers have prepared for guest stays and how they are enforcing social distancing among staff and guests. Wondering which contactless practices your hotel should adopt to give your guests peace of mind?
As restaurants and bars re-open or resume operations the following considerations should be kept in mind to protect employees, customers, and communities and slow the spread of COVID-19.
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