CORONAVIRUS ADVICE FOR THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
Dr Lisa Ackerley, Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner
Many hospitality businesses must now close, but there are some that have to remain open, so this guidance has been updated to reflect this. Further guidance has now been released by the FSA, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, some local authorities and Primary Authorities (PA). If you have a PA arrangement, make sure you consult with them about any changes. Links to latest guidance are provided on the main UKH Coronavirus information page http://bit.ly/UKHCOVID-19.
Many businesses are offering to carry out retail and delivery services for their local community. I have provided some tips not only on how to address the issues around coronavirus but also to keep food safe, particularly if there are any new processes involved in your business.
Coronavirus or COVID-19 as it is now known is a respiratory illness which has caused many infections and deaths not only in China, where it originated, but also in other countries around the world including the UK. As this is a new disease, we are still learning about it so much is still uncertain, and Government web sites are updated most days, so do check them, even if you have read them before.
Viruses such as flu have been found to survive on surfaces for up to 2 days. For coronavirus, current advice has been that we should assume that after 72 hours or 3 days there is less risk of the virus surviving; it depends on the surface, and although estimates of 24-48 hours have been also made for different surfaces, for simplicity it is probably best to keep to 72 hours for the moment.
People may appear perfectly well but could be carriers of coronavirus in the incubation period, which is up to 14 days, and they could be shedding the virus. This means that we need to ensure that everyone improves their personal hygiene and as much as possible (handwashing and keeping hands from faces) and keeps their distance from each other (2m or 6ft away) if at all possible, whether in the workplace or when having a break. Where permitted businesses continue to operate, new procedures will need to be written to take social distancing measures into account.
The good news is that many standard good hygiene practices carried out in food businesses anyway will help contain the spread of the virus, but we nevertheless need to add to this for the current crisis as we are dealing with a respiratory disease.
Advice to all staff
Staff must understand that they must not come to work if they have symptoms of coronavirus or live in a household where someone has coronavirus.
Know the routes of transmission
- Direct contact to face – eyes, nose from droplets spraying from an infected person onto another person who is in close contact. This is why social distancing of 2m is so important whether when travelling to work or at work.
- Contamination via droplets from sneezing and coughing landing on surfaces and then transferring via hands on to eyes and nose and mouth. Other means of secretions getting on to surfaces could be from infected people touching their eyes, nose and mouth and then touching surfaces with contaminated hands.
- Contaminated hands of infected people can transfer the virus directly to others (e.g. handshakes) or on to hand contact surfaces which can be picked up by other people’s hands and transferred to their eyes, nose or mouth
- Possible transmission from faeces to hands and then directly or indirectly to the body via hands and hand contact surface transfer.
- Because it is believed that Coronavirus is infective during the 14-day incubation period, you could be carrying it without having any symptoms and wouldn’t know; others you are in contact with may also be carrying the virus without any symptoms and could be infectious.
- Taking preventive measures means assuming that everyone may have it and taking action accordingly. It is not a waste of time and is actually very cheap to implement the most effective measures, because these involve firstly washing your hands at critical times and second keeping dirty hands away from your face.
- Increasing the frequency of disinfection of hand contact surfaces in public areas will help to reduce the risks, and whilst many businesses are now closed, those that remain open need to increase sanitising of tables, chairs, doors and door handles and any other touch points.
- The precautions for this virus are pretty much the same as for any respiratory virus, so should also help to reduce the risk of getting other flu and cold viruses as well as norovirus which can be transmitted through poor hygiene.
- First and foremost, ask all staff to wash their hands when leaving home and then when arriving at work to wash their hands immediately upon arrival. You could put up a notice to remind them, at the entrance. Any security people at reception could remind everyone to wash their hands or use a hand gel. That way any virus particles picked up on the way to work are removed before they can be spread to others either via direct contact (shaking hands) or by touching hand contact surfaces (door handles, tables, kettle handles, kitchen equipment etc.)
- Hand gel, if used needs to be anti-viral and the higher the alcohol content, generally the better it is (over 62% is recommended). Check the labels to ensure that they are effective. Gels are a good additional resource in the workplace and could be positioned to encourage use.
Advice for staff to take home
- Advise everyone to wash their hands as soon as they get home from shopping or work, particularly if they have travelled on public transport.
- More and more households will now be in closer contact with each other than normally. Children are at home from school and family members may be staying. Anyone could be infected and may not know it for 14 days. This means personal hygiene and disinfection at home is even more important than ever. Passing on messages to your workforce to help keep them safe at home will pay dividends.
- Key times to wash hands at home are:
o Always when you come in
o Always when you go out (e.g. when you may touch things such as carpark buttons, petrol pumps etc)
o Alwaysaftergoingtothetoilet(faecestohandstosurfacestoothers) o Always after blowing your nose or touching your nose (nose to hands to
surfaces to others)
o Always before emptying the dishwasher or drying washed dishes (dirty hands will contaminate the clean crockery and cutlery)
o After handling laundry
o Before handling clean laundry
o After preparing raw food (food safety issue, but still important) o After unpacking a delivery parcel or shopping
o Before taking drinks or snacks to others in the household
o After handling refuse
How staff can protect themselves on the way to work
• Keep your hands away from your face, particularly your eyes and nose
o Your hands can pick up virus particles on any surface that is contaminated – anywhere where an infected person may have touched, or where someone has unwittingly transferred the virus from one contaminated surface to another.
o NEVER touch your eyes or inside your nose unless you have just washed your hands.
- Don’t shake hands – even bumping elbows is now deemed too close
- Keep 2m (6ft) away from any other persons and if possible don’t share cars to work
because you can’t do the 2m distancing.
- Stay apart as much as you can and turn away from people on public transport if you can, particularly if they are coughing or sneezing.
- Heightened disinfection needs to be undertaken to disinfect all frequently touched areas such as tables, chairs, counters tills, card machines etc.
- Government guidance refers to using detergent and then 1000ppm available chlorine for disinfecting which kills the virus and can be made up from bleach. This is to be used on visibly clean surfaces.
- In kitchens, continue to use your regular sanitising as usual, and at the end of the shift you may want to go over all hand touch surfaces one more time before closing.
If staff develop symptoms when at work
- It pays to have a plan in place for this eventuality.
- If staff become ill with a fever and a new, continuous cough when at work they must
be sent home and must follow Government ‘stay at home’ guidance.
- For information, you can look at the 111 webpage.
- If it is an emergency and they have breathing difficulties and their life is at risk, dial 999.
- Using gloves and a disposable apron, clean and disinfect any touch points that may have been contaminated by the infected person as soon as possible. Wash your hands after removing PPE.
Advice to staff working in kitchens
- As much as possible, we all need to be 2m away from each other as we don’t know who may be infected and not showing symptoms yet. This is very hard and will require planning and rearranging.
- As every business is different, work out a plan that fits yours.
- Document any new rules and have a staff briefing on what everyone needs to do.
- For example, you could say only one person at a time is allowed in the chilled stores or dry stores, or the changing rooms / w.c. areas.
- In small kitchens this may be very difficult but try your best to rearrange things to protect everyone.
- Make sure that the 2m rule applies at lunch or smoking / vaping breaks Advice at food service
- Make a plan on what could be done to make food service safer for staff and customers through social distancing measures. Manage expectations. Make the rules, document them and then make sure everyone knows what the new rules are.
- Ask for an email to go out to staff and put signs up.
- Customers must not sit less than 2m away from each other and must keep at least 2m
between them in the queue.
- Advise customers not to enter if they have symptoms of coronavirus
- If possible, there should be hand sanitiser at the entrance to the premises with a sign asking people to use it before entering.
- At the very least there should be a sign asking all guests to wash their hands before entering.
- If possible, provide pop-up hand washing stations at the entrance, but ensure that there is social distancing during use, and that there is no risk of contamination from the stations themselves (e.g. taps).
- The organisation could stagger timings so that groups of staff have slots to come for their meals to reduce bunching up.
- People will need to be told to keep 2m apart in queues – it is a good idea to put tape on the floor to mark out the distance.
- Pre-orders such as packed lunches could be made and collected from a separate counter with 2m marking on the floor to ensure social distancing.
- Customers may need to be asked to step back from counters so that staff can serve them safely if the counter is less than 2m wide.
- Plates should be picked up only by hospitality staff, rather than customers handing the plates to the staff to fill.
- When the food is plated, the plate can be placed on the customer’s tray and, then the member of staff moves back, and the customer picks it up.
- Where staff come into contact with items used by customers, they need to ensure that they wash their hands before moving on to another task.
- At this time, individually wrapped condiments and sauces could be offered on request and put with the plated food on the customer’s tray, otherwise they could be contaminated by other customers’ hands.
- Consider whether operationally it is possible for cutlery to be placed on the customer’s tray with the food and condiments rather than customers helping themselves.
- Space out tables in the canteen and allow only one person per table, or if very large tables, operate the 2m distancing rule.
- If payment is contactless that is easier and safer. For customers who cannot use a bank card, try to think of another way of charging that doesn’t involve cash (pre-paid vouchers for example).
- If staff are serving customers or taking payments, they need to be protected, and whilst at the moment there is no advice to wear masks, they need to keep 2m away from customers; or some business are putting up plexiglass shields to protect staff.
- The most important thing is to remember the routes of transmission, and to work out what actions are best in your business.
Hand washing times
- On leaving home
- On arrival at work
- Between any process
- On entering the kitchen
- Before handling ready-to-eat food
- After handling raw food
- After clearing a table
- After touching anything that guests may have contaminated
- After touching hand contact surfaces such as handrails, door handles
- Always after using the toilet or going into the toilet areas
- After cleaning
- After cleaning hotel rooms and touching bedding and towels
- After doing any laundry
- Before and after a smoking or vaping break
- After handling refuse or recycling
- After handling money
- After opening packaging and decanting
- After removing gloves and before putting new gloves on
- Any time when hands could become contaminated
Disinfection times in the office
- Make sure you keep 2m apart in the office (they are often crowded spaces so you may need to allow only one person at a time in there).
- In the catering or hotel office, many people could be sharing the phone, keyboard, mouse, and the desk.
- Disinfect these before you sit down using an antimicrobial wipe that has anti-viral properties – look on the label (leave these on the desk). As coronavirus is new, tests have not been done on this yet, but the next best thing is to use those products that claim to kill flu and cold viruses.
- Always sneeze or cough into the crook of your arm to prevent your hands becoming contaminated
- If you use a tissue, bin it immediately, or flush down the toilet and don’t leave around on surfaces. Wash your hands or use hand gel afterwards
- If anyone has a high temperature and new continuous cough they must not come to work and follow the latest self-isolating guidance (currently 7 days self-isolation)
- If anyone lives with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus they must not come to work and must self-isolate (currently for 14 days).
- Self-isolation will affect labour and should be considered
- Fit staff may need to be prepared to be on standby for extra rotas
- Uniform should be washed at temperatures above 60°C or a laundry sanitising agent used if the fabrics can’t be washed at such a temperature.
- If a high temperature is not possible, and you have sufficient uniform, leave the laundry in a bag in a safe place for 72 hours and then wash as normal
- There is more control if laundry is carried out in-house or professionally, rather than staff taking it home.
- Uniform must not be worn on the way to work as it could become contaminated Face masks
At the moment there is a lot of discussion about how effective these are, and we should await direction from Public Health department about when it may be appropriate for masks to be worn. Masks could themselves be a route of transmission if they are not used correctly. However, there may be situations when a face mask should be worn, for example when dealing with areas or items soiled heavily with bodily fluids from an infected person. This will be for the business to assess and take local public health advice.
Training should be given to ensure that all staff understand the new risks, and this need not take long but should include details on 2m social distancing, routes of transmission and the importance of hand washing and surface disinfection at key times. All staff should be instructed about not coming to work if they have a fever or new cough. They should stay at home for 7 days.
Menus could provide a route of transmission, so use a notice board or digital display if possible.
If you are changing your food offer to take-away and deliveries
Many businesses are offering take-aways and deliveries to help weather the storm or maybe simply as a community service. Even if you are giving food away for free to help out, you and all who work for you (and volunteers) must follow the legal requirements for food safety, including providing allergen information on request.
If you are already registered but plan to change your food operation to include delivery, you need to inform your local authority. The easiest way is via email.
Make sure you implement changes in your business to ensure that staff keep a distance of 2m apart.
For detailed information from the FSA also check: ‘How to manage a food business if you sell products online, for takeaway or for delivery.’
Remember, allergic reactions to ingredients can be fatal. Please see here the full list of 14 allergens For more information and advice about allergy, visit: food.gov.uk/allergy
In Wales, if you have a specific menu developed for delivery food, Welsh law requires you to make people aware how to check your Food Hygiene Rating. To do that the following needs to be added to all promotional material including websites.
“Ewch i food.gov.uk/ratings i ganfod sgôr hylendid bwyd ein busnes neu gofynnwch inni beth yw ein sgôr hylendid bwyd wrth archebu.”
Go to food.gov.uk/ratings to find out the food hygiene rating of our business or ask us for our food hygiene rating when you order”.
The font must be (a) type size of at least 9 points as measured in font ‘Times New Roman’ not narrowed; and (b) space between text lines of least 3mm.
Paperwork and Training
- Make sure that you have considered how to manage any new hazards for new catering steps such as chilling if you are doing cook-chill meals.
- Delivery may be another new step for you if people don’t come to collect and you take food to them.
- You may also want to create a simple record form to document any controls you are taking.
- Any new staff or volunteers must be trained in the basics of hygiene and in particular how to ensure safety where they play a role at the control points in this new arm of the business. Record any training done – even if just in a diary so that you have a record.
- You should write a process for the safe interaction with customers and staff /volunteers for your particular business, based on suggestions below, and then instruct everyone in ways to protect themselves and the customers from coronavirus. Make a note of who you have instructed and when.
Delivery Boxes and Bags
- Make sure that any food delivery boxes and bags are fit for purpose.
- Consideration should be given to their ability to be kept clean and be disinfected.
- You should use the two stage clean to disinfect the container internally and externally to ensure effective disinfection at the start of the day before being used for carrying food and after deliveries, as well as regularly throughout the day.
- If boxes and bags need to keep food hot or cold, then choose appropriate insulated carriers.
- Hot food should arrive to the customers hot at 63°C or above and cold food arrive cold at 8°C or colder.
- To achieve this, it is recommended to keep distances short and limited to within 30 minutes radius.
- You should carry out periodic checks to ensure the food is arriving adequately hot or cold and record this in your due diligence records.
- If ice packs are used, these should be cleaned and sanitised as per the insulated box or bag in between every use.
General Information about Drivers and Riders
- Drivers and riders must have insurance for business use.
- Vehicles must be clean, comply with MOT, tax etc.
- There must be no smoking permitted in any delivery vehicle as these are considered workplaces.
- Working time and length of time driving should also be considered.
- You can check here for Rules on Driving Hours.
- A thorough risk assessment will ensure you comply with the law but if in doubt check with your legal advisors.
- Remember that delivery drivers are food handlers and therefore must be given basic induction on safe food handling, personal hygiene and reporting of any infections or illness. They must know that they must not work if they have any symptoms of coronavirus or any other infection.
- Look out for signs and symptoms of coronavirus of all delivery drivers daily and record in your due diligence records.
- Drivers and or Riders must hand wash or sanitise before and after collection every time as they could cross contaminate between the restaurant and the customer.
- The driver must be provided with alcohol hand sanitiser at 62% + alcohol.
- Age Verification (if including alcohol), Food Hygiene, Health and Safety and Allergens.
All training should be recorded on a training record.
- When drivers or riders pick up food, they must maintain social distancing.
- You need to ensure that you have put into place correct controls, for example for protecting food from contamination and ensuring the food is at the correct temperature during delivery. This means that you may need to amend your food safety management system accordingly and then make sure that everyone knows what the controls are.
- Details on allergens should be available at point of ordering as discussed above (I would ask proactively on the phone as you may be dealing with people who are not used to ordering food like this). Put a sticker on home-made food deliveries to advise anyone with an allergy to ring for information if they have not already told you. This wording may be useful:
o “Before ordering, please speak to a member of staff if you have any food allergies or intolerances”.
- If you have made food for an allergic consumer then you need to identify that food clearly on the packaging when delivered.
- If you are re-selling prepacked food, then make sure it is properly labelled with ingredients and allergens in accordance with the Food Information Regulations. For example, it needs to be in English!
- Hot food and ready-to-eat deliveries need to be consumed immediately they are accepted by the customer. You need to make it clear that the responsibility for the food after delivery lies with the customer.
- Do not use any crockery that needs to be returned. Check that any packaging that will be in direct contact with food is suitable. You can check if it’s food safe by looking for a symbol on it that looks like a wine glass and a fork. You can also check if it is marked ‘for food contact’. It is not eco-friendly, but we need to use disposables.
- You need to have a no returns policy for food.
Delivering to customers
If you’re delivering to local households, here are some suggestions, but you will need to adapt to different circumstances:
- Agree a time for dropping off and where and how you will place the food.
- Ask the customer to have a table / box or tray outside the door for you to put the
food in or on.
- If delivering beer from your keg, use a container or jug and ask the customer to put their pint glass or jug on the tray and pour the beer into their vessel without touching it. Do not use pub glasses.
- Wash your hands before setting off. Use hand sanitiser before getting the food delivery out of the bag.
- Ring the bell and stay 2m away till the food is picked up.
- Avoid taking cash, ask for BACS payments if you don’t have an online credit card
- For the elderly, if they can’t pay online then ask them to put the exact or close to exact money in a named and addressed envelope and say you will give them their change next time or pop it through the letter box later. Put the envelopes in a bag – you can deal with the money when you get back (maybe on a tray for this purpose that can be disinfected), put any change back in the envelopes and then wash your hands afterwards.
- Assume that by ringing the bell or knocking on the door that your hands could be contaminated so ensure you wash hands immediately you return to your business or use a hand sanitising gel. Alternatively use a pad of tissue to press the bell and dispose of this safely (take a plastic bag for this purpose). If you get back in a vehicle, use hand sanitiser before you get in, so you don’t contaminate the steering wheel.
- When you decide what works for you, write a procedure note – being prepared is a key to success, and making sure everyone has what they need (do a check list) to do the deliveries safely is very important.
The following are suggestions – you will need to adapt them for your own circumstances.
- Make sure everyone knows your rules in advance – customers, staff and volunteers! This is for everyone’s protection. If everyone knows in advance, it doesn’t sound so bossy or unfriendly.
- Social distancing measures must apply – everyone must be 2m apart if in a queue. It may pay to put some tape down at 2m intervals if possible, and on your property.
- Arrange with customers a slot to collect when they make the order to reduce the likelihood of close contact. Ask customers to wash their hands before arriving.
- With freshly washed hands, make up the orders and put in labelled bags, keeping ambient, chilled and frozen food separate so you can store them safely until collected if there is likely to be a delay before the customer phoning.
- Have a table at the door of the business where customers can pick up their order. Make whatever arrangement is best for you to make sure that orders are ready and can be put outside to avoid contact with the customer.
- This is not the time for bags and boxes to be recycled!
- If serving beer from your kegs, use a container or jug and ask the customer to put their pint glass / jug on the table and pour the beer into their vessel without touching it. Do not use pub glasses. You don’t want anything back. The less we share, the better.
- Wherever possible take payment over the phone or by BACS. If you have to use a machine, contactless is great for small orders, but otherwise you will have to disinfect the machine between each customer and wash your hands between each customer, and put the machine on your table, step back and then ask the customer to leave the machine on the table and also step back.
- If someone wants to pay cash, and you are not expecting a rush, then you could deal with the cash and give change, but you will need to make sure you wash your hands after and disinfect any surfaces you may have touched after handling the money. If it is likely to be busy, they will need to put the cash in a labelled (name and address) envelope and if not the exact amount, you will be able to give them the change at a later point when they come for the next order.
• You must ensure you keep records of who you have supplied food to as part of traceability requirements.
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATION FOR HOTELS
Whilst most hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfast establishments are now required to be closed for leisure guests, there are some residential/key worker establishments that remain open.
Guests could be carrying the virus and may not know about it and may also arrive having picked it up on their hands during travelling.
Staff must be instructed that they must also keep 2m apart when working whenever possible.
- Manage expectations: to help with what could be a potentially embarrassing and inhospitable situation, it would pay to have a notice on the door explaining that social distancing rules and additional hygiene measures are in place to protect guests and staff. Many hotel chains are emailing all guests prior to arrival to explain the extra measures that are being taken to offer reassurance.
- If you have a doorman / woman, they could let guests know that they need to stand 2m apart if there is a queue for the desk.
- Have sanitiser for guests to use on the desk, but at least 2m away from the staff.
- Make sure all reception staff have access to sanitiser behind the desk so that they can
use this between serving guests
- Reception desks should be organised so that staff can be 2m away from guests as much as possible.
- When guests sign documents and use the chip and pin machine, reception staff should step back to keep their distance. Any pens or machines that are used should be disinfected before the next guests, and staff should sanitise their hands.
- If staff help guests with luggage, they should keep 2m apart from guests whilst collecting luggage and either take it to the room before the guest arrives there or knock on the door, step back 2 paces and leave the luggage at the door. After handling luggage, staff should wash their hands or use a hand gel afterwards.
If room service is provided, care must be taken to ensure that the virus is not transmitted from guests to staff and visa versa.
Below are some suggestions, but above all you need to adopt a plan that works for your establishment as everyone is different. Make sure you document your process and train the staff on what to do to keep themselves and the guests safe. You may want to make a small poster to put up to remind staff about what to do.
- Manage expectations – ensure guests know that staff will have to operate social distancing and that room service trays will not be brought into the room. Explain what your process will be.
- Staff must wash their hands before picking up the room service tray to take to the guests.
- If you can, use butlers’ trays which can be left off the floor next to the door, or think of other ways to protect the order, for example a small light table, or a folding luggage rack both of which have been disinfected first.
- Staff should knock on the door and leave the tray outside the door and step away 2m. The guest can then pick the tray up, and the staff can remove the tray stand or table etc.
- The member of staff should wash their hands afterwards.
- Avoid any paperwork.
- If the guest wants to tip, then this should be done on the bill. Handling cash is a risk.
- The guest should leave the tray and its crockery and contents outside the room on the floor if necessary when finished.
- Staff should check the corridors from trays in the normal way.
- When trays are picked up, they must be taken to the relevant area and decontaminated – crockery and cutlery to go in the dishwasher, and the tray to be sanitised. Any linen must be placed directly in a laundry bag and not left lying around. Staff must wash their hands immediately after handling the trays.
- If staff use disposable gloves, they must take them off after handling the trays, dispose of the gloves safely and then wash their hands.
- Housekeeping staff could be at risk from picking up the virus left on hand contact surfaces in bedrooms, on linen and towels.
- Staff need to wash their hands before starting work in each room, even if then using disposable gloves. Use paper towels to dry hands.
- Hand contact surfaces should be sanitised using a chemical that is effective against respiratory viruses as well as bacteria. Make a check list of all the touch points which could include the following:
o Doorhandles–insideandout o Hairdryerhandles
o Ironandironingboard,trouserpress o Safebuttons
o Mini bar handle
- Glasses and crockery should be removed and washed in a dishwasher not the room
- Linen and bedding should be bagged before leaving the bedroom to reduce any risk of transmission in the corridor
- It is critical that staff protect themselves by hand washing immediately after cleaning each room or use a sanitizing hand gel.
- Any cloths must be disposed of after cleaning each room, along with any disposable PPE used such as gloves and aprons.
Coronavirus cases in your business (Hotels, B and Bs)
If there is an infection relating to your premises, there is specific guidance that you need to follow which includes how to deal with bedrooms safely. A link to this government guidance is found at https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/page/coronavirus, but we have summarised the information here. Be aware that guidance is changing daily as more scientific evidence comes in, so always check the Government sites if a case arises in your business.
It pays to make a plan for this eventuality before it happens and to make sure that you have the chemicals you need, and PPE. You also need to make sure that your staff are trained on new procedures.
- Check with your disinfectant or sanitiser supplier that your products are effective against the coronavirus.
- Bleach is a very effective disinfectant when used on visibly clean surfaces.
- The recommended dilution if using bleach or a bleach-based sanitiser is 1000ppm
- How you achieve the correct dilution will depend on the strength of the bleach you start with.
- Contact the manufacturer now for instructions on how to achieve this concentration, don’t wait till you need to know. Only dilute with cold water and never mix chemicals.
- Do not use a higher concentration than you need to because it could damage surfaces.
- If preparing a bleach solution, then label any spray bottles clearly and replace the solution daily.
- Use disposable cloths, or paper rolls and disposable mop heads.
- Staff need to wear disposable gloves and aprons and take care not to splash the
Bedrooms where there has been an infected guest staying
Currently the best advice we can offer is to leave the room secure and unoccupied for 72 hours to significantly reduce the risk of the virus surviving on surfaces. Do not allow anyone to go in – put a notice on the door to remind staff that the room is “Out of action.”
This simple measure will reduce the risk to your housekeeping staff and guests and means that soft furnishings which can’t be disinfected easily will be safe. If you do this, current UK Government guidance is that you can follow normal room cleaning regimes, as detailed above.
I really do advise you to do this if you can, even though it means no occupation of the room for 3 days.
You will need to clean and disinfect all touch point public areas in the hotel: disinfect surfaces such as grab-rails in corridors and stairwells, door handles and lift buttons. Don’t just clean the touch points on the floor level where the infected guest was, others may have picked up the virus and transferred it to other floors and areas. Dispose of any cloths, disposable PPE and mop heads by double bagging and keeping secure for 72 hours before disposing in the general rubbish.
If you can’t isolate the room
If you can’t keep the room unoccupied after an infected guest has left, Government guidance includes some of the following information and we have added more detail to help:
- Make sure housekeeping staff are protected with disposable or washing up gloves and aprons. Where there is evidence of bodily fluids, further PPE may be needed to protect the housekeepers’ nose and eyes, according to the latest government guidance. If this is not be available, leave the room isolated for 72 hours.
- Don’t shake laundry and bag up in double bags and leave securely for 72 hours before washing. Wash hands and disinfect any surfaces that may have been contaminated by the bags after taking to the secure place.
- Steam clean soft furnishings and mattresses only if you can guarantee that the steam cleaner actually emits steam when it leaves the machine.
- Using a disposable cloth, first clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water. Then disinfect these surfaces with the disinfecting / sanitising products you normally use.
- Pay particular attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces, in the room as listed above.
- After cleaning dispose of protective clothing, cloths and mop heads and any other waste in the room by double-bagging, and then store securely for 72 hours then throw away in the regular rubbish after cleaning is finished.
- After cleaning, and after removing PPE and bagging up waste, wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, and dry them with a paper towel.
- If an area has been heavily contaminated, such as with visible bodily fluids, from a person with coronavirus (COVID-19), your best course of action is to leave the room for 72 hours before attempting to clean because of the risk to staff. Contact Public Health England Health Protection Team for further advice.
- There are companies that provide a fogging service to give peace of mind but check these out to ensure that they are suitable.
FURTHER SUPPORT AND ADVICE
The UK Food Standards Agency have produced advice for small food businesses to help them stay safe and within the law it can be found here.
In terms of food delivery and if you prepare any food in advance or freeze food in order to
cope with increased demand you will find these four individual documents from the Food
Standards Agency especially useful;
Chilling down hot food
Managing food allergen information
FSS has produced many guidance documents: https://www.gov.scot/collections/coronavirus- covid-19-guidance/
Thanks to the CIEH for permission to use parts of their Food Delivery and Takeaway guidance in this document.
This guidance will be renewed regularly.
HSE has advice on correct removal of gloves: https://www.hse.gov.uk/skin/posters/glovesingleuse.pdf
NB: While UKHospitality has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in this document, the content is for general information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional advisers. UKHospitality does not represent, warrant, undertake or guarantee that the use of this document will lead to any particular outcome or result. UKHospitality shall not be liable to you in respect of any business losses, including without limitation loss of or damage to profits, income, revenue, use, production, anticipated savings, business, contracts, commercial opportunities or goodwill.