Facts Hospitality Needs to Know to Prevent Covid
When it comes to information on Covid, hotels are in a much different (and better) place than at the beginning of 2020. For one, many hotels have learned how to make their properties more agile and scale their operations. And outside of hospitality, we’ve all learned more about Covid itself, especially transmission, and what we can do to prevent it.
The good news is that the risk of getting Covid from surface (or fomite) transmission is low. The main method of transmission remains respiratory droplets (ex: sneezing). However, this fact doesn’t replace the need to practice standard hygiene policies, nor avoid easy precautionary measures.
Here are simple acts you can do to keep Covid’s transmission low across all surfaces.
Make an Inhospitable Environment for Covid
Covid survives longer on surfaces when the environment is just right. This includes factors such as temperature, humidity, and surface conditions. Covid can remain infectious on metal for days at 30℃ ( 86℉). However, if a surface is dried within an hour of contamination, the infectivity is 100 times lower.
If an environment is humid, it can increase how long Covid is detectable. In a study with 40% humidity, Covid was detectable on plastic and stainless steel for 2-3 days. However, in a separate study with 65% humidity, the virus was no longer present after 7 days.
Regardless of the studies on different surfaces, Covid is susceptible to standard disinfection methods. The best method of prevention is to spray, clean, and dry surfaces.
Be Aware of Different Surfaces
When it comes to Covid, not all surfaces are created equal. For example, Covid can remain infectious 6 times longer on cardboard than on copper surfaces. As an aerosol, Covid remains infectious for 3 hours, but up to 2-3 days on stainless steel and plastic.
Before you begin throwing out all of your Tupperware, it’s important to note that this study was carried out in a laboratory setting with heavy contamination. This illustrates that not all surfaces should be treated equally, and therefore subjected to different levels of attention while cleaning.
Paper is another surface that viruses remain on. In hospitality, there is a lot of paper that changes hands (like menus, reports, room lists, and daily tasks for housekeepers and maintenance etc.). This needlessly increases the chances of transmission. Instead, go paperless and improve hygiene measures by utilizing digital operational and communication methods.
Be Vigilant about Food
More good news! There are no cases of Covid linked to contaminated food. The coronavirus cannot multiply in food as it needs a live host. However, it hasn’t been ruled out as a possibility.
The viruses are sensitive to heat, so it’s important to cook food thoroughly. Equally important is basic hygiene while it is being prepared. Though not a revolutionary idea, it is still one that bears repeating. Hand washing and wearing masks is paramount to preventing the spread of Covid.
Be Attentive to High Touch Points
As a hospitality veteran, you know the importance of cleaning high touch points. Now, it’s more important than ever. For example, a hospital in Wuhan, China reported that some of the most contaminated objects were self-service printers (20%), desktop/keyboard (16.8%), and doorknobs (16%).
If you haven’t done it already, take your knowledge of cleaning high touch points and turn it into an action plan. Create digital checklists for your staff to stay on top of every high touch surface.
-Respiratory droplets are the main method of transmission
-Limit use of paper for communication and operations and instead digitize communication
-Give extra special attention to high touch surfaces
-Wash hands, wash hands, wash hands!
Finally - Show Guests Your Covid Measures
Over the past months, the most damaging reviews and guest complaints have been when guests see hotel staff not taking covid measures seriously. This illustrates the importance of not only implementing Covid measures, but displaying those measures. So, make sure your guests can see that you are following through on your promises and upholding the standards you promote.