Yesterday, the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, revealed that the country would soon enter the ‘delay’ phase of its strategy to tackle the coronavirus.
Calling it “the worst public health crisis for a generation”, the PM’s mood was sombre and the advice direct. If you have mild symptoms connected with the virus, you’ll need to self-isolate for at least seven days, he told the watching public.
Regardless of your stance on Covid-19, there is no doubting the risk it poses to public health and the economy. And, if you’re a hotelier, you may be concerned about how the pandemic could impact your business.
The sheer speed of coronavirus news and updates is like no other news cycle in recent memory. But this is why it’s important to pay attention to news sources you trust and avoid getting lost in the trap of recycled fake news on social media.
Public Health England (PHE) is the definitive source of medical advice, Covid-19 news and detail on the stance the government is taking to tackle the virus. Keep an eye on its website and stay tuned to news reports based on fact.
Provide your staff with what they need
You can’t operate without your hotel team, but Covid-19 is a highly unusual and significant public event which means you’ll need to be flexible.
Following the PM’s advice, any members of your team who display mild symptoms will need to self-isolate for at least seven days. How you handle that from an HR perspective will depend largely on whether or not they can work from home, your sick pay policy and whether or not you’re willing to provide additional holiday.
We can’t tell you what to do from that perspective, but you will need to allow people to head home if they meet the criteria set out by the government.
Equally, make sure you have enough hand sanitiser available and provide easy access to any advice (for instance optimal handwashing) provided by PHE.
Inform guests that you have their best interests at heart
Chances are, you’ll have received a number of Covid-19 emails recently from other organisations and businesses which illustrate their commitment to your safety.
It’s advisable to do the same for your guests. The key lies in being non-alarmist and sticking to the facts. All you need to do is offer reassurance on the following:
- you have plenty of hand sanitiser available at the hotel;
- staff are strictly following government advice on cleanliness (both personal and building-related);
- staff showing mild symptoms have been sent home to self-isolate; and
- you’re keeping a close eye and reacting to the latest advice given by PHE.
It’s also a good idea to recommend that guests don’t visit the hotel if they’re feeling unwell with the symptoms outlined by the PM yesterday (a cough or a temperature of 37.8C or more).
Again, how you approach the potentially thorny issue of refunds is entirely up to you, but it might reflect well on your brand if you offer guests who are impacted by Covid-19 the ability to delay their stay and return when they’re feeling better.
It’s important to highlight that we’re not medical experts. Therefore, the best advice we can give is to stay on top of the government’s recommendations and anything PHE asks you to do as a business and individual.
You can access the Public Health England guidance on Covid-19 by clicking here.
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