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Here are some of the ways in which travel suppliers, in general, have revised their protocols during the Covid-19 epidemic. If you are interested in how any specific supplier is managing their protocols, please let us know and we will be more than happy to send this information to you.
Extensive COVID-19 protocols have been implemented at hotels for the safety of both guests and staff alike.
Upon entry to the hotel, all staff and guests are required to undergo a health-check; this includes a temperature reading with a thermal scanner, sanitising of hands, and the completion of a signed health questionnaire. If a guest has a fever i.e. a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius, or more, and/or display other symptoms, they will not be allowed to check-in but will be referred to a medical facility that the National Institute for Communicable Diseases of South Africa (NICD) has specified.
Many suppliers have ensured that their staff are specifically trained for COVID-19 preventative measures, and hygiene protocols. New educational signage is displayed throughout the hotels for staff and guests. All staff wear protective equipment – PPE, in line with the specified regulations, and biohazardous boxes have been provided for the safe disposal of PPE gear. Areas used by guests are demarcated to encourage social distancing, high touch point areas are cleaned often, and hand sanitiser is readily available.
Room service protocols have also been adjusted to be within the Disaster Management Act’s safety guidelines, including social distancing and contamination prevention.
Some facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, additional bars and spas remain closed across some hotel chains as an additional precaution. Conferencing services and meeting areas are available if previously discussed and booked; these facilities and services have also been adjusted to safeguard staff and guests. All stationery supplied by the hotel will need to be requested and sanitised before the event, the number of attendees will be determined by the current government regulations and protocols, and hotel catering has adjusted accordingly.
Car hire suppliers such as Europcar and Avis comply with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and local authorities’ strict health and safety recommendations, using the best in class cleaning and disinfecting products and protocols.
Each vehicle undergoes a multistage sanitisation process. The key to the vehicle is then sanitised and sealed in an envelope. Once completely disinfected, the vehicle is sealed and the car is marked as clean and safe – ready for you to travel safely.
Many of these suppliers have also ensured their offices/check-in desks are moved outside their physical office to minimise contact points, decreasing the risk to employees, keeping them, and in turn you the consumer, safe.
Air travel suppliers are working closely with airports to ensure a synergistic relationship to protect passengers and employees.
Queue markers have been added to each section within the airport where queuing occurs – at check-in, security, health questionnaire stations, etc. All check-in desks and self-service stations are cleaned and disinfected regularly along with the trays for your personal items at security checkpoints. As another high touch-point area, seating at boarding gates are also regularly sanitised. Airports provide multiple hand-sanitising stations throughout the terminal building and every staff member, as well as third party supplier, on duty is required to wear a mask at all times and undergo daily temperature/symptom checks.
To keep passengers as safe as possible, airlines and their suppliers have adopted practices to meet, and often exceed, the health and safety guidelines from leading health and aviation authorities such as WHO and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Cabins are cleaned with hospital-grade products before every flight; seats and seat pockets, tray tables, screens, overhead lockers, and toilets, which are also sanitised frequently for the duration of the flight.
The High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters on planes use vertical airflow technology and extract more than 99.99% of particles from the air which includes bacteria and viruses.
Many suppliers, including Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic give all passengers a safety pack with sanitising wipes, sachets of hand sanitiser, a disposable mask and even a face shield before boarding their aircraft. This goes a long way as an extra safety measure and passenger peace of mind.
When offered, onboard catering has also been adapted to be sealed and safe. Inflight magazines have been removed to decrease touchpoints and prevent cross-contamination. Airlines also try to ensure that social distancing is observed so a seat is left open between each passenger when possible, and some airlines have adapted their boarding procedure to allow window seat passengers to board first followed by middle seats and finally aisle seat passengers, to avoid unnecessary movement of passengers.
We understand that after months of not travelling, it could be daunting to board an aircraft again, especially with all the new restrictions of where you can and can’t travel to, what documentation you need and what protocols need to be adhered to, so please contact us should you have any questions. We are here to assist you with the clarity you need to travel confidently and ‘with great returns’.