Mohamed Ibrahim Abdullah Ziada, Executive Housekeeper, Mercure Hotel & Apartment, Barsha Heights
During the past year, the hotel industry has changed by leaps and bounds. It has been heavily impacted by Coronavirus and the lockdown in different sectors. In this article, we will be exploring one of the most frequently asked questions in the hotel industry - how has cleaning precaution changed during the pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has made us set new standards for hygiene and cleaning. It has also become imperative that we strictly adhere to these standards in our hotels when it comes to precaution cleaning and disinfection. Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be very challenging as we have had to implement a lot of precautions. Some of these include using appropriate PPE such as masks and gloves at all times, ensuring that all the hand sanitizers are available in all public areas and all floors for the staff use, and ensuring that we implement room disinfection using appropriate disinfection chemicals.
Employees measures and hygiene rules
Among many other safety and precautionary measures, we at Mercure Hotel & Apartment, Barsha Heights adhere to the following employee hygiene measures:
- All employees monitor their body temperature with a digital thermal scan. In the event of a high fever or other symptoms, the start of work is prohibited as part of our action plan; and those affected are immediately hospitalized.
- Sufficient disinfection units have been provided in all general employee zones and work areas. Every hour, our employees must wash their hands and use disinfectant.
- Our employees in housekeeping, cleaning services and other departments must work with a mask and disposable gloves.
Increasing the cleaning and disinfection in guest rooms
However, employee hygiene alone does not curb the spread of the coronavirus. A hotel has to do much more to keep things in check because the responsibility of the safety of the guests rests on our shoulders. Every single day, we aim to offer our guests a hygienic and sterile stay in our guest rooms.
- Our housekeeping employees work with appropriate and frequently changed PPE, especially when they are cleaning the guest rooms.
- We have reduced the number of rooms per housekeeping staff. At the beginning of room cleaning, the rooms are first disinfected, then aired out and then the necessary hygiene and cleaning is carried out with the greatest care within the lines of our specified cleaning standards.
- D4 chemical disinfectants are used for disinfection. In particular, the door blades, taps, telephone receivers, TV remote controls, remote controls for the air conditioning systems, light switches, kettles and minibars are also disinfected after cleaning.
- Sheets and towels are changed every day.
- Bathroom amenities that are provided daily for our guests are thoroughly disinfected beforehand. In addition to the hygiene products, hand disinfectants are also included in this set.
- To ensure the guest room is safe and disinfected, our team will do the room disinfection using D4 chemical to all the areas after the guest checks out.
- After cleaning, our rooms are aired out thoroughly for 1 hour.
Individually, these might look like small measures. But they go a long way in ensuring cleanliness - right from air quality. Cleanliness and disinfection also impact health and safety as the hotel needs to be clear of volatile organic compounds, bacteria, viruses and other unseen microbes such as mites.
Public areas cleaning and disinfection
Then come the public areas - guest rooms, restaurants, bars, spas, , children's clubs, playgrounds, meeting rooms, other guest areas, kitchen areas, employee areas, offices and storage areas of our hotels are disinfected regularly in detail with a well-known and approved disinfectant that contains hydrogen peroxide.
All general areas, toilets, frequently touched surfaces, door handles, banisters, elevators, elevator buttons, sinks, taps, urinals and toilet bowls are cleaned with the right chemical cleaning agent more often than regular frequency. The cleanings are carefully checked using prepared checklists.
Apart from this, hand disinfection stations are provided in all general areas and only half of the designated capacity is used in the elevators. Physical distance capacity is determined for each elevator. The new operating instructions for the elevators have been visibly replaced.
The seating areas in general areas are redesigned according to the physical distance regulation.
Doing a night treatment disinfection all over the hotel also goes a long way in maintaining the highest levels of hygiene.
Other important precautionary measures
A few years back, precautionary measures inside the hotel were not as stringent as they are today. PPE was only for the cleaning staff to protect their skin from strong chemicals. Today, it is for everyone - guests and staff alike. While using PPE is important, one must also know how to remove it properly and make sure it doesn’t come in contact with the skin and clothes. After using the PPE, a proper hand sanitization regime has to be followed.
Another important precautionary measure is to Identify potentially infectious people. No matter which facility you are, if you suspect someone carrying Coronavirus, provide immediate medical screening for them. Patients carrying this virus are immediately quarantined and taken under medical supervision.
About the author:
Mohamed Ibrahim Abdullah Ziada is Executive Housekeeper at Mercure Hotel & Apartment, Barsha Heights. He is a passionate hospitality professional with more than 13 years of experience.