Our team at Visit St. Pete/Clearwater has compiled a list of suggestions on how to welcome visitors responsibly while also safeguarding employees during Covid-19. This information has been compiled from a review of changes that businesses across the U.S. are making to adapt to the pandemic. We know that not all of these changes or modifications are achievable for every business, but seeing what other businesses are doing can help us understand what might be possible or necessary.
Hand Sanitizer. Install hand sanitizer dispensers, touchless whenever possible, at key entrances and contact places.
Signage. Display health and hygiene reminders throughout the business for guests and employees. (Source: Publix).
Physical Distancing. Advise guests to practice physical distancing by standing at least six feet away from others not in their traveling party. Clearly mark any area where guests or employees queue to show appropriate physical distancing. This could include check-in/check-out, elevator lobbies, coffee shops and casual dining, taxi lines, etc. (Source: Wynn Las Vegas Health & Sanitation Program).
Hand Washing. As frequent handwashing with soap is vital to help combat the spread of the virus, instruct employees to wash their hands (or use hand sanitizer when a sink is not available), every 60 minutes (for 20 seconds) and after any of the following activities: using the restroom, sneezing, touching the face, blowing the nose, cleaning, sweeping, mopping, smoking, eating, drinking, going on break and before or after starting a shift. Place a trash can near the exit door in restrooms so that employees and guests can open the door with a paper towel, then discard it properly.
Masks. Staff should wear masks during the entire time at work (and they are required in most indoor places in Pinellas County). According to the Board of County Commissioners, some exceptions include:
- The mandate can't conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act
- If a person is under age 18, the decision is left to the discretion of that person's parent, guardian or an accompanying adult
- The new face covering mandate doesn't apply to government entities such as schools, courthouse or city halls, though those entities are encouraged to develop protocols to ensure the safety of the public and their employees
- People can exercise indoors in gyms, yoga studios, etc. without a face covering, as long as they are physically distanced
- Religious activities (such as singing) are permitted provided that physical distancing is strictly maintained
Contactless Payment. Offer touch-free payment options such as contactless card, mobile pay app, etc. (Source: Publix).
Thermal Cameras. Utilize thermal cameras to conduct non-invasive temperature checks at points of entry. Test those with a temperature over 100°F again in a private area, turning away those who still show high temperatures. (Source: Wynn Las Vegas Health & Sanitation Program).
General Guidance and Resources
- U.S. Travel prepared "Travel in the New Normal," an industry guidance to promote the health and safety of travelers.
- Back To Work Safely provides expert, industry-specific guidance for both businesses and consumers to safely re-open and re-engage after COVID-19 quarantines.
Pinellas County has released guidelines for re-opening restaurants. Also, please note that while Florida has prohibited on-site consumption of alcoholic beverages at bars and breweries, resulting in temporary closure for some - many bars and breweries have food licenses, and so are allowed to open for business. In this case, they must follow the same guidelines established for restaurants.
Seating. Reduce seating capacities to allow for a minimum of six feet between each seated group/party of guests. Reduce bar stool count to provide appropriate physical distancing. Position chairs and tables so that patrons are not standing at the bar or congregating in any area.
Masks. Restaurant and bar staff must wear a face covering while on duty and while directly or indirectly preparing food or beverage, or serving food or beverage, or having customer contact, regardless of where the food or beverage is being prepared or whether the customers are inside or outside. Customers can remove their face coverings while dining or consuming a beverage when seated and social distancing.
To Go/Delivery. Keep to-go structures in place. Keep being a fresh market for people to buy uncooked food. Allow for drive-through options at fresh markets.
Condiments. Consider serving condiments in single-use containers (either disposable or washed after each use)
Menus. Menus to be single-use and/or disposable.
Valet Parking. Consider suspending valet parking service.
Self Check-in. Minimize person-to-person contact by offering self-check-in.
Guest Sanitation Amenities. Provide all guests with amenity bags during check-in containing masks, hand sanitizer and a COVID-19 awareness card. Have established locations to provide additional PPE to guests throughout stay.
Elevators. Limit the number of guests permitted in an elevator. Have an employee present to sanitize the button panel at regular intervals, at least once per hour.
Queuing. Clearly mark any area where guests or employees queue for appropriate physical distancing. This could include check-in, check-out, elevator lobbies, coffee shops and casual dining, taxi lines, etc.
Single-Use Collateral. Consider removing all reusable collateral in the room. Critical information to be placed on single-use collateral or electronically posted.
Hotel Front Desk, Business Center and Concierge. Agents could utilize every other workstation to ensure separation between employees whenever possible.
Temperature Checks. Request guests have their temperature checked upon check-in or provide negative coronavirus test results upon arrival. (Source: Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism).
Minimize Staff Interaction with Guests in Hotel Rooms. Hotels may also wish to reduce the amount of time housekeeping is in guest rooms by eliminating daily room cleaning (reserving those services to when guests check out). Guests can be encouraged to request additional towels and toiletries, as needed, with contact-less delivery. Also offer contact-less room service delivery.
Cleaning Standards and Protocols. Establish new cleaning standards and audit systems to certify that hotels are clean. (Source: The Singapore Tourism Board).
Magazine and Newspaper Service. Discontinue print magazine and newspaper services throughout the property.
Laundry. Wash linens (towels and sheets) at a high temperature and in accordance with CDC guidelines. Bag dirty linen in the guest room to eliminate excess contact while being transported to the laundry facility. Guest laundry and dry-cleaning services should be available using contactless pick-up and delivery protocols.
Beach/Pool Lounge Chairs. Space out chaise lounge chairs with appropriate physical distancing.