How to Stay Safe While Staying in a Hotel during COVID-19
The worldwide spread of COVID-19 is changing how people live and do activities. The once normal experience of traveling and staying in a hotel will never be the same again. For example, you may notice hotel staff wearing face masks and the breakfast buffet becoming temporarily unavailable. These are just some of the strict measures many hotels are implementing to keep everyone in the hotel safe. As a guest, you may be considering ways to ensure your safety while having a comfortable stay. To help, here are some ideas on how you can take extra precautions while staying in a hotel.
Hotels may have different health and safety measures, depending on their location. However, there are basic precautions that you should follow every time you are in a public space.
- Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends sanitizing your hands every 15–20 minutes, most especially right after exchanging objects like passports, money, or credit cards. If you will be washing your hands with soap and water, do so for at least 40 seconds. But if you are using an alcohol-based sanitizer, take at least 20 seconds to make sure all parts of your hands are clean.
- Keep your mouth and nose covered when you cough or sneeze. You can do this with a bent elbow or a tissue, and make sure to dispose of the used tissue in a closed trash bin.
- Create at least a one-meter safe distance from other people as advised by WHO. This also means you have to avoid shaking hands, hugging, or kissing.
- Wear a face mask when traveling on public transportations and at transportation hubs. This is an added precaution, especially when maintaining a physical distance from others is not possible.
The pandemic has changed many hotel protocols, so it’s best to inquire about them before you arrive at the hotel. To keep yourself safe, you must also make the necessary preparations, such as:
- Check the local and national guidelines. It’s good to keep yourself informed about the rules of your destination to avoid forgetting anything like medical test results.
- Inquire about the hotel’s safety precautions. You may want to ask about the last time other guests occupied your assigned room or when the cleaning staff was there. Although hotels and similar accommodations have safety procedures in place for cleaning, disinfecting, and ventilating each room during guests’ stay, knowing such information can bring you peace of mind. Also, check if there are unavailable services or amenities that may affect your stay, so you can make adjustments and prepare for them.
- Opt for contactless check-in, check-out, and payment if the hotel offers it. Some may even have mobile room keys. If you can reduce being in close contact with any of the staff during your stay, take that opportunity.
- Make sure the hotel has a properly operating ventilation system. If they have a high-efficiency particulate air filtration system, this is a good sign. You may also want to inquire if you can open the windows in your room to increase outdoor air exchange.
During Your Stay
Remember, COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets often during close physical contact and in the air, so you still need to be cautious for your safety and that of the hotel staff. While staying in the hotel, make sure to:
- Bring along hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes. Although hotel staff will provide hand sanitizers and will sanitize high-touch surfaces regularly, it’s good to have your own. The hand sanitizers will help keep your hands clean while the disinfectant wipes are handy when cleaning objects, like pens or your mobile phone, before touching them.
- Turn down housekeeping services. While hotel staff practices maximum measures to ensure everyone’s safety, it is best to follow social distancing by not allowing strangers in your room. Even if they are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), it’s still best to minimize contact with the staff while staying at the hotel. However, this doesn’t mean banning them from your room for the rest of your stay. If you need help keeping your room clean and safe, you may want to schedule the time they come in. While the staff is cleaning your room, you can always stay in another area in the meantime.
- Reduce using recreational spaces such as swimming pools, spas, and lounging areas. Many hotels have certain restrictions that follow national guidelines. In some cases, guests will need to follow measures like a maximum number of people allowed in these areas to ensure physical distancing.
- Skip going to the fitness center or hotel’s gym. In many cities, gyms are still off-limits. Exercising is important to keep yourself healthy, but you should stay away from public space gyms. Instead, you can work out in your room or ask the hotel if they have any alternative spaces to accommodate your workout.
- Choose outdoor dining or room service whenever you can. Naturally, you will need to eat and the safest way to do is by avoiding indoor restaurants. In line with this, buffets are not recommended at the moment due to the risk of being in close contact with others, sharing serving implements, and touching surfaces frequently. Instead, see if the hotel has outdoor dining options or room service. In other cases, you can also get food delivered.
- Avoid using the valet service. In case you are bringing your car, it’s best to skip the valet service altogether and just park on your own. You need to ensure your safety and refrain from being in close contact with others.
It’s always a good idea to take extra precautions while there’s a global pandemic. This also applies when staying in a hotel. In Manila, you can book directly at Kabayan Hotel and be assured that your safety is a priority.