By Terri-Ann Boyle, Director of MYDIS (www.mydis.com)
The hospitality sector has been crippled by the pandemic, but last month’s announcement of a 10pm curfew was the latest blow to the suffering sector.
A number of venues have contested the move. G-A-Y nightclub in London has legally challenged the government, calling for a scientific justification of the new curfew. In Cumbria, a cross-party campaign has been launched to protect pubs from the impact of Covid-19, calling for the government to extend the furlough scheme in light of the increased restrictions. Businesses are being forced to adapt to the highly limiting circumstances in which they find themselves.The key to the industry’s resilience is a hygiene rating system to improve COVID security.
Food, personal and environmental hygiene has always been of tantamount importance to the hospitality sector, but it has now become the lifeline of the industry.
BEST PRACTICE FOR HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES
If hospitality premises can introduce robust sanitisation solutions to ensure COVID-secure environments, the government might be discouraged from implementing stricter measures on the sector or per- haps reduce some of the existing restrictions.With Cineworld announcing the temporary closure of its UK and US cinemas, it has become clear the sector cannot weather this storm without enforcing further sanitisation measures.
Hospitality premises must work alongside a trusted hygiene provider that delivers effective solutions using proven products.This will be central to instilling customer confidence and creating a safe working environment for employees. Consumers must be constantly reassured their health and safety is a priority. Combatting the ‘Fear of Going Out’ is as critical to the livelihood of hospitality businesses as the sanitisation measures themselves.
There are sophisticated products available to support venues on their journey to creating a COVID-secure environment. MYDIS Portals utilise face recognition and mask identification technology to ensure anyone entering the premises is wearing a face covering, in addition to temperature gauges – a key functionality in helping prevent individuals who have contracted the virus from entering. Users walk through these booths and their outer layers are covered in a fine mist of vaporised disinfectant before entering the building. Hand-held fogging machines are also an effective solution for disinfecting high-use areas inside the venue.
A standardised hygiene rating system could also be a useful tool to guide businesses in implementing a robust suite of sanitisation and dis- infection measures, while helping consumers understand the compliance of the venue before visiting. Measuring businesses against a shared framework allows for comparative reporting and facilitates consistent monitoring of key protocols. A high ‘COVID-secure’ rating would permit the most responsible businesses to stay open, rather than the blanket approach to restrictions promoted by the government so far.
And of course, the government guidelines should be at the heart of all cleanliness practices for any hospitality business. Staff should sanitise their hands frequently, face masks should be worn indoors, and people should stay at least two metres apart, or one metre with a face covering.
Although it may sound counterintuitive, particularly for luxury hospitality, businesses should make the invisible visible. Highlighting new sanitising measures of the premises is necessary to demonstrate the wellbeing of guests is the top priority. Clear signposting of hand sanitiser dispensers, labelling of one-way systems and staff observing strictly adherence to the guidelines are effective ways to underline that hospitality businesses are COVID safe.
Catering to a diverse client base and their sanitisation needs should also be a priority for hospitality businesses. Providing hypoallergenic and alcohol-free hand sanitisers is a holistic way to guarantee hygienic practices amongst guests with sensitive skin.
The hospitality industry must demonstrate a deliberate commitment to visible and improved hygiene standards. Making use of sanitisation and disinfection expertise to win back consumer – and government – trust could ultimately ensure the continued viability of the industry.