• Cyril McAree

Hoteliers Welcome Opening Operational Guidelines

The Irish Hotels Federation has welcomed the publication today by Failte Ireland of detailed operating guidelines for hotels and guesthouses, which were developed after months of collaboration. Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the IHF said that the guidelines, which cover all aspects of operations and facilities, from the booking stage to guests’ departure, should provide important reassurance for guests that they can book with confidence and can look forward to an enjoyable and safe staycation in an Irish hotel or guesthouse this year.

“The health and safety of our teams and guests will always be the main priority. While they have been closed for business since March, hotels and guesthouses across the country have already started to adapt their services and facilities in anticipation of reopening under COVID-19 guidelines. The publication of these standards today gives them further clarity on what is required. Ireland’s hotels have always had a well-earned reputation globally for their high service standards and hoteliers will be applying that same commitment to the implementation of these new standards.”

Ms Fitzgerald Kane added: “Hotels are well-advanced in their preparations and will be ready to re-open from the earlier date of 29th June, which was announced by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, last Friday. We are seeing great examples of creativity, innovation and flexibility in terms of how hotels are using their property’s spaces as well as rethinking services, dining and leisure offerings. Lockdown has been hard on so many, and hotels want to help people put it behind them with a relaxing and enjoyable holiday in a safe environment.”

The required standards and procedures are designed to meet, or exceed, Government and HSE guidelines throughout the property. Included are the following practices and protocols:

Social distancing: Hotels and Guesthouses will adhere to Public Health Advice on maintaining social/physical distancing between people (currently 2 metres), so dining tables as well as couches and seating in common areas will be re-arranged, allowing household units and families to sit together;

Check-in Check-out: Hotels will streamline to reduce and avoid queuing where possible with the potential to use electronic check-in and queueing protocols;

Are you being served? Breakfast buffets as they were before will give way to table service and additional room service while hotels may also use large function rooms to provide additional dining options.

Guest rooms: All rooms will have enhanced cleaning protocols. Reusable items (such as extra pillows and blankets) will be provided on request only while mini-bars will not be available;

Pool and Gyms: Steam rooms and saunas will be off the menu for the foreseeable future but visits to swimming pools and gyms will be available in due course but with reduced capacity.

Spa facilities: Special booking procedures will be introduced here also and there may be some modifications to the range of treatments that are available in spas.

Kids’ facilities: There is an emphasis on more self-guided activities for children and all activities will be in line with government guidelines.

Hotels will provide a Welcome & Safety Information sheet to their guests explaining all of the protocols in place in the hotel and what is expected of them in all their interactions with staff and other guests during their stay.

The new standards also cover hotel teams, as well as suppliers visiting the premises “Key to the guidelines is people and we are building on the Return to Work Safely protocols announced last month by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphries TD,” said Ms Fitzgerald Kane. “The standards and protocols will be reviewed regularly and amended as required in line with any new guidelines and regulations issued by the Government or the HSE. But for now, book your #staycation with confidence. Irish hotels and guesthouses can’t wait to welcome you,” she added.


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