Health Protocols for Tourism Businesses
Recommended dates for the reopening of tourist accommodations:
01.06.2020: reopening of tourist accommodation which operate twelve months a year, as well as organized tourist camps
15.06.2020: reopening of seasonal tourist accommodations
A. Tourist accommodation protocol
(except for organized tourist camp sites)
The specifications for the reopening of tourist accommodation concern all accommodations regardless of technical and operational specifications, classification, type, duration of operation, except for organized tourist camps. Each tourist accommodation should draw up a Protocol in accordance with the instructions of the Ministry of Tourism.
General information about the Protocol
Action plan development and plan for the handling of a suspected case
Development of an action plan by the administration / management of the tourist accommodation and individual protocols for each department of the accommodation and most importantly for the case of crisis (handling of a possible case). The development of the action plan concerns hotels with a capacity of more than 50 rooms.
The development of a plan for the handling of a suspicious case concerns all accommodations (according to the current instructions of ΕΟΔΥ – National Organization for Public Health).
The aim of the action plan is to prevent the occurrence and provide effective handling of suspicious cases with aim to contain the spread of the cases to the staff and other tenants.
The action plan will comply with the recommendations of ΕΟΔΥ (National Organization for Public Health) and will be revised according to the progress of the overall situation.
The action plan represents in writing, all measures and protocols to prevent and handle suspicious cases by the tourist accommodation. In particular, the action plan consists of the following:
- The accommodation appoints a coordinator to supervise the implementation of the plan and is responsible for each particular department (eg F&B, Housekeeping). The position of the coordinator, depending on the size of the accommodation, can be held by the owner of the business, the General Manager / Quality Manager, etc. or by a new position set out by the accommodation. The coordinator may also be classed at Management Team level.
- The staff is trained in abiding the protocol or the individual protocols per department of the accommodation with corresponding report of the individuals’ training and duration the way of the training (eg e-training, training from accredited collaborator etc). The e-learning method is highly recommended, and the mandatory monitoring of all employees is considered necessary.
- Collaboration with a Doctor (detailed information of a collaborating Doctor) is recorded, who acts on the instructions of ΕΟΔΥ (National Organization for Public Health) for the control of COVID-19 and in particular is trained in taking nasopharyngeal samples for molecular testing from a suspected case. Meanwhile, using telemedicine, the Doctor has the ability to monitor the suspected case and their close contacts.
- Possible certification of the tourist accommodation in terms of taking measures to prevent and treat COVID-19 pandemic by certified certification bodies.
Action plan for suspected cases
Specifically for the handling of a suspected case following the plan for dealing with a suspected case from ΕΟΔΥ – National Organization for Public Health.
To ensure the implementation of the accommodation’s suspected case handling plan is followed, it is necessary to appoint a manager specifically for this. The position of the coordinator, depending on the size of the accommodation, can be done so by the owner of the business, the General Manager / Quality Manager, etc. or from a new position set out by the accommodation. The coordinator may also be classed at Management Team level.
In the occurrence that the accommodation has created an action plan (accommodation over 50 rooms), the coordinator of the action plan and the manager in charge of implementing the action plan, may be the same individual.
The accommodations are obligated to share contact details to the according services of the Ministry of Health/ΕΟΔΥ (National Organization for Public Health):
a) Manager in charge of implementing the action plan for suspected cases,
b) Collaborating doctor or the care provider of secondary health care.
- An affidavit from all staff members which states that the individual has been informed of the health and management protocols for COVID-19, relating to their competence. Training plan (e-learning on smartphone or tablet) until July 15 of one person per service (individual protocol) of the accommodation, which will then take over the training of the rest of the staff.
- The training must be at least related to the following:
- The ways of which the virus is transmitted
- Informing procedures of hotel officials and customers
- Behavior and actions needed to be taken in case of illness by the staff
- Methods and practices of cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces leading to the possibility of transmitting the disease
- Communication approaches to visitors/customers
- Maintaining the basic protocols to avoid transmitting the virus by thorough and regular hand washing, avoiding handshakes, keeping distances, avoiding contact of hands on the eyes, nose and mouth and covering coughs and sneezes appropriately
- Maintaining training files and documenting recruitment for each employee
- Each staff member must strictly adhere to the basic protection measures against COVID-19: following hand hygiene, physical distancing by customers and other staff, in all workspaces, hotel areas and avoiding to touch the face and keeping a good personal hygiene (covering mouth while coughing and sneezing, frequent hand washing, etc.)
- The accommodation must provide each member of the staff with adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and ensure the adequacy of stock.
- It is recommended that staff stay at home and seek medical attention if they experience symptoms related to the disease, notifying the health care provider of the accommodation.
- A person with symptoms should be excluded from work and return to work if the laboratory tests results are negative.
- It is recommended that staff staying in the accommodation be provided with double rooms. If a staff member belongs to a vulnerable health group, it is recommended that they be given rooms with a single bed.
- It is recommended that all staff should check their temperature every morning as part of their individual responsibility. Careful monitoring of staff may follow depending on the epidemiological situation of the local community / area.
- If a staff member has had encounter with a suspected or confirmed case, he must report it immediately to the health manager of the accommodation and be removed from work.
Accommodation file and event book
For the purposes of public health protection, the accommodation must keep a record of staff members and all people staying at the hotel – name, nationality, date of arrival and departure, contact details (address, telephone, e-mail) – , so that it is possible to communicate with these people in the case of any COVID-19 incident.
Attention is required in order to abide by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and inform all visitors that a file is kept for public health protection reasons.
It is necessary to record and keep the service book and events up-to-date.
- The accommodation must notify the measures and requirements of the Action Plan to all internal and external partners (employees, tenants, contractors, suppliers, visitors and the general public).
- It is recommended to update the website of the accommodation with a special section for COVID-19, in which the health and safety measures are posted and the new policy of the accommodation regarding hygiene measures, changes in opening hours of the common areas, modification of check-in / check-out duration. Respectively, the information may also be found inside the accommodation, in all available means (eg in public TVs, in room TVs, signages before entering the public areas and printed information at the reception).
- Reception service (reception desk / concierge)
- Staff must take all the necessary hygiene measures (hand washing), keep a distance of at least one meter from customers (avoid handshakes, etc.) and follow all the appropriate rules of hygiene.
- It is recommended to avoid having people which belong to vulnerable health groups, in places of reception/public areas.
- When requested, the following services need to be available: a) inform visitors about the accommodation policies and the measures it has taken to address any incidents for COVID-19, b) provide useful information to health care providers, public and private hospitals, COVID-19 reference hospitals, pharmacies, etc. located in the area and c) provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- It is recommended to provide information leaflets on basic health instructions translated into English, French and German. In addition, the provision of these instructions through an application on mobile phones.
- Special equipment (medical kit) for the case of an incident, such as gloves and disposable masks, antiseptics, cleaning wipes, aprons, long-sleeved robe, laser thermometers.
- Staff must be able to recognize customers’ symptoms and report them directly to the health care provider.
- Optional insertion of a Plexiglass sectioning at reception (placement of polycarbonate material).
- The reception desk must contain antiseptic for use by the customers (fixed or non-fixed devices).
- Frequent disinfection of reception desks is recommended.
- In order to maintain distances, the accommodation applies a suitable configuration for the reception area (reception desk), addition of floor marking at a distance of two meters where the customers should stand / appropriate distance marking in the waiting area, proper arrangement of furniture and proper queue management to reduce waiting time.
- Avoid overcrowding during check-in / check-out.
- It is recommended to use electronic alternatives for check-in check-out (eg mobile concierge, use of tablets that are disinfected after each use).
- Check-in availability check may be performed in an open space.
- It is recommended that electronic alternatives are used for payment transactions, sending of bills, invoices, and receipts.
- Disinfection of key cards – their placement in a special container for disinfection.
- Extension of check-out and check-in between stays (check-out until 11.00 am and check-in from 3.00 pm). This change in the time interval between each check-in and check-out is mandatory to ensure that between different customers the room is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, as well as that the room has undergone adequate natural ventilation.
- Prohibition of entry in the accommodation rooms for non-residents
- Floor services (cleaning, disinfection, housekeeping), rooms and common areas
- Cleaning and disinfection program (see relevant ΕΟΔΥ Instructions).
- Special instructions for cleaning in case of a confirmed case (see relevant ΕΟΔΥ Instructions).
- Reinforcement of sanitary services in all public areas and especially in “high risk” objects and surfaces (eg knobs, elevator knob).
- Meticulous cleaning and good room ventilation during the time duration between stays.
- Checking the proper operation of dishwashers and washing machines (in terms of temperature and dosage of detergents).
- Adequate staff equipment for personal protection (gloves, masks, robe, closed shoes).
- Cleaning staff are advised to use a simple surgical mask (in case of non-availability of a surgical mask, the use of canvas is recommended), gloves and a disposable waterproof robe. During working hours, the cleaning staff should not touch their mouth, nose or eyes with their hands and should not smoke or eat.
- After removing the gloves, it is necessary to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water. It is emphasized that the use of gloves does not replace hand washing, which is the most important means of prevention.
- Discreet monitoring of customers which have symptoms which are to be handled by the administration of the accommodation.
- Non-regular room cleaning during the stay (to avoid unnecessary contact of cleaning staff with possible case and further transmission).
- Elimination of daily change of clothing and towels and evening preparation only at the request of the customer.
- For departures, there are 2 protocols which are available to choose between:
- regular cleaning and waiting 24 hours before the room is available to a new customer or
- meticulous cleaning – disinfection (eg with steam cleaner) of the entire room and bathroom.
- It is recommended to remove decorative objects (pillows, bedding).
- It is recommended to remove common multi-purpose items such as menus, magazines, etc.
- Installation of a disposable cover on the TV and air conditioner controls
- Fabric surfaces (eg furniture upholstery) should be cleaned with a steam appliance (temperature> 70oC).
- Opening doors and windows for natural ventilation of the space daily.
- Marking is recommended in order to inform the customers regarding when and how the room was cleaned.
- It is recommended to place individual antiseptic liquids in each room or antiseptic devices.
Linen closet – washing machines
- Strict observance of the rules of hygiene by the personnel involved in the sorting of dirty linen using the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (special disposable apron over the uniform, gloves and mask).
- Used fabrics, bedding and towels must be placed in a special, closed, marked bag or sack in order to be transported to the laundry area.
- Careful separation (marking) of unclean and clean linen areas.
- Trolleys for carrying closed bags with linen should be disinfected after each use.
- Instructions should be given for washing linen in hot cycles (70oC or above) with the usual detergents.
- In case the cleaning service of the clothing is provided by an external partner, it should be checked that all the required measures are followed by the external partner and that they are delivered to the accommodation in the appropriate manner.
- When storing clean clothing, care should be taken to keep it in good and clean condition. The same applies to the transfer of clothing to the areas of use (rooms, restaurants, etc.).
- Catering services (dining rooms / public areas), breweries
These include a la carte restaurants, buffet restaurants / breakfast rooms, open and closed bars
Mills / kitchen:
- Following of the HACCP principles
- Receipt of goods by specific staff which is required to always wear gloves and a mask.
- Special care should be taken to keep the appropriate distance amongst kitchen staff according to the current regulations of the health authorities.
- It is not allowed to enter the kitchen area for those who are not entitled to be there. In case this cannot be avoided, the person entering the kitchen should be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment, which will be available at the entrance of the kitchen.
- Restaurant operation, bar, etc. according to the current legal framework
- Children’s recreation areas
Operation of recreational areas for children in accordance with the current legal framework.
- Individual care services, spa and shared facilities
Operation of spaces in accordance with the current legal framework.
- Drinking water – Water / sewerage network
- Accommodation should comply with the regulations of the Ministry of Health “Protection of Public Health by the corona SARS-COV-2 in the water supply and sewerage systems”
- In case the tourist accommodation remains out of operation for more than one month, during their reopening, the steps described in the instruction should be followed: “ESGLI Guidance for managing Legionella in building water systems during the COVID-19 pandemic”.
- It is recommended to use standard and well-ventilated pipes, such as wells with odor traps and return valves in taps and sprayers.
- Smoke traps (siphons) should work properly and continuously. In other words, they should always have water inside them. In case the space is not used for a long time, water should be added either by adding it directly to the bone traps or by opening / operating the connected devices. This should be done in regular intervals depending on how quickly the water evaporates from the odor traps (eg every 3 weeks).
- Swimming pools, hydromassage / hydrotherapy tanks and other recreational water facilities
Operation in accordance with the applicable legal framework.
- Indoor swimming pools: The operation of indoor swimming pools is not allowed.
- Chlorination: proper operation and maintenance of chlorination systems in accordance with current legislation (see Ministerial Decision Γ1/443/1973 as amended by Γ4/1150/76 and ΔΥΓ2/80825/05 and circular on “Prevention of Legionnaires’ disease”). It is recommended, according to the WHO guidelines (Guidelines for safe recreational water environments – Volume 2 – Swimming pools and similar environments), that the residual chlorine value in tank water be 1-3 mg / L for swimming pools and up to 5 mg / L for water cooling tanks. Manual control (or use of halogen analyzer with paper recorder) of chlorine levels should be performed every 4 hours for swimming pools and every hour for water storage tanks and keep a record file of this, unless there is an automatic halogen analyzer and monitoring system consisting of an alarm when is out of bounds.
- PH adjustment: pH values in the water of recreational water installations should be maintained within the limits provided by current legislation (see Ministerial Decision Γ1/443/1973 as amended by Γ4/1150/76 and ΔΥΓ2/80825/05). Regular measurement and maintenance of pH recording files every eight hours during the operation of the swimming pools and at least every two hours during the operation of the hydromassage and hydrotherapy tanks, if an automatic monitoring system is not available.
- Cleaning and disinfection: compliance with the rules of cleaning water for recreational facilities, regular cleaning and disinfection according to ΕΟΔΥ instructions “Proposed procedures for cleaning and disinfection of hosting areas during the COVID-19 pandemic”.
- Dumpsters: Shower areas that serve recreational water installations are recommended to be separated by an opaque divider so that efficient bathing of swimmers is possible before entering the swimming pool. Strong recommendation and emphasis on informing customers with relevant labeling for the suggested shower use before and after using the swimming pool. It is recommended that the accommodation provide the essentials (eg soap, shower gel, etc.), as well as liquid antiseptic when entering the shower area.
- Number of swimmers: the maximum total number of people entering the swimming pool at any given time will not be greater than one swimmer per 2.5 m2 of water surface.
- Keeping distance: the layout of the seats (sunbeds, chairs, poufs, sun loungers, etc.) should be such that the distance between the seats of two people in two different umbrellas or two people living in a different rooms should be at least 2 meters from each direction.
- It is recommended to use materials or protective covers that can be easily cleaned in order to effectively disinfect the seats, tables, personal storage boxes, staff notification buttons and price lists.
- After each customer, the seats, tables, personal belongings boxes, price lists and any other items that the next customer will use, should be disinfected.
- It is recommended to offer towels that will cover the entire surface of the sunbed and disinfect each lounger / seat after each use. It is recommended to remove fabric surfaces from the sunbeds.
- Decorative fountains: use of water in decorative fountains and to disinfect using halogen or other chemical disinfectants. If the fountains have been out of service for more than a month, they will need to follow the steps described in the instruction: “ESGLI Guidance for managing Legionella in building water systems during the COVID-19 pandemic”.
- Air conditioning and space ventilation
The provisions of the relevant regularions of the Ministry of Health “Taking measures to ensure public health from viral and other infections during the use of air conditioning units”, with the emphasis on non-recirculation of air and natural ventilation in rooms and other operating systems (shutting down air conditioning when the doors are open).
- Venues within accommodation (conference rooms, reception areas, etc.)
Operation of these services in accordance with the applicable legal framework.
- Shops within accommodation
Operation of these stores in accordance with the current legal framework.
- Common areas (open and closed)
Common areas include a lobby, seating area, outdoor seating, etc. (excluding decks surrounding swimming pools – see above in swimming pools)
- Operation of these spaces in accordance with the current legal framework.
- Recommendation to avoid the use of elevators. Installation of disinfectants at the entrances and recommendation for use at the entrance and exit. Frequent cleaning of elevators with emphasis on frequently touched surfaces (handles, knob, etc.)
- Marking to remind customers to keep their distance – applying measures such as floor tapes, cones or other means to keep their distance.
- Installation of antiseptic liquids (fixed or non-fixed devices) in all common areas.
- Furniture strategic placement to avoid overcrowding in public areas (4 people / 10 sqm)
- Self-service parking instead of valet service. If the valet parking service remains, protective equipment for the valet (non-medical mask and gloves)
- Examination for the suspension of the business centers’ operation, and alternatively the available WiFi access and printing services or other business services through the connection of a customer’s personal device is recommended.
- Limit overcrowding in toilets.
- In the public toilet areas, it is recommended to provide information signs to the users to flush with the lid closed. In this way, the aim is to limit the transmission of the air particles from the toilet.
- Distances must be kept for seating furniture (sunbeds, chairs, poufs, sun loungers, etc.) that the accommodation provides on the seafront. The layout of these seats should be such that the distance between two people in two different umbrellas is at least 3 meters in any direction. In particular, a distance of at least 3 meters (in any direction) must be kept between the seats belonging to different umbrellas. It should be discouraged from placing a towel / mat on the ground by bathers, since it will reduce this distance.
- Customer transfer service (Professional vehicle/private vehicle with driver, club cars)
- Exercise of the service in accordance with the current legal framework.
- Customers should be taken to and from places only with private transfers. In specific, according to no. Δ1α/ΦΠ.οικ.27815 of the Joint Ministerial Decision (ΦΕΚ Β’1647/03.05.2020) for the protective measures in passenger vehicles, public use and private use with the guide of law 4093/2012 (Α’222):
- Vehicles up to 5 seats, transport of one passenger additional to the driver. Exceptions are to allow a second passenger to be transported if they are accompanying a person in need of assistance.
- Vehicles of 6 or 7 seats, transport of 2 passengers, plus the driver.
- Vehicles of 8 or 9 seats, transport of 3 passengers, plus the driver.
- It is permissible to exceed the passenger limit, as long as they are parents with their minor children, in addition to the driver.
- The use of a non-medical protective mask is mandatory, both by the passengers and by the driver (αρ. Δ1α / ΦΠ.οικ.27815 Joint Ministerial Decision)
- It is recommended that the driver provide antiseptic
- The driver avoids handshakes
- The driver must ensure the natural ventilation of the vehicle
- In club cars protective equipment (simple surgical mask, gloves) is required to be users by the driver and disinfection after each use. There are no restrictions on the number of occupants for these open vehicles.