Hotels in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch have offered to be guinea pigs if the government is to consider running ‘trials of lockdown lifting’ after releasing details of the region’s Covid-19 Action Plan.
Leading hoteliers in the area have joined together to create a strategy to help hotels reopen ‘as soon as possible’, with guidance on how to ensure guests and staff can remain safe and reduce the risk of transmission when restrictions are eased.
Hotel manager Theo Iakimov, who runs Bournemouth’s Hotel Miramar, led the move to create the plan, with the support of Rosie Radwell from neighbouring Marsham Court Hotel, and hospitality consultant Simon Scarborough.
The BH Area Hospitality Association (BAHA) has also adopted the project along with the backing of the town’s two Business Improvement Districts (BIDS), BCP Council and local MPs.
The ‘Stay Safe Code of Action’ has also drawn interest from VisitBritain.
The plan includes practical advice, such as limiting parking spaces and operating to half capacity as well as hygiene tips covering cleanliness and sanitisation.
Theo said: “The objective is to reduce risk as much as we can to reassure people that we can safely open again, albeit on a reduced basis.
“The code of action includes risk-reduction protocols and best practice learned from other nations, as well as input from health professionals.
“Practical things include opening a limited number of car parking spaces, and public areas, and operating to just 50% of bedroom capacity so social-distancing can be practised.
“Obviously room cleaning must be extremely thorough, and rooms might be left empty for days after they have been occupied.
“Signage about rules and how to correctly use hand sanitiser will have to be prominent and new training for staff should be introduced.
“Shift patterns should be organised so people are less likely to mix with each other and staff and guests will be provided with all necessary protection.
“Temperature tests for staff and guests can be introduced and payment can be done remotely.
“Also, if the government wants to run a trial of re-opening hotels to test the waters, hoteliers in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole areas are fully prepared and ready to welcome guests back.
Tim Seward chairman of the BH Area Hospitality Association said: “The hospitality sector is critical to the south west region, and this unified approach involving so many key stakeholders shows our commitment to helping local businesses and the regional economy get back on track.”