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Medico Nepal

Operational considerations for COVID-19 management in the accommodation sector

The management of the establishment should adopt a responsible attitude to address the health threat of COVID-19.

1. Action plan

The Management Team, in consultation with local health authority, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, and Tourism administration and industry associations should establish an action plan tailored to the situation and implement it in accordance with the recommendations of local and national public health authorities with the aim to prevent cases, effectively manage cases, and mitigate impact among clients and staff, including cleaning and disinfection of rooms occupied by ill persons. The plan, which may incorporate teleworking, should be updated when necessary as a consequence of new guidance, procedures, or regulations issued by the pertinent authorities.

2. Mobilisation of resources

The Management Team should make sufficient human and economic resources available to ensure that the action plan can be implemented rapidly and effectively. The action plan should also include the provision of equipment and procedures, developed in collaboration with local health authorities, for the management of suspected case(s) and their possible contacts.

3. Supervision

The implementation of the action plan and the effectiveness of the measures undertaken should be evaluated frequently to verify compliance, identify and correct gaps, and adapt the plan to practical experience. A Crisis Team involving members of each relevant department can support Management in the implementation of the action plan and timely identification of required adjustments. It is necessary to be alert to any unusual rise in worker absenteeism, especially those due to acute respiratory infections, possibly caused by COVID-19.

4. Logbook of actions

 It is advisable to keep a logbook of the important actions and measures carried out and to record them in enough detail (e.g. including date and time a disinfectant was used, by whom, where, etc.). This logbook can be used to improve the actions implemented.

5. Communication

Communication should be maintained between Management and staff, including through the managers in charge of the different departments, in order to predefine an information policy for guests as well as to rapidly provide and obtain information on incidents that may arise in the establishment and to know the status of the situation at all times. Providing guidelines to the staff on how they should communicate the action plan to guests and other stakeholders can ensure alignment consistency. Short documents or informative posters can amplify the key messages among guests and staff, including the promotion of hand-washing (at least 20 seconds, all parts of the hand), respiratory hygiene, and coughing etiquette. Official leaflets on basic hygiene practice and COVID-19, in different languages, could be useful information tools. It may be useful to have an up-to-date list of the contact information of the staff, including emergency telephone numbers.

6. Training and information

 Management should inform all staffs of the measures to be adopted and the measures that could protect their health and that of others, including the recommendation to stay home and seek medical attention if they have respiratory symptoms, such as coughing or shortness of breath. Management should organize information briefings that should cover all the basic protective measures against COVID-19 and the signs and symptoms of the disease. Training may be needed for specific procedures.