Current Government guidelines dictate that mask-wearing is now optional, and as such, guests and staff are not required to wear one inside the hotel unless they wish to.
The health and safety of our guests is of paramount importance to us, and as such we have always operated with extremely high standards of hygiene at all times, in all areas of the hotel. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we have put the following measures in place to further enhance our procedures and doubly ensure the personal safety of each and every guest and member of staff on the premises, giving you complete peace of mind for the duration of your stay.
Please note that these measures are provided as guidelines only, and we reserve the right to update on a daily basis without prior notice given the evolving nature of the pandemic.
Staying with Confidence
We want you to feel safe and secure from the moment you pull up outside, to the moment you have to leave us. That’s why we’ve enhanced our cleaning practices, guest interactions, employee procedures, and availability of information, to ensure your confidence and security.
We have developed these new enhanced procedures in accordance with a combination of the WHO guidelines, UK Hospitality recommendations and Government advice, to ensure that we are not only compliant, but going above and beyond to protect and reassure our guests and staff. We have also undertaken a full risk assessment, outlining in detail how we are meeting these guidelines in every area of our hotel. These are being communicated to staff by managers first through initial training and then on a regular basis.
Section One: Key changes to safeguard employee and guest health
A. Frequent and thorough hand sanitising
We have implemented a strict protocol of frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitiser for staff, hand washing with soap and water being the preferred method. Sanitiser - anti-viral, with a minimum 60% alcohol content - has been placed prominently in both front and back areas of the hotel to enable staff and guests to sanitise frequently.
Sanitiser is available for use in the following areas: The lobby, reception, the library, the drawing room, the Dower House restaurant, the kitchens, the offices, the spa, the gym, landings, employee entrances, all staff areas, meeting rooms, and all other public areas.
B: Health and Safety Signage (front and back of house)
We are handing out health and hygiene reminders to all resident guests on arrival. For non-resident guests, a sign-in policy led by our concierge team has been introduced to the entrance of hotel. This policy follows the government guidelines of track and trace, highlighting the precautions which we must adhere to.
We have put up signage in our employee areas back of house, employee entrances and exit points. Signage reminds employees of the proper way to wash hands, sneeze and to avoid touching their faces.
C. Action Plan for Responding to Health Concerns
Per official government advice, employees will immediately inform the duty manager or the reception desk of any pertinent incidents, including possibly sick guests in their rooms. They will treat all this information with discretion.
The duty manager will then minimize contact of the ill person with all guests and staff of the establishment. This will be effected by providing the person with a mask, and, if the sick person cannot be transferred to a medical establishment, they will be isolated and contained within one room on a temporary basis. Once the sick person has left the premises, this room – and any other areas or touch points that may have been contaminated - will then be subjected to a quarantine and disinfectant, with the staff member using gloves and a disposable apron, before it is made available again.
D. General Employee Responsibilities
All employees shall follow Government and WHO guidance regarding handwashing. Staff will be required to remove any jewellery from their hands and wrists prior to their shift starting. Employees shall wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, or use anti-viral sanitizer when a sink is not available, after any of the following activities: using the toilet, sneezing, touching the face, cleaning, eating, drinking, accepting items from a guest (ID, cash, credit card, room key), taking a break, and before a shift and as needed throughout the shift. When possible, employees shall wear gloves for added protection and sanitation efforts. Proper hand hygiene, in accordance with government and WHO guidelines, will be followed prior to and after removing the gloves. Duty managers will remind everyone to wash their hands or use a hand gel at the start of every shift.
All employees have received COVID-19 safety and facility sanitation protocols training recommendations based on official guidance from the government and WHO, with more comprehensive training for employees with frequent guest contact including Housekeeping, Food & Beverage, Spa, Reception, Hotel Operations, Valet and Concierge Services, and Maintenance/Engineering.
Training included details about distancing requirements, routes of transmission and the importance of hand washing and surface disinfection at key times. All staff were instructed about not coming to work if they have a fever or new cough (they should stay at home for seven days, or for as long as prevailing guidance dictates).
A general commitment to hygiene shall be regularly communicated to staff, including transmission threats outside of the workplace, infection and quarantine guidelines, and actions to reduce risk of infection in the home.
A separate document has been issued to staff with guidance on change of procedures to minimize risk of spreading COVID-19.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE, along with appropriate training for use and disposal, is made available to any employee upon request. Staff are trained in the correct use of face masks, although they are no longer required to wear them.
Cleaning staff in particular are trained on the use of and provided with personal protection equipment should they wish to wear it, however this is not mandatory.
If doing tasks that generate splashes (e.g. while washing surfaces) or close contact with guests, staff are required to wear facial protection with a face shield and impermeable aprons. Staff have been instructed to wash hands after removing PPE.
Section Two: Further details
2A: Cleaning Products & Protocols
Staff have been trained, and will now clean with approved products followed by a second clean using disinfectant, per government advice.
Public Spaces and Communal Areas
Cleaning and disinfecting shall be frequent (multiple times per day) with an emphasis on frequent contact with hard non-porous surfaces including, but not limited to, front desk check-in counters, pens, chip and pin machines, keyboards, bells, telephones, lifts and lift buttons, all door handles, public toilets, room keys and locks, stair handrails, gym equipment, pool seating and surrounding areas, spa changing rooms, spa retail area, gym equipment, spa treatment specific tools and products, dining surfaces and all seating areas.
All Spa Managers and Spa Attendants have completed COVID-19-specific training in infection prevention and control.
We have also increased the provision of alcohol-based equipment wipes, sprays, tissues and lidded bins with signage and communication to encourage guests to wipe down gym equipment after each use.
Staff employ the use of disposable tools for instruments sterilisation or UV lamps.
Treatment rooms are sanitised between each client to include all surfaces being wiped with disinfectant, including door handles and chair handles. Our therapists have been trained in how to do this.
Chlorine use in pool to continue as usual.
Spa Opening Times
Monday to Sunday 8.00 - 18.00 (booking essential)
Guest Rooms / Housekeeping
Cleaning and disinfecting protocols will require that particular attention is paid to high-touch, hard non-porous items including television remote controls, toilet seats and handles, door and furniture handles, taps, bedside tables, telephones, light switches, temperature control panels, alarm clocks, luggage racks, kettles, hairdryer handles, iron and ironing board, trouser press, safe buttons, wardrobe doors and flooring. Glasses and crockery will be removed and washed in a dishwasher (not the room sink). Room collateral will be kept to a minimum. Staff must follow handwashing guidelines as per PHE guidance. Disinfecting gloved hands will follow the same guidelines and frequency as that of handwashing.
The frequency of room cleaning during a guest’s stay may be altered based on guest requirements. We will review the frequency of the cycle of cleaning and in-room services to take into account different lengths of stay.
Room cleaning will be undertaken in the absence of the guest, unless it is difficult for the guest to leave the room (e.g. due to mobility constraints) whereupon social distancing shall be observed in the presence of the guest.
Linens, towels and laundry shall be washed as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer instructions. We will launder items using the warmest allowable water setting for the items, and dry items completely.
Dirty linen shall be bagged in the guest room to eliminate excess contact while being transported to the laundry facility.
The proper functioning of the dishwashing and laundry equipment will be checked, particularly the operating temperatures, as well as the correct dosage of cleaning and disinfecting chemicals. We will clean and disinfect anything used for transporting laundry with our usual products.
Staff have been informed that uniforms should be washed at temperatures above 60°C or a laundry sanitising agent used if the fabrics can’t be washed at such a temperature.
Staff have been informed that if a high temperature laundry is not possible, and they have sufficient uniform items, to leave the laundry in a bag in a safe place for 72 hours and then wash as normal.
Hotel Guest Lifts
Button panels will be disinfected at regular intervals, including the beginning of each housekeeping staff work shift and continuing throughout the day. Guests travelling up can use the lift. Guests travelling down are to use the stairs. If guests need to take the lift down for mobility issues, this can be arranged via reception.
Back of the House
Cleaning and disinfecting of all high touch areas shall occur in accordance with government guidelines, including at least twice per day in high traffic areas. Handwashing stations and access to hand sanitizer have been made convenient and highly visible along with signage instructing proper technique.
Per government guidance we will use detergent and then available disinfectant which kills the virus and is made up from issued/installed disinfectant, used in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. This will be used on visibly clean surfaces.
Staff are following their regular sanitising regime as usual, and at the end of the shift going over all hand touch surfaces one more time before closing.
Rinsing processes ensure disinfection of crockery and glasses, either with water at a minimum of 60 degrees or suitable disinfectant.
Shared tools and equipment shall be disinfected after each shift or transfer to a new employee.
Food & Beverage
Food and beverage service shall reduce in-person contact with guests. We will also minimize dining items available on the tables. Traditional room service can be replaced with a no-contact delivery method if requested. The current distance level should be maintained between customers at different tables (e.g. by positioning the tables and chairs accordingly).
Customer contact with collateral such as menus, trays, napkins etc. has been limited to what is necessary, and cleaning / replacement is carried out after each use.
Where staff come into contact with items used by customers, they need to ensure that they wash their hands before moving on to another task. Condiments and sauces are prepared individually upon request.
We have reviewed our menu options to ensure that cross-over and access to food is minimised.
Customers will be encouraged to use hand sanitiser station provided.
Toilet areas will be regulatory monitored and disinfected, including frequent disinfection of high-frequency touch points in bathrooms and toilet areas.
Contactless or room account payments should be used whenever possible.
Potential pinch points have been identified and monitored as part of the overall risk assessment in our operational plan, including reference to customer toilets, and monitoring of their use to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements.
In-room dining and room service
If requested, a non-contact in-room dining service can be offered.
Staff will wash their hands before picking up the room service tray to take to the guests.
Dishes and drinks will be placed on disinfected butlers’ trays, then left off the floor next to the door. Staff will knock on the door, leave the tray outside the door and step away. The guest can then pick the tray up, and the staff can remove the tray stand or table etc. The member of staff will wash their hands afterwards. If the guest would like to tip, then this should be done on the bill please.
Guests are encouraged to leave the tray outside their door for collection. If they wish to retain their tray in the room, for later collection, this must be requested from reception.
2B: Physical/Social Distancing
Physical Distancing & Queuing
While the official guidelines have recently been relaxed, we are still encouraging our staff and guests to continue to practice physical distancing by standing at least one meter away from other groups of people not traveling with them, including any area where guests or employees queue. When applicable, lobby furniture and other public seating areas have been reconfigured to promote social distancing. Guests will be encouraged to pay by card wherever possible.
For our staff break canteen we are staggering timings so that groups of staff have slots to come for their meals to reduce gathering. The hotel, due to minimizing the risk, will not be providing staff food.
Staff have been instructed to always sneeze or cough into the crook of their arms to prevent hands becoming contaminated. If they use a tissue, the advice is to bin it immediately into a bin with close fitting lid and not to leave it around on surfaces. They wash their hands or use hand gel afterwards.
Bedrooms and Suites
In anticipation of individual concerns of guests, housekeeping shall not enter a guest room during a stay unless specifically requested, or approved, by the guest, or to comply with established safety protocols. Housekeeping shall maintain the practice of cleaning rooms thoroughly following check-out, incorporating disinfectant.
Restaurant, Bar and Spa
Tables in the restaurant and bar will continue to be spaced 1-2 meters apart to allow separation between groups of guests. Servers and bartenders will maintain the recommended physical distance from each other and guests where possible. Table service will remain the norm, with staff wearing protective masks if they wish to. Transparent screens have been erected at front desks.
Based on the current Government guidance in place at the time, a maximum number of persons per premises has been calculated and recorded as part of our risk assessment. We are utilising our reservation systems to control the frequency and placement of guests.
In the spa, all of our therapists have completed Barbicide Covid-19 Certifications, giving them an enhanced understanding of infection control in a spa environment, along with best practice guidelines to adhere to.
Numbers of guests and members in the spa or the gym at any one time will continue to be limited.
Guests will be encouraged to change into their swimwear and robes in their rooms if they are close to the spa.
Numbers permitted into a spa/gym will be within safe guidelines and monitored through the day; booking times for spa/pool usage is essential. Residents are encouraged to change in hotel bedrooms to minimise crowding of changing rooms. At reception, guests are offered verbal greetings instead of handshakes.
In the gym, we have installed Perspex screening between the equipment.
A Perspex shield has been erected at our spa reception desk, along with floor markers to assist with distancing around reception desk. Floor markers have also been applied in all changing rooms.
Customers displaying symptoms of coronavirus will be asked not to enter.
Meeting and Event Spaces
Meeting and banquet arrangements shall continue to allow for physical distancing between guests.
Front Desk and Concierge
Members of reception and concierge will continue to practice social distancing, including distancing between desks, to ensure separation between employees whenever applicable and possible. To avoid queuing for check-ins and check-outs, guests are encouraged to wait in public areas, where seating is appropriately distanced. Transparent screens have been erected at the reception area to form a safety barrier between the desk agent and the guest.
Card payments are encouraged at all times.
Concierge will still offer to assist with guests’ luggage, but will maintain social distancing whilst doing so. After handling luggage, staff will wash their hands or use a hand sanitiser.
Guests are asked to put their keys in a bowl/box where the concierge will collect and disinfect them before parking the vehicle. Members of the concierge team shall disinfect keys and all contact points within vehicles before and after parking. Keys will be returned to guests via the bowl/box again to ensure distancing is observed.
Garden tables will be spaced 2-meters apart to allow separation between groups of guests. When using the pathways, staff will defer to approaching guests by stepping onto the grass until they are the recommended distance away.
Hotel Guest Lifts
Guests will be encouraged to use the stairs. As a general rule, hotel lift to be used for guests going up, while guests coming down will use stairs. If for mobility reasons, guests need lift down, then this can be arranged via reception.
Back of House
Physical distancing among all employees shall be practiced in our kitchens, uniform control areas, training rooms, shared office spaces, and all other high-density areas.
Section Three: The key guidelines we are adhering to
Is there anything you would like further information about, or something you’re not sure of? If so, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly team, who will be delighted to help you with your enquiry.
We look forward to welcoming you to the RCH.