The Ministry of Heritage has issued guidelines on COVID-19 prevention measures for classified hotels, restaurants, cafes, and their employers.
As per the guidelines, only one employee shall be permitted to perform housekeeping for each hotel room and outsourcing services companies must obtain medical certificates proving that they are free of COVID-19.
The Ministry said, “In preparation of the gradual return of the tourism activity upon the gradual receding of the COVID-19, the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism has issued standard measures that must be followed to limit the wider spread of the disease all over again.”
The guidelines are aimed at protecting all employees and guests of classified hotel, restaurant, and cafe attendants and balancing between restarting the normal life and the continuation of the precautionary measures. The relevant guidelines are as follows:
Preventive measures in the main entrance of hotels: Limit and control the number of entrances; provide signs containing instructions and illustrations on COVID-19 prevention in the hotel; provide face masks at the main entrance, which are necessary for everyone to wear immediately upon entry to the hotel; and provide hand sanitisers in a visible place near the main entrance; provide a (digital) thermometer; sterilise the baggage of guests when checking in and out of the hotel; sterilise the baggage car before and after use; resume parking service, with the following measures – Employees must wear face masks and gloves, and change it following every single parking, keep the vehicle’s air conditioning on while maintaining the doors open for some time to ensure the vehicle is ventilated before handing over to the guest, use single-vehicle seat covers, use disinfectant wipes to clean the steering wheel, transmission, and any surfaces contacted in the vehicle; train employees in the hotel’s main entrance area on COVID-19 prevention measures to maintain the safety of visitors and the hotel entry.
Preventive measures in the recipient area: Remove all devices and common items on the reception area as public phones and posters of all kinds, and clean the reception table with sterile materials after completing each guest’s procedures; place a glass or plastic screen separating employees from guests at the reception counter (or keep a minimum distance of two metres between the receptionist and the guest); place floor signs around the waiting places of the guests to complete the procedures for receiving and delivering the rooms, provided that they are no less than two metres between each sign, or complete the procedures in the guest’s room directly rearrange the reception seats so that no less than two metres is allowed between the seats; reduce the number of allowed guests in the elevator, so that it is limited to four people for wide elevators in case of being from one family only, and two people for narrow elevators; and cover the buttons with a plastic or insulation material that is constantly replaced; clean the elevator with sterile materials continuously; employees must wear masks or transparent face protective masks throughout the course of work; educate and urge employees on the importance of prompt reporting to the official when any respiratory symptoms or high body temperature appear whether for them or for any of their colleagues, regardless of the severity of the symptoms.
Prevention measures in rooms and toilets: Remove all posters and paper marketing materials from rooms; the rooms must be out-of-order after the departure of the guest for a sufficient period (at least 24 hours) to be treated, sterilised and reviewed by the hotel security and safety officials; reduce room items and package to the most important ones (e.g. pens and remote controls and renew packaging after each guest, reduce sanitary materials in the toilet according to the number of guests, provided that all materials are destroyed after the departure of each guest.
Classified Restaurant and Cafes: Buffets are permitted while adhering to the prevention measures; conduct temperature checks on diners and the hotel should ensure spacing between dining tables and chairs in accordance with the standards issued by the competent authorities; adopt the advice and instructions issued by international companies specialised in sterilisation methods and chemicals necessary to ensure safety in hotel rooms, public spaces and restaurants; restaurant workers’ observance of wearing gloves, changing thern from time to time and handwashing with soap and water; digital payments at customer’s table is preferable to reduce crowding at the cashier; and control the number of diners by allowing advance reservations to avoid crowds.
Housekeeping Services: Inform all companies that provide outsourcing services to the hotel that they must obtain medical certificates proving that they are free of COVID-19, and that these workers should not be replaced or transferred from a hotel to another; only one employee shall be permitted simultaneously to perform housekeeping for each hotel room and guests shall not be permitted in the room during the housekeeping service; antibacterial chemicals should be used to clean room, floor cleaning items (dusters/mop) should be re-sterilised after use in each room; provide disposable laundry bags that can be disposed of; workers must wear single use plastic aprons and waterproof shoes while clean, wear masks and gloves on ongoing basis while continuing to conduct rapid testing of workers; focus on cleaning frequently-used surfaces of all facilities (door handles, etc). Ensure the sustainability of sterilisation of received and delivered goods through the loading and unloading area, with special procedures for receiving external orders (such as food or packages), and it is preferable for the delivery person not to access the rooms; consider the possibility of providing housing in the hotel or belonging to the same for the employees of the outsource services companies to ensure that it does not intermix with other people in their current housing.
Meeting event rooms: Party and conference rooms must operate at 50 percent capacity while adhering to the prevention measures, meeting rooms are permitted to be used while adhering to physical distancing and provide hand sanitisers at meeting tables; ventilate meeting rooms constantly, avoid providing pens and paper items during meetings except upon request from guests, to be used only once and discarded after use and create a record of attendance details and their contact numbers for easy screening.
Recreational facilities and gym: Ensure that workers and visitors are symptom-free, and check their body temperature before entering these facilities, all types of sports and recreational facilities are permitted to be used by guests and visitors of the facility; control the number of pool users to avoid crowding, clean and sterilise lounge chairs surrounding the pool area and locker room cabinets after each use, and rearrange the seats so that a minimum distance of two metres is kept between each seat; juice and water are only allowed to be served in single-use bottles or cups at the beverage service area by the pools, health club facilities such as massage rooms, steam baths, saunas, hot tubs and spas are permitted in accordance with the standards issued by the competent authorities; rearrange exercise machines so that a minimum distance of two metres is kept between each machine, and reduce the number of gym members, provide hand sanitisers; avoid group workouts to reduce mixing, and personal Items such as towels and water bottles are not allowed towel cabinets shall be sterilised; towels must be kept in closed cabinets and provided to guests upon request, and are not be shared with others; sanitize gym equipment after each use.
The Ministry will monitor the ongoing compliance of these establishments in coordination with the competent authorities, such as the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Manpower, competent Municipalities, Royal Oman Police, Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance. These guidelines will be continuously updated in accordance with the requirements for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.