DOT sets health checks, room use, hygiene regulations for hotels in tourism revival

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 26 2020 04:59 PM

MANILA - The country’s tourism department has laid down guidelines for hotels and other accommodation establishments as the government girded to revive the tourism industry ahead of the country's transition to the "new normal" following the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Department of Tourism (DOT) set regulations on health checks, room sharing, and hygiene under Memorandum Circular No. 2020-002. 

This, as the government sought to revive the tourism sector that saw a slump because of coronavirus lockdowns, which cancelled non-essential movements such as leisure trips and halted public transport, among others. 

"We assure our stakeholders that the DOT Guidelines will prove responsive to the needed changes brought about by this pandemic,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a press release. 

The following are guidelines for hotel stays: 

UPON CHECK-IN 

Upon entering the hotel, guests will be subjected to temperature checks. They must also be provided with essential information on the coronavirus disease and measures set in the establishment to avoid the risk of infection.

"Information materials on hand washing and respiratory etiquette, proper use of face mask, emergency contact numbers, among others, must be provided to guests," the memorandum read. 

They will then be made to sign a health declaration form upon check-in. 

Those guests cleared in the screening process will be the only ones permitted to enter the hotel, the DOT said. 

DURING CHECK-IN 

Under the new guidelines, couples or family members who share the same household may be allowed in single or double room occupancy. A distance of 1 to 2 meters between beds in shared rooms is “highly encouraged.” 

Reminder cards on proper distancing measures shall be placed in every room. Sanitation kits must also be provided 

The DOT, under the memorandum, also discouraged mingling with other occupants in neighboring rooms. Handshaking is also discouraged between hotel staff and guests. 

Online payment is also encouraged upon booking. 

PERSONNEL PROTOCOLS

The tourism department also advised staff of hotels and other accommodation facilities required to attend to guests to wear face masks and use disposable gloves. 

They must also have disinfectants, waste bags, alcohol or hand sanitizer, tissue paper and disposable gloves in tow. 

Contactless greeting of guests, known as the "Filipino Brand of Service," is also encouraged. 

For the reception or front desk officer, hand-shaking is not advised. Instead the practice of the Filipino Brand of Service (FBS) or the “Mabuhay” gesture in greeting guests, as well as other forms of contactless greeting, is encouraged.

Housekeeping staff are required to wear personal protective equipment such as face shields and aprons among others in cleaning the rooms, according to the memorandum. 

Sheets such as blankets must also be "handled as little as possible with minimal agitation," it added. 

FOR GUESTS WITH SYMPTOMS 

Hotels should also have a holding area for symptomatic guests, the DOT said. 

In case there are guests showing coronavirus symptoms, hotels are advised to refer them to the nearest hospital and assist them in case “they begin to manifest symptoms such as fever and/or cough.” 

“Keep the symptomatic guest confined in the room originally used until trained transport providers are available to transport him or her to designated referral hospital,” the DOT said. 

It also reminded staff to "avoid employing any discriminatory action against any sick person with high fever and cough for fear of contracting or spreading the disease." 

The tourism sector is among those immensely affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, with non-essential flights and hotel bookings being cancelled. 

Some hotels are allowed to open, under the country's coronavirus task force guidelines, but are only operational for essential services such as accommodation.