• Bethany Smith

Accommodation Precautions: What to know!

What precautions should everyone take in a hotel or other accommodation establishment?

Everyone should follow basic precautions:

  • Wash all parts of your hands frequently (at least 20 second if using an alcohol-based hand rub, and at least 40 seconds with soap and water), including after exchanging objects such as money or credit cards. Look for hand sanitizer stations and use them before going into dining halls, restaurants or bars.

  • Cover a cough or sneeze with a bent elbow or tissue, and throw away the tissue in a closed bin.

  • Maintain at least a 6 foot distance from staff and other guests not in your party. This includes avoiding hugging, kissing or shaking hands. If you can't guarantee the distance, wear a mask. Be sure to check local and national guidelines on the use of masks.

Is it safe to use fans or air conditioning in an accommodation?

Ventilation is an important factor in preventing the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading. Recirculated air from split air conditioning units, fan coils or any system that runs with a recirculation mode should be avoided where possible, unless in a single occupancy room with no one else present. If recirculation is unavoidable, increase outdoor air exchange by opening windows, if possible and safe to do so, and minimize air blowing from one person directly at another.

Floor or ceiling fans can provide ventilation when the people occupying the room are from the same household, but are not recommended when travelers from different households are together.

Can you get the virus from people who were in the room previous to you?

Hotels and other accommodations should have procedures for cleaning, disinfecting and ventilating the room properly between every guest's stay. These processes allow the accommodations to be used immediately afterward. If these procedures are followed, there is no need to leave the room empty between guests.

What should travelers do if they get sick while at an accommodation facility?

If a guest develops symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, dry cough or tiredness, they should notify the facility manager and seek medical advice by contacting local health authorities.

The guest should isolate from others, including fellow travelers. If the guest cannot be isolated or staff need to enter the room, the ill person should put on a medical mask, and people nearby should also wear a mask. If the medical mask cannot be tolerated by the ill person, then he or she should cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or use tissues to cover the mouth, and discard the tissue immediately into a closed waste bag.

Are there precautions to take while eating in a restaurant?

There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted by food, including fresh fruits and vegetables. The virus can be killed while cooking food at temperatures of at least 158 degrees F.

Food buffets are not recommended because of the risk of close physical contact with others, shared serving implements and multiple people touching the surfaces on the buffet. Indoor dining spaces should have a maximum of 4 people in a square meter. The distance from the back of one chair to the back of another chair, with guests seated, should be at least 6 feet distant. This applies to both indoor and outdoor dining.

Guests should be reminded when entering and leaving the area to clean their hands. When the physical distance of at least 6 feet cannot be guaranteed, masks are recommended to be worn by guests and staff.

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