Since the declaration of a pandemic, hotels in Argentina have been closed by order of the national Ministry of Tourism, with the exception of those that will host repatriated residents in quarantine or foreigners awaiting their repatriation. Meanwhile, the restaurants, bars and confectioneries also remained inoperative in Phase 1 of the emergency, but then they were exclusively enabled to provide take away services.
To date, with the exception of the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA) and Gran Córdoba, Chaco and Bariloche, practically the entire country is already in Phase 4. In fact, a few provinces have already enabled intra-provincial tourism and opened establishments. gastronomic with strict restrictions.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Argentina launched the national protocols for hotels and gastronomic establishments
But it was clear that a unified and standardized criterion by the health authorities would be needed at the national level, since neither a tourist, nor an operator, nor a transporter, nor a hotel chain can comply with 24 different protocols.
In this framework, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports released its health recommendations and guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19 this Wednesday, June 10, within the framework of a forthcoming reopening of tourist activity that, as anticipated by the Holder of that portfolio, Matías Lammens, could take shape during the winter holidays, that is, in July.
As reported by the ministry, this Argentine protocol was prepared in conjunction with the Institute for Tourism Quality (ICTA), the Argentine Chamber of Tourism (CAT), the Association of Tourism Hotels (AHT), the Association of Hotels, Restaurants, Confectioneries and Cafés (Ahrcc), the Gastronomic Hotel Business Federation of the Argentine Republic (Fehgra) and the provinces, through the Federal Tourism Council (CFT).
These are two manuals that comply with the recommendations established by the Ministry of Health, and their main objective is precisely “to protect the health and well-being of workers and tourists”.
The Minister of Tourism and Sports, Matías Lammens, coordinated the protocols with the private sector
“They are concrete tools, health recommendations and care guidelines that aim to strengthen the value chain and contribute to preserving jobs in the sector, in line with new global demands,” explained Lammens.
At a general level, the two procedural guides propose, for example, the implementation of control measures for personnel, prior to entering work, for the detection of symptoms compatible with COVID-19, and the appointment of those responsible for this task.
As explained to HOSTELTUR sources from the ministry, both manuals, which are the first in a series that will cover the entire spectrum of the activity, are recommendations that have already been signed by the 23 provinces and the City of Buenos Aires (as indicated, participated in its preparation). Therefore, the supervision of its implementation and compliance will be the responsibility of each jurisdiction, according to local regulations and the evolution of the pandemic.
Occasionally, in the case of tourist accommodation, all employees who have contact with guests must wear face masks, provided that this is stipulated in their jurisdiction. Likewise, except for specific tasks, the use of gloves is not recommended, since viral particles tend to remain on latex / nitrile for longer.
It is also suggested to digitize the check in and check out process and, in a first stage, avoid the services of bell boy and valet parking. Meanwhile, it is proposed to install a mailbox to deposit the keys and that they be disinfected
In all cases, capacity is key, both for employees and guests. That is why it is recommended to install glass panels as barriers and always indicate the maximum capacity of people in the areas of common use. Similarly, alcohol gel should be offered and the individual use of elevators maintained; and with regard to circulation, it is recommended that it be in one direction only, with indicative signs. In addition, it is advisable not to allow access to swimming pools and gyms, unless the local health authority indicates otherwise.
After checking out, the rooms must be free long enough to ensure proper ventilation, deep cleaning and disinfection.
In reference to food and beverages, they recommend avoiding their manipulation by guests and implementing breakfast service in the room; or serve it under the take away modality; have coffee makers in the rooms; extend breakfast hours; or offer prior reservation to plan the number of diners.
Restaurant menus should be digital or laminated, to facilitate disinfection, while drinks will be delivered closed, in the bottle or can, while it is recommended to cancel the minibar service.
In this sense, the manual for gastronomic establishments recommends working with advance reservations to plan the number of diners from the previous day, displaying the menu on posters placed outside and inside the premises, avoiding self-service food (buffet); and offer a la carte dishes in individual portions. The personnel of those who operate under the take away modality must work in uniform and wash their hands before and after each delivery or order.
Finally, for these venues it is recommended to close the playgrounds for boys to organize the kitchen staff in shifts; and disinfect tableware, cutlery and glassware in the dishwasher, including unused one in one shift.