The COVID-19 pandemic means that, more than ever before, tourism businesses need to have the health and safety of their customers – and their employees – at the forefront of their minds as they re-start operations. A national protocol has yet to be agreed upon, but best practice is already well established. Tourism attractions need to be thinking about operational and staff preparedness, delivering a safe experience and rebuilding trust and confidence.
Operational and staff preparedness
Ensure you have:
- Obtained any licences required locally
- Developed checklists for infection prevention, cleaning and disinfection. Guidance is available here.
- Implemented protocols and guidelines for staff health including stay-at-home policy for staff displaying COVID-19 symptoms
- Adjusted workplace layout to promote physical distancing and limit staff in common areas
- Implemented protocols to minimize physical contact, especially for waiting in line, using virtual lines where possible. Floor signs to encourage socially distanced lineups can be downloaded here.
- Evaluated laundry services and meal delivery options available to staff
- Integrated technologies to allow for contactless payment if possible
- Make non-medical masks (NMMs) available to staff as long as required, particularly when it is not possible to consistently maintain a two-metre physical distance from others or in crowded settings.
- Learnt from best practice of prominent attractions throughout Canada. For instance, the National Gallery of Canada has established entry and exit of visitors through different doors, added signage and floor markers to encourage physical distancing, installed plexiglass shields in their boutique and Box Office and made mask-wearing mandatory for all visitors.
- Evaluated innovations for cleanliness and disinfection such as foggers, electrostatic spraying technology, UVC light and EPA based air filtration, with validation from expert bodies – particularly for large attractions
- Established with suppliers and partners including restaurants, cafes, kiosks, hotels and transport partners that they are also following likeminded health and hygiene protocols
- Provided staff with all necessary tools and information for infection control, physical contact, appropriate attire and enhanced hygiene measures
- Reviewed employee sick leave policies and updated as needed
- Implemented and retrained staff on new protocols for infection control, physical distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols (e.g. hand washing, use of masks and gloves)
- Instituted continuous monitoring of staff physical and mental wellbeing by leadership
Delivering a safe experience
Ensure you have:
- Worked with partners and suppliers to understand what additional measures have been introduced
- Implemented processes to ensure enhanced sanitation, disinfection and deep cleaning as well as increased cleaning/disinfection frequency
- Selected disinfecting products approved by health authorities
- Revisited guidance to cleaning team, with a specific focus on high-frequency touch points such as handrails, elevators, common areas and washrooms
- Provided participants with recommended elevator etiquette to ensure physical distancing throughout the venue if relevant
- Approved disinfecting products made available at sanitation stations in high-traffic areas
- Laundered towels using a detergent and high-heat washer and dryer settings
- Reduced participant capacity limits in venues as appropriate and required by local legislation to allow for physical distancing. The City of Toronto website provides detailed guidance for those organizing live events on how to do so while operating at a reduced capacity and limiting the potential for viral transmission.
- Implemented guest health checks if appropriate
- Limited physical contact and standing in line where possible
- Made masks available to guests (if required locally), and encouraged them to wear them
- Encouraged guests to purchase tickets online if possible
- Allowed extra time for guests to enter the venue to accommodate vaccination checkpoints, and explored staggered timing of venue access where possible
- Created isolation units outside the venue where possible for people showing COVID-19 symptoms
- Established that partner restaurants and cafes follow likeminded health, sanitation, disinfection and hygiene and food safety protocols to protect guests
Rebuilding trust and confidence
Ensure you have:
- Provided clear, consistent and up-to-date communication to customers on new health and hygiene protocols both digitally and physically at the venue, including clear signage on social distancing and enhanced cleaning protocols
- Integrated where possible (and highlight the implementation of) technologies enabling the use of timeslots to minimize crowds
- Shared guest guidelines both ahead of trip (for instance, together with a booking confirmation email) and upon commencement of trip (for instance, via a reminder SMS) including on wearing of face masks, practising hand hygiene and avoiding physical contact, and had guests acknowledge them
- Informed guests about support available if questions or concerns arise. How will you respond if guests are concerned about others not respecting social distancing? How will you handle the presence of a guest who appears to be sick with COVID-19 symptoms? How rigorously will you enforce the wearing of masks? How will you handle the presence of a guest who does not have their vaccination? You need to develop a robust response to all the most important customer questions that may arise, and brief your staff accordingly. Bear in mind that you may well have procedures already developed for customer complaints or difficult customers that may be able to be adapted and applied to this situation.
- Set up a medical service point if possible, depending on size of attraction
- Created water/soft drinks protocols at events, including recommendations for guests to use their own refillable water bottles or providing individual water bottles as an alternative
For more information, visit: https://wttc.org/COVID-19/Safe-Travels-Global-Protocols-Stamp