As an industry where person-to-person contact is integral and often unavoidable, the tourism sector needs to consider carefully what sort of risk mitigation may be required in order to keep staff and customers as safe as possible from potential COVID-19 infection.
COVID-19 spreads from person to person, most commonly through respiratory droplets, which can be generated by coughing, sneezing, laughing or talking during close interactions. Those most at risk, therefore, include staff members who have close interactions with clients or other employees during their shift, particularly where these interactions are prolonged (longer than 15 minutes) and who may work in areas with a high density of people or in confined indoor spaces.
This means that it will often be appropriate for frontline service workers to wear masks, when local epidemiology and the rate of community transmission warrants it. Non-medical masks (NMMs) are recommended when it is not possible to consistently maintain a two-metre physical distance from others, particularly in crowded settings. It is critical that they fit well and are worn correctly.
Clearly, you will need to earmark budget to cover the cost of sourcing this sort of protective equipment. Talk to your local DMO to find out whether funding is available locally to help with the cost of procuring masks and other PPE. For example, RTO7, covering the region north of Toronto, has a fund to reimburse up to $1,000 of the costs of purchasing PPE or adhering to social distancing or of increased cleaning.