Adjustments to the travel experience – Covid Protocols
During the last week, I’ve continued to have my virtual meetings with folks in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and I will say it does my soul good to get to talk travel with people and share potential ideas for future trips.
Of course, one of the topics is how travel is being handled with the Covid-19 situation. All destinations are dealing what this, but Ireland has a particularly well-defined plan, so I thought I would share some of the ways that they are adapting so that you would know what to expect for future travel in this current situation.
Covid-19 Protocols in Travel
Failte Ireland is the tourism board of the government of Ireland, which works closely with tour companies around the world to promote Ireland. They have established an in-depth set of protocols to help businesses safely bring back people.
I’ve been quite impressed with their program because it utilizes the expertise of the public health officials in government and lays out a concrete plan for each type of tourism sector so that there are no questions about what is needed and what the right protocols are. I’m going to be describing the specifics of what Ireland is doing, but I can tell you that most destinations, resorts, and ships are all earnestly pursuing safety measures so that folks can feel comfortable traveling as we start to open up the world again.
Covid-19 Safety Charter
To be eligible to sign up to the Ireland COVID-19 Safety Charter, the business must agree to adhere to the official guidelines for re-opening relevant to their sector. Every employee in a business is required to have completed appropriate COVID-19 hygiene and safety control training.
There are eleven different sectors with specific guidelines, such as hotels, B&B’s, restaurants, tourism transport, spa, and pubs. These sector-specific guidelines offer detailed advice on the systems that should be implemented to help instill public confidence and reboot business while adhering to public health advice and government protocols.
The guidelines provide comprehensive advice on re-opening for business owners, with an emphasis placed on the safety and wellbeing of customers, employees, and employers.
Covid-19 Guidelines in Action
All of the Irish travel trade folks that have I talked with, whether in hotels, attractions, restaurants, venues, or transport, have made significant modifications to their occupancy numbers to enforce social distancing and improved safety.
I have reviewed all of the sector guidelines, and they provide an extreme level of detail to help each business understand the health and safety issues and to ensure they follow the protocols.
There are sections defining the employee requirements for hygiene, personal protective equipment, and training. There are definitions for physical distancing regarding how to set up the queueing (standing in line), front desk and restaurant areas, and buffets. Cleaning products and protocols are prescribed for public spaces and guest accommodations, along with specifics for laundry facilities and equipment shared by employees.
Each aspect of the guest’s visit to any type of establishment has been planned for, from the arrival by taxi or car, parking, elevators, payments, and amenities. There are instructions for handling weddings, golf, pool, spa, and recreational areas.
I won’t bore you with more details of these 25-35 page documents, but the Covid-19 Safety Charter provides a high degree of focus on guest safety that is rock solid and comprehensive.
As regulations continue to evolve regarding international travel and when it’s time to travel, I believe guests can feel confident in the attention devoted to ensure their safety and health. If you have questions about specific destinations or resorts, I’d be glad to assist with the details on how each is managing this situation.