Hotels to revise SOPs to ensure safety of guests, staff

With the impending lifting of COVID-19 curbs in a phased manner, premium and other hotels are gearing up to revise their standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure the safety of guests and staff.

At a webinar on Saturday, representatives of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) suggested a slew of measures to get the hospitality industry, which is reeling under the impact of cancellation of bookings and Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), back on track.

The proposals include restrictions on buffet service, encouraging usage of pre-portion (pre-packed) food, and having only trained associates serve food from displayed buffet, as per FSSAI instructions, if needed.

The other measures that will be considered include all employees becoming housekeepers as well, ensuring clinically clean premises and food, sanitising guest luggage, curbs on reuse of materials (like in mini bar) kept in hotel rooms, reliance on sanitised, water-proof mattress and pillow protector which have to be cleaned in warm water, division of kitchen into three areas to ensure social distancing, usage of chlorine to sanitise both vegetarian and non-vegetarian items, and earmarking of an isolation room for every 50 rooms.

Stakeholders were also keen on FHRAI and FSSAI conducting conducting hygiene audit.

“Hotel groups have to brace for increasing competition since caterers and a whole lot of others have freshly ventured into home delivery of food. Even in the absence of buffet, guests can order a la carte dishes,” said Tejus Jose, general manager, Le Meridien, Kochi.

“And those displaying buffet can set up a sneeze-guard glass pane along the counter to prevent contamination of food. Cooked food kept at a steady temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Celsius is safe to eat. Being a premium brand of Marriot International, we are awaiting feedback from our corporate office on the new list of SOPs that have to be adopted as part of COVID-19 precautions,” he added.

A spokesperson of another hotel chain said room delivery of food would be encouraged to ensure social distancing and gain the confidence of guests. Moreover, guests will be dissuaded from frequenting common spaces.

Several hotel chains have global advisory boards, which are expected to provide SOPs to ensure safe functioning post-COVID-19.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 7:16:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/hotels-to-revise-sops-to-ensure-safety-of-guests-staff/article31448754.ece

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