Tourism Ministry limits staff, guests contact to curb Covid spread

New rules for re-opening of hotels and tourism industry

In Summary
  • The state will ensure random temperature checks of the hotel guests and eateries staff.
  • The protocols will ensure guests complete medical and travel declaration form online at the time of booking.
Domestic tourists from Nairobi during vacation at Jacaranda beach resort in Watamu./FILE
Domestic tourists from Nairobi during vacation at Jacaranda beach resort in Watamu./FILE

Leisure and travel facilities will hire designated health, safety and hygiene officers to ensure new government regulations against the Coronavirus are followed.

The new protocols by the Ministry of Tourism also dictate guests to drink from their rooms while staying in hotels.

There will also be random temperature checkup on the staff working in the tourism and travel facilities by state officials.

They will also ensure the staff is wearing PPEs in accordance with government Covid-19 preventive measures.

“The leisure and tourism facilities will promote digital communication or automation of processes to minimize touchpoints such as check-in, out, paperless transactions, e-menus, e-shopping and cloud technologies,” the protocols, dated June 2020, signed by CS Najib Balala read in part.

The new rules, to be reviewed regularly, are meant to protect lives, gain investor confidence and help in restructuring operations in the tourism sector.

Balala said that they are applicable to all tourism enterprises listed under the ninth schedule of the Tourism Act, 2011, which include accommodation and catering, eateries establishments and tours and travel operators.

It also covers tourist transportation services, adventure sports tourism, events and entertainment, meetings and convention, exhibition centres,amusement parks, tourism attraction sites and related enterprises.

The protocols will ensure guests complete medical and travel declaration form online at the time of booking.

“Health officers will be required to maintain records of sanitized areas, detergents used and personnel involved in cleaning and sanitation process,” Balala  said.

The management will ensure clear signage throughout the facilities to inform participants of the enhanced cleaning protocols, physical distancing and recommendations with notices put on walls, seats and tables in order to avoid contamination by touch.

“This will reduce physical contact between the staff and the guests. Mini-bar stock shall only be provided on request as room service,” the guidelines say.

“Where possible, Apps and other electronic information provision shall be improvised with extra care to protect the guest’s personal information.”

The facilities will also have to acquire new relevant licences and stickers signifying compliance with the provision of the protocols to be considered for reopening.

Tourism, Travel and hospitality operators shall provide information to guests, staff and suppliers, online, at all services, staff areas, walkways and lifts, where applicable.

“Ensure guests wear appropriate, quality personal protective equipment except when in their room(s) or when dining or when enjoying their privacy with physical distancing in the hotel garden or on the beach,” the report directs.

Visitors register shall be kept and updated daily and shall include mobile contact and physical address for ease in contact tracing.

Excess furniture and superfluous items shall be removed, while clients’ tables and chairs spaced apart or taped off to ensure proper distancing and spacing.

Staff members’ temperatures, including visiting staff or out-sourced workers shall be taken on arrival and appropriately recorded in case of any observed.

“Where shared rooms are used and shared between non-group/non-family members, a maximum number of occupants per room, at approximately 50 percent of capacity, must be determined with 4 – 5 m minimum spacing per bed.”

Pool use capacity shall be determined and monitored by lifeguards, in addition, inter-group plays or mingling shall not be permitted in pools.

All entities will institute and adopt a Food Safety Management System to prevent contamination to clients, staff and supply chain workers

“Develop internal guidelines for managing staff/guest interaction within the facility and surrounding environment in line with this protocol and general health guidelines by the Ministry of Health" the new rules stipulate.