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UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

12/07/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/07/2021 13:29

Hotels and guest accommodation

In this section:

Cleaning

Keeping your workplace clean will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Surfaces and objects can be contaminated with COVID-19 when people who are infected touch them or cough or sneeze near them.

Think about how you can reduce this risk by cleaning your workplace regularly, and paying particular attention to surfaces or objects that people touch frequently.

What you can do

Review your cleaning schedule.

  • Make sure you are regularly cleaning all areas of your facility with your usual cleaning products.
  • Make a checklist of priority areas (such as bathrooms, door handles and surfaces) to be cleaned when guests vacate.

Clean some areas more frequently. You should consider:

  • Surfaces that people touch regularly, like door handles, lift buttons and handrails.
  • Keys and other shared objects - clean them when they are returned, before they are given to another guest.
  • Places that are used frequently, like reception areas.
  • Areas used by multiple groups of guests, like lounges,common areas and shared recreation rooms.
  • Toilet and bathroom facilities. Set clear guidance for staff and customers on using and cleaning bathroom facilities. Make sure that surfaces like taps, hand-dryers and door handles are regularly cleaned. Put up a cleaning schedule that staff and guests can see, and keep it updated. Make sure that higher-risk facilities like portable toilets, large toilet blocks and shared guest bathrooms are thoroughly cleaned.

Take extra care if you are hosting large events or conferences. Think about whether you should:

  • Clean the venue thoroughly, before and after the event.
  • Clean surfaces touched regularly (such as door handles and handrails) during the event, particularly if you expect a large number of guests.
  • Where possible, organise your event so that audience areas (such as meeting rooms and seating in auditoriums) are cleaned between use by different customers.
  • Reduce the need for crowding in or around toilet facilities. If there are crowded areas, you could try implementing one-way systems
  • Provide additional waste facilities, including closed bins, and ensure rubbish is collected frequently.
  • Review the advice in the events and attractions guidance and consider whether there are further measures you can take to reduce risk.

If you are cleaning after a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, follow the guidance on cleaning and decontamination. You may need to provide cleaners and housekeeping staff with personal protective equipment (such as a face mask or visor) to protect their eyes, mouth and nose, when cleaning areas where there is a greater risk of exposure to the virus (for example, in a hotel room where someone unwell has spent the night).

Hygiene

One of the most effective ways for people to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading is washing their hands regularly. Think about how you can promote good hygiene in your workplace, and make sure your messages reach people who have difficulty with their sight or hearing.

What you can do

Provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitiser for staff and customers. This could mean that you:

  • Provide hand sanitiser near shared facilities, equipment and objects, like reception desks and touch-screen booking terminals. Hand sanitiser stations can be helpful in busy areas like entrance foyers, doorways, lifts and bathroom facilities.
  • Consider the needs of people with disabilities. Make sure that hand sanitiser stations can be reached by people in wheelchairs and don't block access or fire exits.
  • Check handwashing and hand sanitiser facilities regularly and make sure they are cleaned and refilled.

Use signs and posters to promote good hygiene, making people aware:

  • How to wash their hands effectively.
  • That they should wash their hands frequently.
  • That they should avoid touching their faces or face coverings.
  • That they should cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into their arm if a tissue is not available.

Provide additional guidance for staff on hygiene and safety. This could mean that you:

  • Provide regular reminders to staff (for example, in break rooms and bathrooms) to wash or sanitise their hands, particularly after contact with guests.
  • Make sure cleaners and housekeeping staff have time and facilities to wash their hands after cleaning rooms and items that guests have touched.
  • This is particularly important after cases of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 - see the section on cleaning after a case of COVID-19 for more information.

Ventilation

Ventilation plays an important role in reducing the risk of aerosol (airborne) transmission of COVID-19. Use your risk assessment to think about:

  • How to make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air in your workplace. This is particularly important for indoor spaces where there are people present. Read about improving ventilation.
  • Finding out if there are areas of your workplace which don't have enough ventilation, and how you can improve fresh air flow in these areas. Read about poorly ventilated spaces.

Improving ventilation

Good ventilation brings fresh air into indoor spaces. The more fresh air that is brought inside, the more it will dilute any virus particles in the air. In spaces which don't have enough ventilation, virus particles can remain in the air after an infected person has left and increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Watch a video from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which explains how ventilation reduces the risk of transmission.

Make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air in your workplace. This can be natural ventilation (opening windows, doors and vents), mechanical ventilation (fans and ducts), or a combination of both. It's particularly important to keep toilets and showers well-ventilated, as these can be areas of higher risk.

How to improve natural ventilation

  • Open doors, windows and air vents where possible.
  • Opening doors and windows even for a brief period can help to refresh the air and reduce COVID-19 particles. Opening the windows and doors fully will let the most fresh air into the space.
  • Encourage people to use outside space where it's practical, especially for higher-risk activities such as exercise, or when people are singing or raising their voices.

How to improve mechanical ventilation

  • Make sure that your systems are set to maximise fresh air and minimise air recirculation.
  • It's not advised to recirculate air from one space to another. Systems which recirculate air from one space to another are likely to increase the risk of transmission.
  • Recirculation units that do not bring in fresh air can remain in operation as long as there is an alternative supply of fresh air.

Ventilation and workplace temperature

Providing adequate ventilation does not mean people have to work in an uncomfortably cold workplace.

There are steps you can take to make sure your workplace is adequately ventilated without being too cold, such as partially opening windows and doors and opening higher-level windows.

Read HSE advice on balancing ventilation with keeping warm.

Identify and manage poorly ventilated spaces

It's important to find out if there are poorly ventilated areas of your workplace that are usually occupied by people (workers or customers), so you can increase the flow of fresh air.

How to identify poorly ventilated spaces

  • Look for areas where people are usually present for an extended period of time, and where there is no mechanical ventilation and no natural ventilation (such as open windows, vents or doors).
  • Use a carbon dioxide (CO2) monitor to measure the level of ventilation (see below for more information). In an area or room people are using, an average CO2 concentration of above 1500ppm indicates that it is poorly ventilated.
  • You should take action to improve ventilation where CO2 readings are consistently higher than 1500ppm.

Consider factors which may increase the risk

  • In a poorly ventilated space, the risk of COVID-19 transmission will increase where there are more virus particles being released into the air.
  • When identifying poorly ventilated spaces, you should pay particular attention to areas of high occupancy (which are used by a larger number of people) and which are used for extended periods of time, as these factors will increase the risk of transmission.
  • You should also consider how the space is used. Some activities can increase the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19. This happens where people are doing activities which generate more particles as they breathe heavily, such as singing, dancing, exercising or raising their voices.
  • Where there is continuous talking or singing, or high levels of physical activity (such as dancing, playing sport or exercise), providing ventilation sufficient to keep CO2 levels below 800ppm is recommended.

What you can do

If your risk assessment shows that there are poorly ventilated areas in your workplace, it's important that you improve the ventilation to reduce the risk of COVID-19 being spread in these areas.

Follow the steps above to improve ventilation (internal link) by opening doors, windows and vents, if possible, and by ensuring that any mechanical ventilation system is set to maximise fresh air and minimise air recirculation.

If these options are not available or do not provide sufficient ventilation (for example, if CO2 readings remain above recommended levels, or the room continues to feel stuffy), you can think about other ways to reduce the risk in these spaces.

Think about changing the way these spaces are used. For example, you could:

  • Restrict the number of people who can use the space at the same time.
  • Restrict the length of time people spend in the space.
  • Move activities which involve exercising, dancing or raising voices (singing, shouting or talking loudly) to an area with better ventilation.

Think about ways to increase mechanical ventilation.

  • Ask a ventilation engineer to check the performance of your mechanical ventilation system, especially if it hasn't been serviced recently.
  • Install a mechanical ventilation system, if you don't have mechanical ventilation or if the existing system does not provide fresh air.
  • Install an air cleaning or filtration unit. Air cleaning or filtration is not a substitute for good ventilation. But where poor ventilation cannot be improved in other ways, a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or ultraviolet air purifier could help to reduce the number of COVID-19 particles in the air. Read HSE's advice on air cleaning and filtration devices.

Using carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors to identify poorly ventilated spaces

Using Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitors
People exhale carbon dioxide (CO2) when they breathe out. If there is a build-up of CO2 in an area it can indicate that ventilation needs improving.

Although CO2 levels are not a direct measure of possible exposure to COVID-19, checking levels using a monitor can help you identify poorly ventilated areas. Read HSE advice on how to use a CO2 monitor.

How the measurements can help you take action
CO2 measurements should be used as a broad guide to ventilation rather than treating them as safe thresholds.

Outdoor levels are around 400ppm (parts per million of carbon dioxide). Indoors, a consistent CO2 value less than 800ppm is likely to indicate that a space is well-ventilated.

A CO2 concentration of above 1500ppm when a room is occupied is an indicator of poor ventilation. You should take action to improve ventilation where CO2 readings are consistently higher than 1500ppm.

Where there is continuous talking or singing, or high levels of physical activity (such as dancing, playing sport or exercising), providing ventilation sufficient to keep CO2 levels below 800ppm is recommended.

Where CO2 monitors can help
CO2 monitors can be used to check ventilation in a wide range of settings.

In large areas such as concert halls or event spaces, multiple sensors may be required to provide meaningful information.

There are some spaces where CO2 monitors are less likely to provide useful readings. These are:

  • Areas occupied by people for short periods or for varying amounts of time. For example, a railway station or an atrium.
  • Areas where air cleaning units are in use. Filtration can remove contaminants (such as COVID-19) from the air but will not remove CO2.
  • Spaces like changing rooms, toilets or small meeting rooms.
  • Spaces used by low numbers of people.
  • Areas where CO2 is produced as part of a work process.

Read HSE advice on the suitability of CO2 monitoring in different types of space. Where CO2 monitors cannot be used, you should still identify poorly ventilated spaces and provide adequate ventilation.

Face coverings

COVID-19 is transmitted when an infected person breathes out droplets and aerosols. They can spread through the air and onto surfaces (and people's hands and belongings) to infect others. Face coverings can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the spread of droplets and aerosols. People should wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet. Where worn correctly, this can reduce the risk of transmission.

Face coverings are legally required in indoor areas of some types of business in England, including shops, personal care services, and transport services open to the public. If this applies to your business, it is illegal to prevent people (including staff) from wearing a face covering in the areas where it is required. You must put up signs or take other steps to let people know that they need to wear face coverings in these areas, unless they are exempt from wearing face coverings (for example because they have a disability or are under the age of 11), or when they have a reasonable excuse to remove their face covering.

If this does not apply to your business (or areas of your venue), you can choose to ask employees and customers to wear face coverings, unless they are unable to wear one for a reason like their age, health or a disability. If you want to do this, you need to make sure you comply with equality law, employment law, and health and safety legislation.

Read the face coverings guidance for more information.

Face covering requirements for hotels and guest accommodation facilities

If your hotel or guest accommodation facility contains a venue or area where face coverings are legally required (such as a shop), staff and customers must wear face coverings in indoor public areas. This only applies in that area, and does not apply to the rest of your facility. You must make sure people know about this requirement, for example by putting up signs in these areas. See "what you should do" below for more information.

Face coverings must be worn in the following indoor areas:

  • Shops and supermarkets, including retail galleries and travel agents. See the guidance for shops and retail for more information.
    • This does not apply to other types of businesses such as gyms and sport facilities, or recreation and entertainment facilities such as cinemas.
    • This includes shops and communal areas within shopping centres, but not other types of business within a shopping centre (such as a cafe, cinema or gym).
  • Facilities providing personal care and beauty treatments (such as hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours). See the guidance for close contact services for more information.
    • This does not include facilities which mostly or only provide medical or injury treatment, such as massage provided as part of physiotherapy.
  • Face coverings are also required in other types of business which you may have on your site, such as post offices and pharmacies. Read the face coverings guidance for more information.
  • Face coverings are not required in any hospitality facilities (such as cafes or bars) within these venues, or areas which are mainly being used for eating or drinking.

Transport services

Face coverings are required in indoor areas of transport hubs. Face coverings are also required in indoor areas of public transport services. This means any transport service going from one place to another which is available to the general public, regardless of whether it is operated as a public transport (e.g. commuter) service or a leisure service for tourism or other purposes.

  • Face coverings are required in indoor areas of transport hubs (including airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals). This includes indoor areas of other types of business which are used as part of a transport hub (which may include hotels and guest accommodation facilities), except hospitality venues (such as cafes and pubs).

  • If your hotel or guest accommodation facility is on a leisure transport service, such as a boat, customers and staff must wear face coverings in indoor public areas.

    • In a transport service with accommodation, people can remove their face coverings when they are in their own accommodation (such as a private cabin or berth).
    • Face coverings are not required in outdoor areas of these services (such as the deck of a boat), or hospitality facilities (such as a cafe, bar or restaurant) within these services. People can remove their face coverings when they are eating, drinking, taking medication or exercising (in any area).
    • If areas on this service are mainly being used for eating, drinking or dancing (such as a party or wedding reception on a boat), face coverings do not have to be worn in these areas.
    • See the events and attractions guidance for more information on leisure transport.

Face coverings are not required on some types of transport service, such as school transport and cruise ships.

More information and guidance

Face coverings are also required in other types of business, such as banks and estate agents. See the face covering guidance for more information.

What you should do

If your facility includes shops or personal care facilities (or other areas where face coverings are legally required):

- It is a legal requirement for staff and customers to wear face coverings in areas open to the public (unless they are exempt).
- You must make sure people are aware that they are required to wear face coverings in these areas (unless they are exempt), for example by displaying signs or taking other measures. Download and print a poster to display.
- You must not prevent staff or customers from wearing face coverings.

This is the law, and you can be fined if you break it.

Check whether face coverings are required in areas of your facility.

  • See the information above on face covering requirements for hotels and guest accommodation or the face covering guidance for more information.
  • Make sure you and your staff are familiar with the rules on face coverings and where they should be worn by staff and customers.
  • You should also think about whether you want staff and guests to wear face coverings in other areas, or just the areas where they are legally required. See the box below for advice on asking people to wear face coverings where they are not legally required.
  • Remember that people may also choose to wear a face covering even if it is not legally required. You should support your staff if they choose to wear face coverings, and ensure they are aware of the guidance on using face coverings safely.

In areas where face coverings are required:

  • You must not ask guests or workers to remove a face covering in an area where it is legally required. It is illegal for you to do this.
  • Guests and other customers must wear a face covering in areas where face coverings are required, such as shops and personal care services (including hair salons, barbers, nail salons, spas and massage centres).
  • Staff and other workers must wear face coverings when they are working in any indoor area that is open to the public and where they are likely to come into contact with a member of the public.
    • If there is a barrier, such as a screen, between workers and members of the public, staff behind the barrier or screen are not required to wear a face covering.
    • Staff are not required to wear face coverings when they are in areas that aren't open to the public (such as a back office) or are unlikely to come into contact with the public (such as maintenance staff working in cordoned-off areas).
    • Staff are not required to wear face coverings when they are in hospitality facilities (such as restaurants and bars), and other areas which are mainly being used for eating or drinking (such as a room or area hired for a drinks reception).
  • If staff are required to wear face coverings in the workplace, you could choose to provide these for staff (for example, so they match staff uniforms). However your staff can wear their own face coverings if they choose to.
  • A face visor or shield may be worn in addition to a face covering but not instead of one. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth, and do not filter airborne particles.
  • If any of your staff work in close contact with guests (such as medical personnel, massage therapists, security staff, hair and makeup technicians and beauticians), or work in contaminated areas (such as cleaners and housekeeping staff) you should also think about whether they need additional protection or personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. See the section on additional protection and PPE for more information.
  • People can take off their face covering when they have a good reason to remove it (a 'reasonable excuse'). For example, people can take off their face covering when they are eating or drinking in any area. They must put their face covering back on when this reason no longer applies (when they have stopped eating or drinking).
    • Face coverings should not be worn when people are exercising or taking part in strenuous activity, unless this is advised by a medical practitioner.

Remind your staff and customers to wear a face covering in indoor spaces where they are legally required.

  • You are legally required to make sure people are aware that they must wear face coverings in certain areas (unless they are exempt), by displaying signs in your facility which can be easily seen by people using the facility, or taking other steps to make sure all customers and staff are aware of the rules. Download and print a poster you can put up in your business.
    • If face coverings are required in some areas, putting notices in or near these areas will help to remind your customers of this.
    • If the area where face coverings are required on your site is a separate business, it is that business's responsibility to put up signs or let their customers know about the requirement. You should discuss this with them as it may be helpful to put signs up in an area of your business so that your guests are aware of this before they enter the area where face coverings are required.
  • You could also let customers know in advance (for example, through your advertising and when booking) if there are areas where face coverings should be worn, or ask staff to remind customers.
  • You may also want to tell guests that they should remove face coverings if they are asked to by police, or staff who need to check their identity.
  • If a guest or customer refuses to wear a face covering where it is a legal requirement:
    • There is no requirement on staff to ensure compliance from customers. However, your workers can ask the customer (or their guardian, if it is a child aged 11 or over) to put their face covering on.
    • If a customer refuses to wear a face covering properly, you can ask them to leave your venue, though you are not required to take any action.
  • The police, police community support officers, and local authority enforcement officers can take further action if people do not comply with the law.

Remember that some people cannot wear face coverings or aren't required to.

  • This includes:
    • children under 11
    • people who can't wear face coverings because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability, or because it would cause them severe distress.
    • people who are assisting someone who needs to lip read (or needs clear sound and facial expressions to communicate)
  • The reasons for this may not be visible to others. Make sure that staff are mindful and respectful of people's circumstances, if customers cannot wear a face covering.
  • Think about how you can help staff and customers to communicate effectively. For example, let staff know that they can remove face coverings if they need to communicate with a customer who lip-reads, or arrange for training on other ways to communicate. Transparent face coverings may also be helpful for people who communicate through lip-reading or facial expressions.

If face coverings are not required in any part of your facility:

Encourage people to wear face coverings (using signs and other communications), in indoor areas where people may come into contact with people they do not normally meet.

You can also ask staff or customer to wear face coverings in areas where it is not legally required, as your own facility's policy:

  • If you want staff and customers to wear face coverings in places where it is not legally required, make sure you comply with equality law, and health and safety legislation. Think about the reasonable adjustments that would be needed for workers and customers with disabilities.
  • If you're asking staff to wear them, you should also check that this complies with employment law and your staff's contracts.
    • If staff tell you they are unable to wear a face covering, you should be respectful of their circumstances. You can make reasonable enquiries and request medical evidence from them (with their permission) if this is appropriate. However this is private health data which needs to be stored securely, and should only be requested where it is necessary, and only shared with the employee's permission.

Your workers may choose to wear a face covering in the workplace.

  • Workers may also choose to wear a face covering in the workplace even if you do not ask or encourage them to wear one.
  • You should support your staff if they choose to wear face coverings, and ensure they are aware of the guidance on using face coverings safely.

Additional protection and personal protective equipment (PPE)

In some types of work, the risk of COVID-19 transmission is higher. Wearing face coverings may not provide enough protection to keep people safe, for example if they have to be in close contact with members of the public for their work.

It may be necessary to provide some workers with different types of protective equipment, because the risk of COVID-19 spreading is higher when people are in close contact with others or have to be in a contaminated area.

This could include things like specific types of face covering (such as a Type II face mask), which is a medical face mask. However this is not the same as PPE, which is specific types of equipment needed to protect people who work in higher-risk settings. PPE is mainly used in healthcare and social care, and is not usually required for workers in most other types of business. It should only be used where the risk is high, and not as a general precaution.

Consider whether some workers need additional protection.

  • Use your risk assessment to think about whether some staff need to take additional precautions. This will not apply to most staff, but may be needed for some people if there is a higher risk of infection in the work they do.
  • Staff who work in close contact with their customers (such as security staff, beauty therapists, hairdressers and massage therapists) may need or want to wear equipment that provides more protection, because the risk of COVID-19 spreading is higher when people are in close contact with others.
    • Personal care practitioners (such as beauticians or hairdressers) who conduct treatments which require them to be in close proximity with a person's face, mouth or nose, should wear a Type II face mask where possible. This is a medical face mask which provides more protection against large particles reaching the client or working surfaces.
    • Equipment such as a face visor or shield can provide additional protection, and may be worn in addition to a face covering. However, face visors and shields cannot be worn instead of a face covering. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth, and do not filter airborne particles.
    • You can find more advice in the guidance for close contact services.

Take additional care when cleaning after a confirmed case of COVID-19.

  • If any of your staff work in potentially contaminated areas (such as cleaners and housekeeping staff) you should also think about whether they need personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • It is not necessary to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) or clothing for general cleaning. However, if staff are cleaning after someone who has (or may have) COVID-19 has been to your facility, they will need additional protection because the risk is higher in a contaminated area.
    • You should provide aprons and disposable gloves for people who are cleaning after a case (or possible case) of COVID-19.
  • This is particularly important if they have to clean a room after someone with COVID-19 has stayed there, as the level of virus particles in the room could be very high. You may need to provide cleaners with personal protective equipment (such as a protective face mask or visor) to protect their eyes, mouth and nose in these areas. See the section on cleaning and the guidance on cleaning after a case of COVID-19 for more information.
  • If your risk assessment shows that PPE is required for some workers, you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Make sure that the PPE you provide fits properly, or it will not be as effective in reducing risk to your workers.