Date published: 01 July 2020
What to do if you have a guest who is taken ill with suspected Coronavirus? Here is a quick update from Visit Lincoln answering the common questions and queries regarding your preparations to reopen your accommodation business.
The two most common concerns that seem to have arisen are:
What to do if you have a guest who is taken ill with suspected Coronavirus?
As an accommodation provider it is your duty to ensure the risk to staff and other guests is minimised as quickly as possible. Common sense would suggest a deep clean of all areas, especially those which have high traffic such as door handles and lifts etc. However it is your right to refuse to accept any guests who are displaying symptoms which are Covid related. When guests arrive please ask them to fill in a form to declare that they are fit and well and displaying no symptoms. You also have the right to inform them that if they do fall ill they will be asked to vacate the premises immediately provided they are deemed fit to travel. If they are unable to travel and therefore need to self-isolate at your premises, they will be charged a daily rate.
As an accommodation provider how do you protect yourself for loss of income if a guest has to potentially self-isolate within your premises, if they are simply too sick to travel? If indeed they are too sick then the first point of call should be to ascertain if they need to go to hospital.
If the decision is made that they need to self-isolate within your property then you do have a right to charge a daily rate. This is obviously a sensitive issue, so our advice would be as follows. Visit Lincoln recommends having this conversation preferably at the point of booking, or failing that at check in. Remember it is your duty to inform all guests and staff that a guest is displaying symptoms and implement the 'track and trace' procedure.
The Government has issued the following advice for people staying in accommodation that have symptoms of COVID-19:
'If a guest is displaying signs of the COVID-19 virus while staying in overnight accommodation for a permitted reason, they should inform the accommodation provider, immediately self-isolate where they are to minimise any risk of transmission, and request a test. If they are confirmed to have COVID-19, they should return home if they reasonably can. They should use private transport but only drive themselves if they can do so safely. If a guest cannot reasonably return home (for example because they are not well enough to travel or do not have the means to arrange transport), their circumstances should be discussed with an appropriate health care professional and, if necessary, the local authority.
Guests should follow government guidance on dealing with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. Once the guest (and if appropriate their family) has finished the required self-isolation period and is no longer symptomatic, they should return to their main residence and continue to follow the government guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing.'
We have also received a lot of enquires from businesses who were looking forward to welcoming guests from Leicester. The official Government advice is that no-one should be travelling in or out of Leicester for non-essential journeys, and therefore it would not be acceptable to accept these bookings, from this date (30th June), for the next two weeks.
We advise you to speak to the guest to see if you are able to re-book, or offer a refund or voucher. This 'local lockdown' is a brand new challenge, but one we are likely to face again in the future, so we will be working with the relevant organisations to offer advice and best practice.
Please remember to remove all 'non-essential' items such as books, toys, games etc. We appreciate this is disappointing as these home comforts are often what makes your business stand out and so welcoming. However during this time they represent more risk so do need to be removed.
We hope this has helped clarify the situation a little more clearly for you. What is apparent is there is often no 'one answer' to each question. Common sense therefore needs to prevail as does caution and responsibility from businesses and guests alike.
For more visitor economy related guidance and updates visit www.visitlincoln.com/coronavirus or www.visitbritain.org/business-advice.