Everything the tourism and hospitality industry needs to know about relaxed lockdown level 3

Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. Picture: KZN Tourism

Travel between provinces is still not permitted for recreational purposes.

After being unable to do so for three months, many South African hospitality and tourism outlets have reopened.

A ban limiting visits to restaurants, casinos and other hospitality and tourism venues was imposed by the South African government on March 26, 2020. This was one of many restrictions implemented in an attempt to limit the spread of Covid-19.

On 25 June, the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) issued South Africa’s latest (and substantially relaxed) lockdown regulations.

On 28 June, the department of tourism issued directives allowing previously banned activities to resume.

Caxton Local Media sets out what South Africans must know.

Which tourism sectors may now operate?

  • Restaurants, fast food outlets, and coffee shops;
  • Lodges, bed and breakfast, timeshare facilities, resorts and guest houses;
  • Self-drive excursions;
  • Conference and meeting venues; and
  • Casinos

Operations will be limited

The department of tourism has imposed strict limitations on these sectors which are explained in detail below. Sanitisation and social distancing requirements apply across the board. A set of rules has been made available for each of the sectors.

SECTOR: Restaurants, coffee shops and fast food outlets

Firstly, the basics we have come to associate with lockdown apply – sanitisation and social distancing will be required. Anyone who enters any of these outlets must be screened and may be refused entry if they do not wear a mask.

  • Meals may be ordered for delivery:

Daily records must be kept indicating to whom deliveries were made. It must also feature the personal information (such as name and address) of each person to whom delivery is made. Sanitisation must precede and follow payment.

  • Meals may be ordered for collection:

Collections may only be done in a demarcated area where people do not make physical contact. This area must be separate from the area where food is prepared. Sanitisation must precede and follow payment.

  • Sit-down meals:

Patrons must be screened.

“Screening” means: The person’s temperature is taken. Each person who arrives at your premises must be asked whether they have travelled to a high-risk country in the last 14 days and whether they were in contact with someone who was diagnosed with or has the symptoms of, Covid-19. If screening indicates that there is a risk of Covid-19 infection, the person should be refused access to the premises. Appropriate steps may be taken to have that person examined for isolation or quarantine.

Those who have enquiries regarding this process should contact the Department of Health. Click here for more on screening, isolation and quarantine.

Once a person has been screened, his or her personal information must be recorded.

The patron, employee, delivery agent or attendee must then undergo sanitisation.

Inside the premises, social distancing must be maintained. Where customers queue, lines of at least one and a half metres must be demarcated. Only 50% of the venue’s capacity may be filled, subject to a maximum of 50 persons per venue at any given time.

Menus must be sanitised after each guest has used it. Face masks must be worn at all times, with the exception of eating and drinking.

Buffet-style meals where patrons dish up for themselves remain prohibited.

  • Other dos and don’ts:

Although traditional buffet meals are prohibited, services similar to buffet-style services may be handled by food service employees only from behind Perspex or similar protective shields.

Food may be plated and/or provided in covered single portions. Guests may also pick up pre-portioned meals.

Menus must be reduced in complexity. The directives list a number of examples: “Reduced buffet options, table d’hôtel meals, offering deli-type, takeaway or grab-and-go-style meals and options, with disposable containers, crockery, cups and cutlery, should be instituted where possible.”

Table cloths must be removed where possible and tables must be sanitised before and after use by each guest.

Only essential items such as salt and pepper should remain on tables and must be sanitised before and after use.

Waiting staff are encouraged to stand at least a metre from tables they are serving, and items on waiting stations must be minimised.

The directions also require that clearing and cleaning systems be implemented where designated containers are used for different items. Sealable containers for food waste must be used.

Where possible, room service must be encouraged to limit contact in restaurants.

SECTOR: Lodges, bed and breakfast, timeshare facilities, resorts and guest houses

Daily records must be kept of each employee, delivery agent or attendee who shows up at these premises. Each person must be screened and the results recorded along with his or her personal information.

When guests arrive, their luggage must be disinfected, and their hands sanitised.

Businesses where more than 50 persons are dealt with daily must set up screening stations at all entrances where daily screening and sanitisation will be done. Guests must wear masks at all times, except when eating, drinking or when in their rooms.

  • Bedrooms:

Dormitory style bedrooms may host a maximum number of occupants per room equal to 50% of its capacity. A minimum of four to five square metres spacing must be available per bed. Room cleaning and linen changes must be done frequently. In order to minimise Covid-19 contamination risks, some luxuries have been done away with.

This includes turndown services and the provision of more soft pillows, throws and blankets than are absolutely necessary per person. Items such as sewing kits, vanity kits, shoe-cleaning kits, irons and magazines will be made available to guests upon request only. However, sanitisers must be made available in all rooms.

Cups, spoons, glasses and similar items must be replaced with disposable versions.

Hotel guides that are usually given to subsequent customers must be replaced with electronic or disposable versions.

  • Cleaning:

Employees must wear personal protective gear when cleaning and may wear disposable aprons. They must sanitise before and after cleaning each unit. More details on the training of employees appear below.

Once a guest checks out, all door handles, surfaces (including phones, televisions and controls, radios, kettles, curtain pulls, curtain edges, minibars, amenity containers, bottles and furniture), other items and surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised.

Room keys or access cards must be sanitised after every check-out and before every check-in. Rooms are deep cleaned after guests have departed.

Regarding the removal of dirty linen and towels, the directives require that it be placed into plastic bags or washable cloth bags which can be closed for transporting it to a laundry or for cleaning services.

The contents of housekeeping trolleys must be reduced as much as possible and remaining contents must be wiped regularly and deep cleaned at the end of each day.

All cleaning equipment must be dipped in sanitising solution after each room has been cleaned. It must be sanitised for 30 minutes at the end of each shift.

  • A reminder:

Lastly, the directives remind hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, timeshare facilities, resorts and guest houses to stay on top of, and adhere to, any requirements from the departments of health and public works.

SECTOR: Conference and meeting venues:

A conference or meeting venue may not host more than 50 people at a time. Social distancing requirements dictate that there must be a distance of no less than 1.5 metres between any two persons.

Daily records must be kept of each employee, delivery agent or attendee who shows up at these premises. Each person must be screened and the results recorded along with his or her personal information.

Any person who arrives must undergo sanitisation and is assigned one seat. Masks must be worn but may be removed when someone is eating or drinking.

Regular sanitisation is required. While individual water, mints and condiments may be provided to each attendee, no containers or bowls for use by multiple persons may be used.

When microphones and podiums are used, these must be sanitised after use.

SECTOR: Casinos

Casinos and all machines or surfaces inside it must be regularly sanitised.

A distance of 1.5 metres must be kept between any two persons at any given time. The number of persons present in a casino may not exceed 50 per cent of the casino’s capacity, calculated based on the available floor space.

Each customer, employee, delivery agent or other person entering the casino must be screened. This is recorded along with their personal details. Nobody may be allowed inside a casino without having been sanitised and wearing a mask or item that covers the nose and mouth. Masks may only be removed to eat or drink.

SECTOR: Self-drive excursions in game reserves

Those who want to visit national parks for self-drive excursions should contact the relevant park and determine what its lockdown regulations entail. Click here for SANParks contact details.

According to the latest directives: “Entry onto the premises of a tourist attraction must only be allowed for self-drive excursion; and for private vehicles that comply with the directions issued by the Minister of Transport in respect of private vehicles.”

Private vehicles may not be occupied to more than 60 per cent of its capacity.

Travel between provinces will not be permitted for recreational purposes.

Training of employees:

In addition to the above, service providers in the tourism and hospitality industry must ensure that employees are adequately trained on all things Covid-19.

This includes training on the procedures related to the use, reuse and wearing of masks; the utilisation of personal protective equipment; keeping physical distance; basic hygiene practises including the washing of hands; cleaning and disinfecting of equipment and surfaces; contactless operations; package handling; and handling of orders and delivery to customers.

Lastly, the directives state: “Employers must inform employees, delivery persons on the responsibility to advise the employer if they are tested positive for Covid-19 or have been in contact with someone who is Covid-19 positive.”

This article first appeared on Lowvelder and has been republished with permission.

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