As part of the fifth phase of Mission Begin Again initiated by Maharashtra's Chief Minister Udhhav Thackeray to bring back the financial capital back on its feet after an extensive lockdown, hotels and other accommodation providing services such as lodges and guest houses can now reopen with 33 per cent capacity, effective from July 8, 2020. However, this move comes with a strict set of rules and regulations for hotels and is applicable for hotels outside containment zones, specially for hotels in Mumbai and Pune.
As per the latest report by HVS, a global consulting firm focused on the hospitality industry, the overall revenue of the Indian hotel sector in 2020 is set to decline by anywhere between USD 8.85 billion to USD 10 billion, reflecting an erosion of 39% to 45% compared to last year. Apart from the loss in business, hotels are also incurring losses due to fixed operating expenses, debt repayments, interest payments and many other costs. To this Stephanie Dsilva, Director of Marketing, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai adds, "Average room rates and revenue per available room are already impacted due to the lockdown. With the domestic and international travel market opening up late and travelers reluctant to restart their travel, we will be seeing a gradual recovery."
Thackeray addressed the hotel representatives over a video conference and assured them that as long as hotels adhere to strict COVID-19 precautionary SOPs, hotels can operate. He emphasized that the main focus has to be health and safety measures and that hotels must adhere to all guidelines of social distancing and hygiene, along with reviving business.
SOPs for hotels in Mumbai and Pune for reopening:
- Information about preventive and safety measures for COVID-19 to be displayed publicly and prominently.
- Crowd management in public areas of the hotel, as well as parking lots needs to be ensured.
- Thermal screening of everyone entering the hotel along with protective glass around reception and concierge desk. Hand sanitizers with pedal-operated dispensers must be made available in all public spaces.
- Personal protection gears like face covers/masks, gloves and etc., will be made available by hotel to the staff as well as guests.
- Contact-less transactions via QR code, online forms, digital payments like e-wallet, etc., has to be made available.
- Number of guests in the elevators are to be restricted.
- Temperature setting of all air conditioning devices in the hotel need to be in the range of 24-30⁰C while the relative humidity needs to be within 40-70%
- In-house restaurants, with reconfigured seating, can only be accessed by resident guests.
- Swimming pools, gyms, play areas will remain closed.
Guidelines for guests:
- Only asymptomatic guests will be allowed.
- Guests will have to wear face masks at all time within the public areas of the hotel.
- Guests need to carry their medical and travel history documents.
- They will also need to install the Arogya Setu app and
- Share a self-declaration during check-in.
Hotels in Mumbai such as Four Seasons Mumbai see this phase as "a positive phase where we look forward to welcoming our guests with care, confidence, trust and comfort within the new COVID-19 environment," explains Dsilva. "Health and safety is our first priority and this will be a key component of our elaborate business revival framework in play," she further adds.
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