Eliminating shared use brochures, washing service clothes at a minimum of 60 degrees or putting wastebaskets without manual opening are some of the Government’s recommendations to rural accommodation to face this new normality derived from COVID-19, in which they seek to recover the clients.
These suggestions have come through a guide released by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism a few days ago, a document that contains measures regarding staff, customers and the establishment itself, and which constitute a first step in adaptation of the accommodations so that they are able to receive travelers with adequate security.
The text, prepared by the Secretary of State for Tourism in coordination with the Ministry of Health, has also had the participation of the autonomous communities, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP), social agents, sector associations and the Spanish Association of Labor Prevention Services (Aespla).
The Institute for Spanish Tourist Quality (ICTE) was the entity that the Secretary of State for Tourism commissioned to carry out the work.
The president of the Association of Rural Tourism Professionals (Autural), Francisco Parra, who participated in the elaboration of these “guidelines and recommendations” as spokesman for the Association for the Quality of Rural Tourism (ACTR), explains to Efe that the responsibility When applying these recommendations, it resides with each owner.
“It is the rural accommodation that must assume the commitment of the management of the risks of contagion”, but with this guide they can know “general guidelines to follow in this extraordinarily complicated and novel situation”, to bring peace of mind to both the owners and the travelers, he points out.
For Parra, the proposed measures are “common sense” and easy to apply in many cases, since they include recommendations such as washing hands regularly, avoiding physical contact, using personal protective equipment or ventilating spaces.
With regard to clients, they place the emphasis on providing posters with the preventive measures implemented in the center and the guidelines to follow, position indicators to respect the safety distance or information on emergency telephones.
About establishments, they recommend the use of drying paper dispensers or hand dryers in toilets instead of towels, ozone disinfection and cleaning of walls, floors, ceilings, mirrors, furniture and windows.
Parra is reticent about the ICTE’s intention to promote a seal that guarantees the establishment’s security against the coronavirus, an initiative that has generated “a certain stir”, because, in his opinion, obtaining this certification would imply “money that at this time it is inappropriate to ask the sector. “
“Our income statement after this time (with establishment closings and no prospect of travelers yet in the coming weeks) will not be brilliant,” he insists.
It is precisely the lack of travelers that worries the sector, that despite registering small increases in rural accommodation reservations for August, they are not enough to compensate for the losses suffered by the crisis, on the dates when Easter and the festivals of the beginning of spring usually generate the largest number of overnight stays of the year.
To face the coming months, Parra demands training on virus security for owners and, for regional authorities, to promote rural tourism and support associations in the sector, since the perspective is that “there will be casualties” in the business sector that will no longer reopen.
The president of the Association of Rural Tourism Entrepreneurs of Valladolid and regional spokesman, Luis Chico, stresses that they receive the guide with open arms, while developing their own protocols adapted to the needs of each accommodation, but agrees that when it comes to the truth will depend on the number of visitors they receive.
“Right now we are closed and until there is no mobility between different regions it will be closed. Our target audience is in Madrid, the Basque Country, Galicia, which is the people who usually come to our accommodation,” says Chico, a homeowner. rural and mayor in Benafarces (Valladolid).
They are in a time of “quite uncertainty” and in his opinion the aid provided by the Government has not been “sufficient” for many accommodations, so he asks on behalf of the sector for “exceptional measures” to overcome this “chaotic and complicated situation” “difficult to exit.