With the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 infections, the hospitality industry has a role to play by navigating it safely for guests and staff.
Should the rate of infections increase rapidly, the hospitality and tourism industries are at risk of the impact of further strict regulations and, potentially, another harsh lockdown. As it prepares for the peak summer season, the industry must avoid complacency regarding the enforcement of health and safety protocols.
“The hospitality sector has a huge role to play in preventing or helping to curb the second wave by adhering to the government regulations and general safety practices to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Emma Corder, MD of industrial cleaning products manufacturer Industroclean.
CEO of Fedhasa, Lee Zama, believes if hospitality businesses implement protocols that have been developed and distributed by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa it would be possible to survive a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
“The industry is aware of these protocols and, where we have seen them being applied, we have been very impressed,” she said. “We need to make sure that transmission [of COVID-19] does not happen because of the work we do in hospitality, and if it does, we need to be able to investigate why it happened and where businesses need more support.”
Zama said assessments on establishments in infection hotspots should be introduced. “Mostly in restaurants, where we understand that the pressure from clients can sometimes make it difficult to adhere to all protocols. From these assessments we would be able to compile a report identifying areas where businesses are feeling pressure and need support.”
“With the summer weather and festive season break, South Africans will no doubt be socialising in big groups and visiting their favourite leisure hang-outs as they express their regained freedom. By following the regulations, the industry will not stop a second wave but will limit the spread in this sector,” said Corder.
The TBCSA has promoted use of its app, which asks establishments to sign a pledge committing to the upkeep of health and safety protocols in their business. “We really want to push the narrative that people are complying, and the app allows anyone to see which establishments are complying,” said Zama.
She added that there were free training videos available online through the TBCSA. “These are free to anyone, whether it’s a big hotel chain or a small restaurant owner. We are industry, and we need to support one another. COVID is something that will be with us for a long time to come, and our industry needs to be prepared to handle that,” concluded Zama.