The formal COVID 19 lockdown ended at the beginning of July and meant that many customer serving businesses and public transport services began to tentatively reopen. This was just over a month ago and so the almost three-month-long lock-down is still fresh in all of our minds. Indeed, many companies are still keeping cautious, with restaurants, pubs and entertainment venues still adhering to strict guidelines and playing it safe when it comes to quelling the infection. Whether it be due to public health fears or for moral reasons, the tentative, quizzical attitude to easing that some businesses have stuck to contradicts the often mixed messages being put out by the government to prematurely dive back into work and normal life. Of course, the balance between economic and health recovery means that some businesses have simply been forced to reopen, even if they believe that they shouldn’t be.
With air and cross-country travel beginning to ramp up, many hotels have been forced to open their doors again for the sake of much-needed profit. Whether for better or for worse, these hotels, that have seen no business except for volunteering rooms for homeless shelters over lock-down, are nearing the end of their government-deployed furlough schemes.
This then means that many hotels such as the Montcalm Royal London House Hotel are opening their doors and returning to some form of business as usual, not just for the returning business and holiday travellers, but for the sake of their staff too. The much-debated lines drawn by the government are often open to interpretation, and so, unfortunately, hotels and their guests must take responsibility for their own conduct and safety, making judgement calls on a case by case basis.
Whilst this might not be a sustainable model of long term operation, it is the place where many businesses find themselves in the present and so as a visitor, you have to ask the same questions. Will your luxury stay at our collection of London hotels be worth the risk that comes with it? Below is everything you’ll need to answer to get an informed standpoint and to ensure a safe visit to your favourite Montcalm branch.
What Are The Current COVID Business Guidelines?
As of the beginning of July, many businesses were allowed to reopen their customer-facing services. This has led to a range of restrictions and guidelines that must be adhered to in the UK for the business to remain running legally. It is not only for the company that these guidelines must be kept to but for the reassurance of the customers, who, if they don’t think a business is operating safely, may very well stop using the company’s services altogether.
One of the main rules of the hospitality services running under COVID restrictions is the social distancing rule. In bars, restaurants and pubs, great lengths are taken to ensure that every “bubble” of people is no closer than 2 metres of each other. These rules are so strictly enforced, that many pubs do not even open their inside areas, or reduce the maximum capacity of their venues. This is the same with hotel lounges and restaurants, and the Montcalm precautionary measures adhere strictly to the two-metre rules, whilst the development of contact tracing systems means that if there is an outbreak, businesses such as hotels and restaurants can get in touch with anyone who might have been in contact with the infected.
Hotel sanitation is the name of the game here. On the way in and out of potentially crowded areas, businesses must provide hand sanitizers for customers and employees. On top of this, employees must wear masks as well as maintaining the above mentioned social distancing rules.
Food And Drink
Since the Montcalm COVID 19 update, our many hotel restaurants remain closed due to the increased risk they could expose staff and customers to in the intimate spaces they inhabit. This means that if you are visiting the Montcalm hotels, you’ll need to think extra carefully about your food and drink situation. There are other restaurants and bars across London that you can still enjoy, and these implement social distancing and contact tracing protocols that allow you to eat and drink hassle-free.
Diminishing Risk In The Workplace
If you are visiting our hotels as a business traveller, you can still enjoy our conference and event spaces fully sanitised and disinfected. That being said, you still need to make judgement calls as to whether the business you’re visiting the city for could instead be carried out over internet calls and conferences. Whilst nothing is ever the same as face-to-face meetings, is the business you're carrying out important enough, or indeed needs face to face contact?
Factors To Think About When Travelling To Hotels
Whilst personal safety precautions such as carrying hand sanitizer with you at all times is vital in the current climate, and hotels must make it routine that they implement extra efforts for Room Sanitization in all of their suites, there are still external factors for you to weigh up that neither you nor the hotel can control. These are questions of personal judgement and wellbeing, meaning that only you can know if the decision to travel is safe and responsible for both you and the people around you.
Is The Hotel Putting A Focus on Safety?
Whilst all hotels that have reopened are required by law to implement COVID 19 safety policies, not all of them will be regularly checked. It might very well be the case that on the surface things seem safe, but in reality, the hotel staff are finding it difficult to maintain the measures. Whilst you won’t be able to check every room and staff member for the level of their safe practice before booking your room, you can decide for yourself whether or not you trust the hotel. You can read customer reviews and website updates to help better inform your choice of safe and COVID-ready accommodation.
Are You At Increased Risk Of The Virus?
If you suffer from a condition that makes you more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, there may be no amount of disinfected hotel rooms, mask-wearing and hand sanitiser taps that can make you feel safe. The fact of the matter is that when you are travelling via airports or train stations, you are always going to be close to a lot of strangers, putting you at increased risk that you can’t control. If you are ill or suffer from a condition that could lead to COVID-19 complications, then you should think twice before travelling far from your home.
Is Your Hotel In A COVID-Safe Environment?
It’s not just the hotel you need to worry about, but the area around it. Whilst the hotel sanitation may be second to none, is the surrounding area social distancing ready? The streets outside your hotel might be a popular commuter road, or be too narrow for socially distancing to be properly implemented, especially if people are coming in and out of the hotel from the street.
Are You Travelling From Overseas?
If you’re travelling to London from overseas, you will need to factor in the travel through multiple airports or train stations. These run the risk of being hotbeds for COVID 19 transmission, even if the hotel you’re travelling to or from is strict in their COVID 19 safety measures.
Do Laws Differ In The Country You’re Travelling From?
Laws in coronavirus differ from country to country. You might have to prepare for being put into quarantine upon your arrival into or from the UK. Many countries also require visitors to have COVID tests before visiting.
What Safety Measures Are You Personally Willing To Take?
Whilst it is now the law that you must wear a facemask in designated public areas such as shops and the London Underground network, if you are uncomfortable wearing them then you will have to avoid these areas, which can be difficult when visiting London.
What Are The Hotels Plans For Guests Who Fall Ill?
Does the hotel you are staying at have plans in place for if their guests fall ill? Make sure you have researched and read up on the contingency plans of your accommodation so that you can feel as safe and informed as possible during your London stay. If the policies your accommodation have in place are ones that you don’t agree with or are not up to your standards, then find another hotel to book into.
For Everyone, It’s A Judgement Call So Always Do Your Research
As mentioned above, your safety and security during a London visit are entirely in your hands. The Montcalm hotels have everything in place to ensure a comfortable, relaxing and most importantly, safe stay, but there are personal factors that mean you are the only one who knows if a hotel stay is worth the risk.