Government presents health protocols to prepare for the reopening of the post-pandemic tourism industry
The Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism, together with the Undersecretariat of Tourism and Sernatur, announced that sanitary protocols and good practices for accommodation and restaurants are now available. These measures seek to prepare the tourism industry to face the sector’s reopening phase once the peak of contagions has been overcome.
These protocols —which are intended to provide support, in addition to delivering guidelines, to service providers of tourism— are part of the initiatives included in the National Tourism Plan announced by the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism. It has three main focuses: gradual reactivation based on health protocols and recommendations, financial support for small entrepreneurs in the sector, and a plan for promoting national tourism.
Lucas Palacios, Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, explained that “these are sanitary requirements that are necessary for the operation of hotels, hostels and restaurants. This is not an immediate opening order, what we want is that small and medium companies of the tourism industry, begin to implement these measures and prepare for the months of reactivation that will come as the health crisis drops in level. These measures can even be applied in regions and communes where contagion is low and people, citizens, have adopted a culture of self-care”.
The undersecretary of Tourism, Mónica Zalaquett, stated that “recovering the confidence of tourists will be essential for the future revival of the industry. Health security will become an essential element in the competitiveness of destinations, so these protocols and recommendation guides, which have been designed together with the industry, are vital to face the reactivation stage. We hope to implement them as soon as the health authority so determines”.
What do the protocols present?
The technical specifications of the protocols were detailed by the Ministry of Economy, together with the Undersecretariat of Tourism and Sernatur. These were also in line with the recommendations of the Health Ministry, which validated the documents, and from international organizations of the tourism industry. The work also included the involvement of various actors representing the national tourism industry.
The National Director of Sernatur, Andrea Wolleter, pointed out that “these protocols are a resource that many countries in the world are applying as an indispensable tool to generate the conditions that will allow the reactivation of tourism activity. Therefore we will be promoting them in all regions, clarifying every point, and continuing the collaborative work with the industry. We have supported each other to have new recommendations for different types of services.”
The objective of these documents is to protect both the health of workers and tourists, providing general recommendations on how to disinfect, clean workspaces, how to relate to the customer (physical distancing, temperature taking, among others), how to work with suppliers and how to face a positive Covid-19 case.
The protocol for tourist accommodation establishments includes recommendations regarding the availability of hygiene materials at various establishments, deep cleaning and disinfection processes.
These measures guarantee physical distance, the elimination of buffet service and food handling in general, staff equipment, a guide to act in case of quarantine, or the isolation of a passenger or collaborator diagnosed within the establishment, and the cleaning measures to be implemented in that case.
In the case of restaurants, the recommendations are similar in terms of adopting strict cleaning policies, disinfection and sanitation measures, but also provides a specific guide for entering and leaving the premises, for the care and arrangement of tables and lounges, and kitchen management and food handling, as well of new considerations for health services, and customer service.
The authorities highlighted that, in a second stage, recommendations would be made available for more specific segments such as ski centers, corporate events, travel agencies, tour operators, guides, adventure tourism, rural tourism, wine tourism, wildlife protected areas, and the tourists themselves.
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