Maharashtra Hotels, including in Mumbai & Pune, can reopen from July 8 onwards

As we learn to live with the “Virus”, many people in Mumbai and the rest of the state have been wondering when would hotels reopen in Maharashtra? Hotels are, after all, an essential requirement to enable business travel to return. Now, as a part of Phase 5 of the unlock of Maharashtra, the state will allow hotels to reopen with effect from July 8, 2020, onwards.

As a part of the strategy to open up Maharashtra, the Government is allowing hotels and lodging services to open up in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (includes Thane), Pune, Nashik, Solapur, Aurangabad, Malegaon, Dhule, Jalgaon, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur. All the establishments which will be allowed to operate will only be able to operate at 33% capacity and have to be outside the containment zones.

Conditions for Hotels to operate include sanitation and social distancing

  • Posters/standees/AV media on preventive measures about COVID-19, and these guidelines are to be displayed prominently.
  • Proper crowd management in the hotel as well as in outside premises like parking lots shall be ensured. Specific markings may be made to manage the queue, and seating arrangements are reconfigured in public places to ensure social distancing.
  • Entrance to have mandatory thermal screening provisions. Reception Tables/space should have a protective glass.
  • Hand sanitizers preferably with pedal-operated dispensers must be made freely available at the reception, guest rooms and public spaces (lobbies etc.) for guests.
  • Appropriate personal protection gears like face covers/masks, gloves and etc. shall be made available by the hotel to the staff as well as guests.
  • Hotels must adopt contactless processes like QR code, online forms, digital payments like e-wallet etc. for both check-in, check-out and placing orders inside the premises.
  • The number of guests in the elevators to be restricted, duly maintaining social distancing norms.
  • For air-conditioning/ventilation, the guidelines of CPWD shall be followed which inter alia emphasizes that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30° C, relative humidity should be in the range of 40- 70%, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible, and cross ventilation should be adequate.

Conditions for Guests to check-in include temperature checks and masks.

  • Only asymptomatic guests shall be allowed.
  • Guests to be allowed entry only if using face cover/masks. The face cover/mask has to be worn at all times inside the hotel.
  • Details of the guest (travel history, medical condition, etc.) along with ID and self-declaration form must be provided by the guest at the reception.
  • Guests are to use Arogya Setu App compulsorily.
  • Guests are encouraged to minimize the use of housekeeping services.

In terms of the use of hotel facilities, dine-in discouraged, no outside guests allowed, pools closed.

  • Restaurants
    • Detailed guidelines issued for restaurants shall be followed.
    • Seating arrangement to be reconfigured to ensure social distancing.
    • E-menus and disposable paper napkins to be encouraged.
    • Room service or takeaways to be encouraged, instead of dine-in.
    • Restaurants will be available only for resident guests strictly.
  • Gaming Arcades / Children play areas / Swimming Pools / Gymnasium (wherever applicable) shall remain closed.
  • Large gatherings/congregations continue to remain prohibited inside the premises.
  • However, use of meeting halls at 33% capacity subject to a max of 15 participants is permitted.

Cleaning guidelines require rooms to be left empty for at least 24 hours.

  • Rooms and other service areas shall be sanitized each time a guest vacates the room. After the clients stay is over, the room should be left unoccupied for at least 24 hours. All linens, towels should be changed after the guest vacates the room.
  • Effective and frequent sanitization within the premises shall be maintained with particular focus on lavatories, drinking and handwashing stations/areas.
  • Cleaning and regular disinfection (using 1% sodium hypochlorite) of frequently touched surfaces (doorknobs, elevator buttons, handrails, benches, washroom fixtures. etc.) to be made mandatory in all guest service area and common areas.
  • Deep cleaning of all washrooms shall be ensured at regular intervals.
  • Proper disposal of face covers/masks/gloves leftover by guests and/or staff should be ensured.

Isolating a suspect or confirmed case on-premise

  • House the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others.
  • Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call the state or district helpline.
  • A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action be initiated regarding the management of the case, his/her contacts and need for disinfection.
  • Disinfection of the premises to be taken up if the person is found positive.

I think all these guidelines are the bare minimum to operate in a hotel environment these days, and not out of whack at all. These guidelines are in line with how many major hotel chains such as Marriott and Hilton plan to operate in the days ahead.

Some hotels have already decided to reopen tomorrow, including the legendary Oberoi in Mumbai.

The JW Marriott Juhu promises to reopen soon.

This sounds like a good start. What do you think of the new guidelines to hotels, and would you return to a hotel anytime soon?

Source: CMO, Maharashtra

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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