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Hotels and tourism

Information for B.C.’s hotel sector on preventing COVID-19 transmission.
Last updated: September 11, 2020 at 10:30 AM

Basic precautions

All businesses are required by Order of the Provincial Health Officer to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan through WorkSafeBC. It is recommended that operators focus on the following measures:
Encouraging staff to stay home and guests to self-isolate if they are ill;

  • Providing space to allow people to maintain physical distance;
  • Practicing routine cleaning and disinfection; and
  • Ensuring staff and guests have easy access to handwashing stations or hand sanitizing supplies.

Display signs encouraging hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and physical distancing for staff and guests, particularly in high-traffic areas, including the front lobby, reception areas, as well in back of house areas.

Supporting guests in self-isolation

People returning to British Columbia from other jurisdictions outside of Canada are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a self-isolation plan. For some people, self-isolation will involve staying at a hotel.

Hotels can take the following measures to limit the risk of transmission for those in self-isolation and those who they may come into contact with:

  • Support self-isolated guests who may need food delivered. If on-site food service is not offered, provide information on local grocery stores and restaurants offering delivery. If food service and food delivery options are not available, asymptomatic guests in self-isolation can leave to obtain groceries.
  • Support self-isolated guests who need to get prescriptions and medications by providing information on local pharmacies offering delivery services. If pharmacy delivery is not available, asymptomatic guests in self-isolation can leave to obtain prescriptions and medications. Asymptomatic self-isolated guests can also leave the hotel to attend critical medical appointments if virtual options are not available.

Staff or guests who become ill

If a staff member or guest develops any symptoms of COVID-19, immediately isolate that person from others and encourage the use of the B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool or call 8-1-1 to determine if testing is warranted.

Clean and disinfect areas that were used by the symptomatic person once the individual has self-isolated from others.

At this time, only people with symptoms of COVID-19 or people who are referred to testing by a health care professional should be tested for COVID-19. Routine asymptomatic testing of employees or staff is not recommended in B.C.

Physical distancing between staff and guests

Ensuring that adequate physical distancing can be maintained between staff and guests throughout the workspace is essential to reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19. A safe physical distance of at least 2 metres between staff and guests should be maintained as much as possible. Establish and post occupancy limits for common areas such as elevators, cleaning supply closets, staff break rooms, and laundry rooms to ensure that physical distances can be maintained. Reconfigure public seating areas, where necessary, to promote physical distancing.

The configuration of some workplaces will not allow for physical distancing to be maintained – for example, at some reception and concierge desks where the width of the desk will not ensure adequate distance. In these cases, consider other ways of maintaining distance, such as putting tape on the floor to indicate where guests should stand, or install a physical barrier to reduce the risk of transmission. Additionally, wearing a non-medical face mask can help reduce the risk of transmission in these settings. For information on the use of non-medical masks, please visit the WorkSafeBC website or the BCCDC website.

Keep small groups of staff members who frequently work together as a cohort and schedule their shifts together as much as possible. In break rooms and lunch areas, staff should be supported to maintain safe physical distance from other staff members outside of their cohort. If staff common rooms are small and do not allow for physical distancing, consider repurposing unused spaces such as banquet rooms. Where distancing is not possible, consider installing physical barriers.

Hand hygiene

Avoid sharing equipment, such as pens, radios, computers, walkie-talkies, and cell phones. If equipment is shared, disinfect after each use.

Place hand sanitizer dispensers at entrances and high contact areas, including lobby reception areas, other hotel lobby areas, restaurant entrances, meeting spaces, elevators, valet and vehicle loading and offloading areas, and other public areas.

For more information on hand hygiene, visit

Cleaning and disinfection

Hotels should train staff on cleaning and disinfection practices in accordance with existing requirements regarding laundry, housekeeping, and food safety regulations.

General hotel guidance includes, but is not limited to:

  • Using a disinfectant that has a Drug Identification Number and a viricidal claim. Be sure to follow instructions on the label to disinfect effectively, including precautions to protect staff using these products;
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of high-traffic areas and high-use items, such as door knobs and handles, menus, handrails, elevator buttons, light switches, PIN pads, washrooms, and counters;
  • Cleaning all dishware and kitchen equipment in the suite daily and between guests; and
  • Considering removing in-room binders and replace with a single sheet summary that can be disposed between guests, or provide the information on a website that can be accessed via mobile devices.

Normal precautions and practices for cleaning guest rooms and laundering used linens and towels apply. Cleaning of guest rooms should be done when guests are not in the room as much as possible, and if guests have symptoms of COVID-19, consider leaving clean towels and linens outside of guest rooms and communicating with guests about this change in procedure. Complete a thorough cleaning and disinfection of all hard surfaces. Special attention should be given to frequently touched items such as toilets, sinks, faucets, doorknobs, light switches, telephones, remote controls, bar fridges, and garbage cans.

For additional guidance, please see BCCDC’s Cleaning and Disinfectants for Public Settings guidance document.

Food and beverage services

Follow the protocols and guidance for routine practices as set out in the Food Safety Act and the Food Premises Regulation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hotels must adhere to relevant Provincial Health Officer Orders (e.g., Gatherings and Events, Restaurants, Pubs, Cafes, and Nightclubs). Additional guidance for food safety is provided on the BCCDC website.

Engineering and maintenance

Do not perform any non-urgent room maintenance until a room is no longer occupied and has been cleaned thoroughly. If room maintenance is necessary when a room is occupied, practice proper hygiene and physical distancing to ensure the safety of workers and guests. Clean and disinfect all shared tools and equipment after each shift or when tools are transferred between workers.

Spas and salons, pools, fitness centres and playgrounds

Refer to the BCCDC website for guidance specific to playgrounds and recreational facilities. Review the guidance on WorkSafeBC related to personal services. Check the BCCDC website for updates related to guidance around swimming pools.

Transportation services

When providing transportation services, it can be difficult to adhere to physical distancing recommendations. Employers should assess the number of people being transported or sharing vehicles and employ measures to ensure that at least 2 metres of distance between people from different parties is maintained.
Seat passengers in such a way that a physical distance of 2 metres is maintained wherever possible. For example, seat passengers in the back row on the side opposite of the driver wherever possible;

Stagger passengers to allow for fewer vehicle occupants at a time and adjust the number of passengers per trip;
If possible, use larger vehicles or multiple vehicles; and
Wearing a non-medical mask can help reduce the risk of transmission in these settings. For information on the use of non-medical masks, please visit the WorkSafeBC website or the BCCDC website.

Vacation accommodations

The Provincial Health Officer’s Order on Gatherings and Events limits the number of people in vacation accommodations, including for house, cabin, yurt and boat rentals, as well as hotel rooms, to the capacity of the space, plus up to a maximum of five visitors. Contact information for all guests and visitors must be collected.

More Information

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