July 2020 | 971 words | 2-minute read
If there is one thing that the covid-19 pandemic has impressed upon us, it is the need to practise good hygiene to ward off the virus.
At the 160-room Ginger Bhubaneswar, named a Quarantine Centre, this learning has been honed to perfection by hotel manager Shantanu Das and restaurant manager Saurabh Kumar. While Saurabh takes care of day-to-day activities, including coordination with doctors and vendors, Shantanu has redesigned the services for guests, and coordinates with BMC officials and engages with the staff and their families.
The hotel set aside 60 rooms in the new wing as the quarantine centre. The functioning of the hotel is limited to four housekeeping associates, four associates for food service and three managing the front office. Despite having to function with fewer staff members, the hotel took great care of its quarantined guests, all of who tested negative after their stay.
The hotel aims to live up to the expectations that Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has set. Shantanu says, “The administration expects us to provide clean and hygienic rooms along with timely food service. They have also requested us to install CCTV cameras and appoint security personnel to ensure that quarantined guests stay indoors.”
BMC doctors visit the hotels every alternate day to examine the health of the quarantined people and ensure that hygiene is being maintained. An officer is available on call for Ginger Bhubaneswar in case of any issues such as vendors not getting curfew passes and picking up of essential supplies.
Prior to the hotel being designated a quarantine centre, BMC officers inspected the premises and trained the staff. Ginger did a deep cleaning of the hotel, and equipment and supplies used for cleaning the quarantined wing were purchased and stored separately.
With most associates advised to stay at home, the hotel is functioning with a skeletal staff. Saurabh says, “We have housed those of our associates who couldn’t reach home due to the lockdown.”
Fourteen rooms in the new wing have been occupied as self-isolation rooms. Naturally, during the period of the quarantine, housekeeping services are limited to providing fresh linen and clearing the garbage. These services are provided without the associate needing to enter the room at all. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided in disposable containers left at the door.
Complying with the instructions from the BMC, the rooms have been let out for single occupancy alone. Saurabh says, “We made an exception only once, when we had to seek special permission from the authorities to allow a couple to stay in one room.”
Caring for the carer
Saurabh says, “We have accommodated all the associates in the hotel and are providing them with nutritional meals. They have been equipped with adequate safety gear while working; this allays their fear of infection.”
Initially, BMC supplied the associates with surgical masks and gloves; hazmat suits were provided a few days later. Officials also offered training on service expectations that had to be maintained during the pandemic. Associates that are sensitised to caring for their own hygiene are more likely to care for the safety of guests.
Shantanu says, “They kept in touch with our associates during the first week, briefing them on how to avoid getting infected by the coronavirus, the dos and don’ts that had to be followed. They were told not to touch their faces, and to dispose of gloves, and repeatedly wash and sanitise their hands, particularly after every room was cleaned. On our part, we provided them with a room in which to bathe and change at the end of their shift. Similarly, they have to have a bath, change into their uniforms, and sanitise themselves before starting the shift.” Ginger also took care to monitor the temperature of the associates three times a day. Hot water for drinking was made available at the cafeteria.
Knowing that associates’ families would naturally be worried about them, Saurabh and Shantanu spoke to them at length about the safety precautions that were being taken. Shantanu says, “We told them about the minimum contact service that we were working towards. As they understood the process that was being followed and the support we were offering the associates, the families began to feel more at ease.”
Cleaning out Corona
A lot of thought was put into which items were required in a quarantine room. Shantanu says, “We removed stationery material, menu cards, the bed runner and laundry bags from the rooms. Extra water bottles, tea and coffee sachets, hand towels and soaps were provided to pre-empt further requests on the part of the quarantined guest. We also provided dental and shaving kits and detergent powder on request, at no extra cost.”
The process of cleaning the room was broken down into simple steps: providing bed and bath linen as per the request of the guest, clearing the bins, and providing amenities based on usage. Once the guest checked out, the unoccupied room was kept locked for 48 hours before any kind of service was initiated. At the end of this period, the linen, pillows, mattress protector and duvets were washed, and the surfaces deep cleaned. The room and bathroom surfaces were sanitized with an approved chemical.
As the Covid-19 crisis intensifies, the shortfall in manpower will crunch the resources of Ginger Bhubaneswar further, but the team is prepared for the challenge. Shantanu says, “In spite of all our planning, we continue to worry about the safety and well-being of our guests and our people. However, working in this situation for over a month and seeing the challenges confronting the administration has strengthened our resolve. We will continue to do our bit to contribute to the nation.”