Covid-19 Precautions for Guest and Staff Safety
Our COVID-19 Protocol
On the 1st of June the Victorian government released guidelines to advise hospitality businesses in Victoria including how to conduct their businesses in a safe and hygienic way in light of the ongoing concern of the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result we have implemented an enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocol informed by these guidelines, the World Health Organisation and the Safe Work Australia recommendations in all our cabins to protect our staff and guests.
The guidelines were welcomed given the plethora of ‘advice’ on cleaning that has been conflicting and confusing. We have always had hygienic practices according to industry standards and our public health obligations. These obligations and practices already included using a commercial linen cleaner and supplier, the use of bedding protectors on our mattresses, doonas and pillows. We pay special attention to high touch-point areas, such as door handles, switches, counters, remote controls, lockboxes and keys using a hospital grade antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial cleaning product. You can read more about the TGA approved product here. Our baths are drained and hygienically flushed and cleaned thoroughly between each guest including the jets and pipes. Management have completed the COVID-19 Return to Work training and all staff have been given and read the above Tourism Guidelines for Coronavirus as well as the Hospitality Industry Guidelines for Coronavirus (COVID 19). Kangaroo Ridge Retreat is also in the process of documenting their COVID-19 ready processes through the Australian Tourism Export Council.
Default Cabin Set-up
We have always been in the unique position of being isolated but not far away, with guests rarely being in speaking distance of other guests and staff. Our cabins are individually set up with approximately 50 meters between each building. The cabins only accommodate 2 adults and at any given time, we have a low number of people on our 55 acre site. While we have never had a reception area, direct contact between guests and staff is further avoided because of our independent and strict check-in and check out times. Our communication process is via text and emails. We are always a phone call away and we are always ready to assist guests if required.
Our new processes
We have altered the process of our cabin change-overs in light of COVID-19. After each guest, the cabins are opened wide to allow fresh air and sunlight to fill the cabins. Upholstery items that cannot be disinfected with cleaning products are HEPA vacuumed and/or rotated in and out of use with a minimum of six days between each use. They are also steam cleaned as per the Safe Work Australia recommendations. Linen that can be washed is washed commercially, and where it can’t be we wash it on the highest setting and ensure the items are completely dry. As always, we use one cloth per surface being cleaned.
However, the biggest change to our processes is the amount of time we allocate and the documentation we make to prepare each cabin for each arrival. We have increased the time allotted per cabin per change over ensuring that our cleaning products effectively sanitise surfaces such as the high touch surfaces, larder items including the in cabin wine bottles. Between each guest, cabin managers sanitise and rotate the supplied cabin inventory, this includes the cutlery, crockery, books, pens, games, and DVDs.
As a responsible tourism operator, Kangaroo Ridge Retreat aims to make the experience of coming to the Yarra Valley safe and memorable for both our community and guests. On the day of arrival we have always sent guests a pre-arrival text. This has now been extended to include three questions and ask guests to contact with us directly if they answer ‘Yes’ to any of the questions. We ask: firstly whether you are unwell, secondly, if you have travelled internationally in the last 14 days; and finally whether you have been in contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. As part of our obligations, we collect the names and contact details of both guests staying in the cabin – not just the person who made the reservation. You will see a QR code on the table that will automatically link you to a registration page and then delete your details after 28 days.
As a guest, upon entry to one of our cabins you will find hand santiser for your use while you stay. As always, hand wash is available in the cabins for while you stay. Indeed, we know small sanitizers are hard to come by, we have gifted you a small Watts River Brewing hand sanitiser as part of your breakfast provisions. Surface spray sanitiser is now included as part of the cleaning products available for your use while you stay. Finally as part of the final preparation of your cabin, our cabin managers seal the cabin to indicate they are the last person to have entered the cabin.
We have reinstated a two night minimum stay at Kangaroo Ridge Retreat to ensure that you are able to take a break, experience our location and have a deep Yarra Valley experience. This means we have less guests coming to stay on the ridge, but we can also absorb some of the costs involved with the increased work involved in setting up a cabin for each guest stay. Similarly, for safety of our staff, for the time being we are unable to offer early check-ins. We are asking and reminding guests to not to arrive early.
In the downtime of the COVID-19 pause we rehearsed and implemented a strict process of cleaning and disinfection in all our cabin change-overs. We have adjusted the linen change over to avoid unnecessary shaking of blankets, doonas and linen. Our staff know that they are supported if they are feeling unwell and cannot come into work. They are temperature checked at the beginning of each shift, make a declaration they are well, trained on hand washing, and have been provided with personal protective equipment for while they are working and preparing the cabins.
Work and travel in unpredictable times
The wellbeing of our guests and that of our team are our number one priority. If the Victorian Government were to enforce localised lockdowns restricting non-essential travel in and out of the local areas, we will be proactive and will be in direct contact with our guests to discuss their options.
We will offer guests affected by local lockdowns with additional flexibility and will be actively helping to look for alternative dates for their stay. If we are unable to find a date in the near future, we will give credit for amount of the deposit that is valid for three years – honouring the rates originally booked during the validity period. However, if a guest were to choose to cancel without a government directive, our normal cancellation policy applies.
During this challenging time we are committed to working with our guests for the best outcome for your safety and of course your stay at Kangaroo Ridge Retreat. We are constantly updating our global cancellation policy to reflect the most recent developments related to the COVID-19.
If you have any further questions about our cleaning processes we are happy to answer any of your questions. We can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to safely welcoming you to the Yarra Valley!