Welcome Group Inc. – Covid-19 Preparedness

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Welcome Group Inc. – Covid-19 Preparedness

The Welcome Group currently owns and operates ten hotels in various locations throughout the United States. The hotels are operated under franchise agreements with seven different brand affiliations from the Hilton and Marriott brand organizations.

During and following the Covid-19 pandemic, all hotels are adhering strictly to safety and sanitation directives provided by both the respective brand organizations as well as local and state authorities. In addition, the company has developed and implemented the plan outlined on the following five pages. It speaks to the arrival experience for our guests, the modified procedures surrounding the use of the amenities we offer as well as food and beverage options, housekeeping and sanitation procedures, and employee training and protocols. We believe these steps are ensuring we provide our guests and team members with the safest lodging and working environment possible during these difficult times.

If after familiarizing yourself with this document, you have any further questions regarding the steps we are taking to ensure both the comfort and well-being of those who stay or meet at our hotels, or otherwise utilize our facilities, please direct them to the General Manager of the hotel you will be visiting.

Guest Arrival

Appropriate signage will be prominently displayed in all Welcome Group Hotels outlining current social distancing practices in use and recommended for all Guests. It is recommended that all Guests wear a mask when entering the hotel and when in public areas. Masks are available for purchase in the hotel’s gift shop. Hand sanitizer stations are readily available to Guests and have been placed strategically throughout the hotel.

Guests are encouraged to utilize automatic/revolving doors where possible to reduce hand contact points on entry into the Hotel. Guests requesting luggage assistance will be assisted and the luggage cart will be disinfected after each use. Valet parking is currently suspended until further notice. Social distancing in elevators is recommended, and no more than four Guests should be on an elevator at a time. Elevators buttons and hand rails are regularly being cleaned and sanitized by the hotel.

Guests arriving by hotel shuttle can be assured that all Team Members of the Welcome Group are being screened daily and immediately being sent home should they have any symptoms of COVID-19 or influenza-like illness. All touch points in hotel shuttles are regularly being cleaned and properly disinfected by the hotel. All Guests entering the hotel shuttle are asked to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Passenger occupancy in hotel shuttles has been reduced to allow for social distancing. When possible, drivers will ask that van windows be opened to increase and allow fresh airflow.

Guests are encouraged to utilize straight to room options when possible to limit social interaction and queuing at Reception. Guests visiting the front desk can be assured that all guest touchpoints including credit card machines and key boards are regularly cleaned and sanitized by the hotel. Key Cards are not reused for at least 24 hours and are cleaned and disinfected by the hotel. Social Distancing is recommended for anyone waiting in line at Reception and Guests are asked to refer to the signage provided which ensures compliance with Social Distancing advice of 6ft separation. Guests are encouraged to utilize express check-out service when possible, which will automatically email Guests their final receipt and eliminate the need for Guests to physically check out at the Front Desk.

Business Center

All Welcome Group hotels offering a Business Center will continue to offer this amenity to our Guests. Business Center workstations, including computers, keyboards, mice, and all surfaces will be regularly cleaned and disinfected by the hotel. Social Distancing is recommended when utilizing the hotel’s business center, which requires Guests to maintain a 6ft distance.

Pool Operations

All Welcome Group hotels that offer a pool will allow Guests to utilize the pool area, however ask that all Guests sign in and out at the Front Desk prior to entering. Social distancing in the pool area is required, therefore the number of Guests will be limited. Large gatherings in the pool are will not permitted, groups are limited to eight people or less. If a Jacuzzi is available, it is limited to one group at a time and no more than four people. Tables and chairs provided in the pool area should remain in their current location and not moved from their designated position. Tables and Chairs will be sanitized after each use by the hotel. Sanitized chairs will be designated with a card indicating they were cleaned.

Fitness Center

Pending guidance from local authorities and medical experts. Alternative wellness options will be made available to Guests as they are developed, including in-room and outdoor wellness options.

Housekeeping – Guest Rooms

All Welcome Group hotels are currently following all recommendations and standards outlined by their respective hotel brand regarding proper cleanliness and disinfecting of hotel guest rooms. This includes following all industry leading cleaning and sanitizing protocols, paying particular attention to high touch items including television remote controls, door and furniture handles, telephones, light switches, temperature control panels, and alarm clocks. All bed linen and laundry continue to be washed at a high temperature and in accordance with CDC guidelines. Dirty linen will be bagged in the guest room to eliminate excess contact while being transported to the laundry facility. When business allows, vacant rooms will remain vacant and dirty for 24-48 hours before cleaning to minimize potential exposure to arriving Guests and hotel Team Members. Minimum guest room cleaning will be provided for Guests staying over per the discretion of the hotel. Guests can request additional towels, in-room toiletries, coffee, and supplies from the Front Desk. In addition to the items mentioned above, all hotels are increasing the frequency of air filter replacement and HVAC system cleaning to ensure fresh air exchange is being maximized in each Welcome Group hotel.

Food and Beverage

All Welcome Group hotels offering Food and Beverage will have appropriate signage prominently displayed outlining current social distancing practices in use and recommended for all Guests. It is recommended that all Guests wear a mask when entering the restaurant when walking to and from their table. Masks are available for purchase in the hotel’s gift shop.

Guests utilizing the hotel for their Food and Beverage can be assured that all Team Members of the Welcome Group are being screened daily and immediately being sent home should they have any symptoms of COVID-19 or influenza-like illness. Team Members have been trained and provided with the most current food handling and hand washing protocols.

Seating within the restaurant is being limited and has been properly arranged to ensure compliance with social distancing. Peak period queuing procedures will be implemented when Guests are not able to be immediately accommodated for seating within the restaurant. Each touch point, chair, and table is properly cleaned and sanitized by the hotel upon departure of each Guest. Silverware and glassware have been properly cleaned and sanitized. The use of cloth napkins has been suspended and replaced with paper napkins. Condiments will be available in a single serve option and straws are available upon request only and will be individually wrapped. A limited menu may be substituted at the discretion of each hotel. Buffet service has been suspended. If available, and upon request, all hotels will offer a private dining option to groups of 6-10 people.

Welcome Group hotels offering Grab and Go options will have barriers installed at the order/pick-up areas. All items being offered will be individually packaged with condiments being available as single serve.

Hotels offering in-room dining will have modified procedures in place. Guests utilizing in-room dining will be required to have a credit card on file with the front desk allowing the charge to be posted to their room folio, as the server will not be able to accept a credit card or cash payment. No orders will be taken in person, only by telephone. All orders will be packaged in take-away, disposable containers and will be left at your door with the server knocking to notify Guest of delivery.

Welcome Group hotels offering meeting space with food and beverage options will ensure all room set-up configurations are designed to meet or exceed the CDC’s guidelines or any local ordinance temporarily in place. All Welcome Group hotels offering catered food and beverage will have appropriate signage prominently displayed outlining current social distancing practices in use and recommended for all Guests. Buffet and self-service displays will be reduced to accommodate single serve items and when such is not available, those displays will be manned by a hotel representative wearing the proper PPE. Water service typically provided by pitchers will be replaced with bottled water being offered to all Guests. All chairs, tables, and touch points within the meeting space will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after each use and again at the conclusion of each event. In addition, meeting room carpets will be sprayed with a sanitizing spray solution at the end of each business day. Barriers will be made available and installed at registration tables at the request of the group contact person.

Team Members of the Welcome Group

Coronavirus Awareness Training has been made available and presented to all Team Members of the Welcome Group. Team Members are required to report any illness or suspected illness to their Manager or Human Resources Department immediately. Team Members are instructed to stay at home if they do not feel well or have symptoms of COVID-19. Team Members have been instructed to contact a Manager if they observe a fellow Team Member with a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other known symptoms of COVID-19.

Team Members of the Welcome Group will adhere to current social distancing guidelines and will consistently promote safe working practices. Social distancing measures being taken by Welcome Group Team Members include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Always maintain a 6ft distance away from Team members and Guests.
  2. Social interaction is discouraged along with congregating in public areas.
  3. Work in separate offices or re-arrange desk layouts to maintain social distancing.
  4. Online video/conference calls are encouraged, replacing internal meetings, when possible.

In addition to social distancing, the Welcome Group has made several modifications to existing Team Member policies and procedures.

  • Hotels that currently offer a team member meal plan will continue to offer this, however hotels will only provide a “grab and go” service, not the typical cafeteria style. Meal periods will be staggered. A distance of 6ft. will be maintained between Team Members utilizing the team member cafeteria. Team Members will also be authorized to enjoy their meal in their vehicle should they choose to do so.
  • Notices promoting good hygiene and social distancing have been visibly placed in relevant Heart of the House areas, including elevators. Team members must routinely wash their hands, after being in public areas, after handling food, and especially after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Hand sanitizer stations have been made readily available to Team Members and strategically placed throughout the hotel, including in the Heart of the House.
  • Shared tools and equipment will be sanitized before, during, and after each shift or anytime the equipment is transferred to a new Team Member. This includes phones, radios, computers and over communication devices, payment terminals, kitchen implements, engineering tools, cleaning equipment, keys, and all other direct contact items used throughout each Welcome Group property.
  • The Welcome Group supports Team Members decision to take personal preventative measures to avoid the coronavirus and other influenza-like illness. Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be worn by all Team Members based on their role and responsibilities and in adherence to state and local regulations and guidance. Team Members have been trained on the proper use and disposable of all PPE. Required PPE is available to Team Members and supplied by the Welcome Group.