Advice for accommodation businesses

Bed and breakfast accommodation, breakfast on the table in the room

1. Overview

Accommodation businesses can continue to operate and provide services for essential and emergency accommodation only under the current restrictions. This includes:

  • Emergency accommodation in the event of damage to primary residence, family crisis etc;
  • Quarantine requirements;
  • Emergency service workers;
  • Business travellers (needing accommodation for work related travel).

This is in line with the Victorian Government directions to stay at home unless one of the four reasons to be out apply, that is, shopping for what you need, medical, care or compassionate needs, exercise needs or working and/or study that can’t be done remotely.

Yarra Ranges Council strongly recommends all businesses still providing accommodation services have measures in place to reduce the risk of infection. This also means the immediate closure of any pool, spa, gym and sauna facilities shared by the owners and occupants of the building.

Management can take a proactive stance to the reduction of risk at their businesses by following advice in the key areas below.

2. Hand washing

Regular hand washing is a key part of the Department of Health’s messages to the public as this forms an integral part of infection control. In the usual setting, viruses and bacteria can be spread from surfaces, to our hands when we touch them and then onto to our faces through incidental touching such as scratching or rubbing our skin. They can then make their way into our bodies from the skin.

Hand washing is a mechanical action in which oils and dirt are removed from skin by rubbing, with soap helping to dissolve oils. When washing a good rule of thumb is to 

rub hands together for 20 seconds (or sing happy birthday twice) and rub along fingers, thumbs and hand contours to make contact with all the surfaces. When you have finished, use paper towelling to dry and then discard instead of cloth towelling to ensure any virus or bacteria are not left on the towelling and to reduce the risk of reapplying to the hands.

Video demonstrations can be found at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQCP7waTRWU

3. Social distancing

As you know there is strict advice to all residents on visitor restriction. We suggest that tenants do not bring visitors into the property unless they need to for work or study purposes and that all residents and staff practice social distancing. This means one person per four square metre,s and wherever possible in communal areas, to maintain 1.5 metres apart from each other.

Please also note:

  • any person who has travelled overseas in the past 14 days or is showing any signs of being unwell including, but not limited to, mucus from the nose, coughing or sneezing, sore throat, or high temperature should be asked not to use any communal facilities. 
  • Encourage all residents and staff to stay inside unless essential. This includes congregating within the property parameters and no loitering.
  • If resident/s are known to be in isolation and are not isolating, call 1800 675 398 to report the matter. 

For more information regarding self-isolation please go to:

https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-isolation-guidance_7.pdf

4. Cleaning/sanitising surfaces

There is strong recommendation of regular cleaning by staff of all common areas including kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas, and frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, intercoms, remote controls and other common touch area with disinfectant or antibacterial detergent. Frequent cleaning helps to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus and we suggest at least daily.

Choose cleaning solutions which have antiviral claims and generally have a chloride active ingredient in the product as this works against viruses. Alcohol based cleaners and common bleach are also effective against the virus. 

Cleaning guidelines and bleach dilutions can be found at Cleaning and disinfecting to reduce covid-19 transmission (Department of Health & Human Services, Victorian Government).

When cleaning items such as crockery and linen, remember to use the hottest settings available in your washing machine and the dishwasher as this will help to deactivate the virus.

5. Staff hygiene

If you, an employee or someone you have come in contact with suspects that they have COVID-19 they should self-isolate immediately and can also complete the interactive self-assessment which will help them better understand the precautions that should be taken. If you have any further queries about coronavirus and symptoms, please contact the COVID-19 Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) hotline on 1800 675 398.

Employers should emphasise the importance of personal hygiene and hand washing with staff. This includes:

  • Washing hands frequently for 20 seconds with warm water, soap and single use paper towelling (see hand washing);
  • Covering face or using arm/elbow when coughing and sneezing, disposing of tissues and use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser (at least 60% alcohol);
  • Social distancing of 1.5 metres.

6. Looking after yourself and others

Council understands the feelings of anxiety, distress and concern many people may be experiencing in relation to the coronavirus. Beyond Blue can offer wellbeing advice. If you feel like you need to speak to someone, please contact them on 1300 224 636 or visit their website https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

7. Resources

Further information can be found at:

8. Contact us

If you have any questions specifically relating to the coronavirus, please email healthalerts@yarraranges.vic.gov.au
For any general questions in regards to your registration etc, please contact 1300 368 333 or mail@yarraranges.vic.gov.au
For any other business related enquiries, please email business@yarraranges.vic.gov.au