What we do in such situation is to monitor and closely follow Government advice. The Government has access to high quality information as well as health and intelligence resources that help to deliver actual information on such situation and we shall update our clients. We supplement these sources by using The World Health Organization website to obtain specific information regarding the virus and its transmission. These sources of advice inform our overall approach to specific destinations and situations.
In this situation we continue to operate trips in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar, wherever possible. If our clients due to be travelling to one of these countries, we are in position to organize while observing the ministry of health standard operating procedures.
GENERAL HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS
The following measures that have been communicated by the Ministry of Health, Local Health Authorities and World Health Organization should be strictly adhered to all times:
Social distancing measures together with frequent hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette are the main measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19.
- Social Distancing
Social distancing includes refraining from hugging & shaking hands with guests as well as among fellow staff. It involves maintaining a distance of at least 2m (6 ft) and avoiding anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Hand Washing
Hand hygiene means regularly and thoroughly cleaning hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water. Also avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth. Hand disinfection is indicated after exchanging objects (money, credit cards) with guests.
- Respiratory Hygiene
Respiratory etiquette means covering mouth and nose with bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. The used tissue should be disposed of immediately in a bin with a lid.
All indoor areas such as entrance lobbies, corridors and staircases, escalators, elevators, security guard booths, office rooms, meeting rooms, cafeteria should be mopped with a disinfectant (1% sodium hypochlorite or phenolic disinfectants).
For metallic surfaces like door handles, security locks, keys etc. 70% alcohol can be used to wipe down surfaces where the use of bleach is not suitable.
SECTOR PROTOCOLS FOR THE NEW NORMAL
- Tours Agencies
The tour operators and their service providers shall be required to comply with the general provision under this protocol;
- Have documented Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for guest Management in line with these protocols and MOH COVID-19 preventive guidelines as appropriate.
- Guest/visitors register shall be kept and updated daily and should include mobile contact & physical address to ease in tracing.
- Establish and maintain a register of all staff, drivers and guests handled.
- Whenever possible, we shall minimize walk-in clients and encourage online bookings
- Ensuring tour vans and transfer vehicles are properly cleaned and sanitized before, during and after each trip/ transfers.
- Provide packed lunches for long drive to avoid stop-overs. Staff while serving food and drinks shall observe the guidelines similar to catering and accommodation facilities provided.
- Encourage open windows of the vehicles when weather permits, to allow air circulation and avoid air-conditioners.
- Developing creative personalized group tours and packages to incentivize domestic tours, excursions, short trips and visits to nearby destinations in the short term.
- Limit the number of staff accompanying guests in every trip.
- Ensuring information provided is stuck on the back of the chairs or the body of the vehicle to minimize contact.
- Integrate technologies to enable automation, such as contactless payments platforms like online money transactions and tour information where possible and discourage cash payments.
- Tour Guides
Tour guides will commit to risk management, executing the systematic implementation of measures from the contingency plan defined to prevent and reduce hygiene and health risks in their activity. To do so, they must:
- Identify existing risks (routes to be followed, visits to monuments, possible crowding, group size, restrictions on the provision of certain tourist services, etc.)
- Establish mechanisms for gathering information to make the best decisions to be adopted in their activity (specialists, destination managers, etc.)
- Conduct a risk assessment to draw conclusions.
- Design a contingency plan and implementation in coordination with stakeholders (service providers, authorities, other guides, etc.)
- If the tour guide is hired by a third party, legal regulations regarding occupational risk prevention will be applied.
- Tour guides must establish the actions needed to acquire the resources provided in the contingency plan, as well as those recommended by health authorities (e.g. hand sanitizer, masks, gloves).
The measures to be adopted in the contingency plan must consider the following:
- Gain information and training on health and hygiene risk prevention guidelines in the activity.
- Avoid greeting other tour guides, service providers and visitors with physical contact, including shaking hands. Safe distances must be respected whenever possible.
- Refrain from providing the service if the tour guide experiences any symptoms of the disease, even if they are mild.
The tour guide must inform clients about applicable prevention and hygiene measures, and also:
- Restrictions, limitations or modifications to the service to prevent contagion.
- Preventive measures taken by the tour guide during the tour and which must be adopted by the clients. The latter must be notified to clients before contracting the services.
The tour guide must follow these preventive measures during time for activities
- Determine how the visit will be conducted and where the tour will go based on the risk assessment and the regulations and/or possible restrictions applied by the various service providers (museums, monuments, national parks, etc.). For example:
- Prepare one-way routes to avoid groups crossing whenever possible coordinating in any case with other tour guides.
- Avoid areas likely to be crowded.
- Avoid small spaces with limited capacity.
- Wherever feasible, a single point will be established for getting on and off the vehicle in areas with more tourism in order to facilitate information, application of health and hygiene regulations and control application. This point will be agreed with the administration.
- Walking tours and stops for explaining monuments must be done in open and/or wide spaces, respecting the safe distance.
- A maximum number of people to whom the service can be offered safely will be established.
- The tour guide should ask providers used for guidance of their service (e.g. accommodation, restaurants, museums, monuments, visitor centers, etc.) and especially for the applicable protocol for the prevention of health and hygiene risks with respect to COVID-19.
The office managers and tour guides will coordinate with suppliers in order to avoid crowding when groups arrive, for example:
- Sending the list of client documentation in advance.
- Handing out room keys inside the vehicle.
- Staggered entrance to the hotel/museum/monument.
- Setting up an appointment.
Pre-activity information and communication
The tour guide must:
- Have access to information on the location and contact details of medical and emergency care centers where a client with COVID-19 compatible symptoms can be referred.
The following preventive measures must be enforced:
Before starting the tour/visit;
- The tour guide should recall the preventive measures in place and urge compliance with them for the good and safety of our clients and others (no touching surfaces, keeping a safe distance, wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, etc.).
- The tour guide must inform the group of how the visit will be carried out, the route and the rules and/or possible restrictions applied by the various providers (museums, monuments, national parks, etc.).
- Forms of greeting that involve physical contact with the client should be avoided.
- One disposable cover per person should be used for microphones that may be used consecutively by several tour guides.
During the tour/visit;
- The tour guide will always appear calm and confident in applying this protocol. Clients will be reminded of complying with this protocol of measures during the tour.
- The tour guide authorization, which will always be worn visibly during the service, must be correctly sanitized.
- The tour guide who chooses to wear gloves must put them on in front of visitors and use them correctly, although hand washing before and after the visit and whenever equipment is shared is recommended.
- Properly disinfected or single-use headsets/whispers/radio guides should be used. If they are not single-use, the client will disinfect their hands before and after use. The client will return these devices, placing them all in a bag which will be sealed. Other alternatives can be considered, such as applications on the tourist’s mobile.
- Printed material such as maps, brochures, etc. will be avoided and replaced with digital material.
- The planned schedule will be respected as much as possible to avoid incidents. Improvisations affecting the development and itinerary of the visit should be avoided.
- The work of other colleagues and coordination with them must be respected, especially in places with narrow streets, access to monuments, etc.
- The safe distance between the tour guide and clients, and between clients themselves, will be maintained throughout the tour. If this is not possible, a mask will be used and clients will be encouraged to use one too. Clients will be informed of this.
After the tour and during the farewell;
- Avoid the use of cash and prioritize the use of cards or other electronic means, preferably contactless, when charging and paying for services and/or providers (e.g. pre-payment online). If cash is handled, hands should be washed or disinfected as soon as possible.
- Protective materials used (masks, gloves, etc.) must be disposed of properly.
The tour guide will consider the following aspects in terms of cleaning and disinfection;
- Using authorized disinfectant cleaning products safely and according to product safety guidelines.
- Increasing cleaning frequencies, especially in areas of greatest contact like car door handles and equipment.
PROFESSIONAL SAFARIS & SERVICES, PHOTOGRAPHERS AND TOUR SITE OPERATIONS SERVICES
All professional safari providers, photographers and beach operators will comply with the general provision under this protocol and in addition;
- Safari guides will carry sanitizer at all times and its regular use is encouraged.
- Guides and guests will wear appropriate PPES at all times.
- Additional disposable PPEs shall be made available in the vehicle for use at all times.
- Waste bins shall be available for the disposal of used PPEs.
- Maintain good personal grooming and ensure clothing is properly cleaned and ironed on a daily basis.
- Ensure vehicles used in guest transport are cleaned and sanitized after every passenger /group tour.
- Each Site Manager /Operator will appoint a Safety Officer responsible for temperature screening of site operators and clients before their interaction.
- Maintain a register of clients transported or who have interacted with the tour guides/Tour Site operators.
- Maintain appropriate and reliable list of emergency contacts for rapid assistance in case of health and safety related instances.
- Handling of cash will be minimized or eliminated and online mobile payment or credit/debit cards encouraged.
CARRYING CAPACITY OF TOURIST SERVICE VEHICLES
- The carrying capacity that ensures social distancing between guests travelling together, the maximum recommended capacity to be observed for each class of vehicle are as follows;
- Customized Tour Vehicles (Land cruisers and Vans) 7 occupants including the driver
- Mini Vans, Coasters and buses, fifty percent of carrying capacity as per the Ministry of Works &Transport (MoWT) guidelines.
- We will ensure that all tour arrangements consider the needs of persons with disabilities.
- We will choose service partners that are confirmed to comply with existing Government directives for the safe handling of guests.
- Keep a record of emergency contacts for rapid response services in case of COVID-19 suspected instances from designated Authorities.
Maintenance of cleanliness of the Tourist Service Vehicles on trips
- Ensure TSVs/Boats are sanitized frequently. Particular attention should be paid to disinfecting frequently touched areas and surfaces both internal and external such as door handles and arm rests.
- Third party cleaners and car washers should wear appropriate PPEs.
- Any provided water bottles or items should be used by one guest and avoid sharing
- Binoculars, telescopes and cameras should not to be shared and should be sanitized regularly.
- Particular attention shall be given to luggage disinfection before and after handling.
- All used PPEs (gloves, masks, tissues) and any other disposable material will be disposed of in a covered bin.
HANDLING COVID-19 CASES
If a guest or staff develops symptoms of acute respiratory infection, efforts will immediately be made to minimize contact of the person with all guests and staff. Management will follow the procedures in the action plan for the situation when a guest develops signs and symptoms indicative of COVID-19 as they contact the responsible health professionals.
- Separate the person from the other persons by at least 2m (6 ft) in a designated isolation area.
- Request the person to wear a mask and practice respiratory hygiene when coughing and sneezing. If the mask cannot be tolerated by the ill person, use a tissues to cover mouth and discard the tissue immediately into a biohazard disposal waste bag or place it into an intact plastic bag, seal it, and consider it “biohazard” waste; wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
- In case the person cannot wear a mask, direct contact with the ill person should be avoided unless wearing at least disposable gown, gloves, a mask, and eye protection.
- When attending to a guest or staff coming from an affected area who displays fever, persistent cough, or difficulty breathing, always use additional protective equipment, including mask, eye protection, gloves, and a gown.
- Remove PPE carefully to avoid contaminating yourself. First remove gloves and gown, do hand hygiene; next remove the mask and eye protection, and immediately wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Properly dispose of gloves and other disposable items that had contact with the person’s body fluids in biohazard bag or a secured plastic bag, which will be considered as “biohazard” waste.
Case of an affected worker
- If a member of the staff reports respiratory symptoms, the staff must immediately stop work and seek medical assistance. The staff should stay isolated in a suitable room while the medical services are being notified.
- Staffs who report from home that they are ill with respiratory symptoms should be advised to stay at home and seek medical attention.
- Staff who report from home that they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 should follow the instructions received from the health authorities, including the recommendation of self-isolation at home until fully healed.
Case of an affected guest
- If the person affected is a guest, continued stay of the sick person in the establishment is not recommended. The person can be isolated in a room on a temporary basis until the intervention of local health authorities, and provided the room is not shared with other guests. No visitors should be permitted to enter the room occupied by the affected guest.
- Depending on the availability of rooms, accompanying persons, if any, should be moved to a different room.
- Measures for the management of contacts can be referred to the health authority interim guidance on home care for patients with COVID-19 presenting with mild symptoms and management of their contacts.