The pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on hotels in Brussels, according to a new report which says occupancy rates at many are a tiny fraction of this time last year.
The Belgian capital’s hotels have ground to a halt, with tourists staying away from the country which is set to be added to the UK’s list of nations which must quarantine for two weeks on arrival.
But some hotels elsewhere are fighting back by introducing a long list of measures designed to minimise the risk posed to guests.
One such place is Hotel De Blanke Top, just over the Belgian-Dutch border, which has taken several steps, at significant cost, to protect both customers and staff.
A source at the Dutch Hotels Association paid tribute to such efforts, saying,”It is good that some businesses in the sector are going the extra mile to keep going at the present time and to protect people. This costs money of course but it is all vital.”
A spokesman for the hotel told this website, “We have received many questions whether our hotel may open and it goes without saying that the health of our guests and team is our top priority.”
According to Dutch government guidelines hotels in the Netherlands are now allowed to open. De Blanke Top followed suit but not without first going to some lengths to ensure safety and to prevent risks of contamination and spread of the virus.
Centre-piece of its Covid-free approach is the necessity for social distancing which, as the spokesman says, “was a concept that nobody had heard of until recently, but is now part of our daily life.”
“We place high priority on the health and safety of our guests and employees and have made every effort to prevent risks of contamination and spread. In order to receive people as safely as possible, the hotel is fully adapted to the new situation. Everything has been thought of and we meet all guidelines for a carefree and safe stay.”
The hotel provides information about COVID-19 and management instructions, including on improved cleaning and hygiene protocol and regular disinfection of exposed surfaces such as door handles, card terminals and lift buttons with antibacterial fluids.
A spokesman for the hotel, located at Cadzand-Bad, said, “We offer our guests disinfectant dispensers in public areas.”
New measures have also been put in place in its restaurants where people are asked now to wait in the indicated place until being shown to their table.
“Everyone must keep 1.5 meters apart, both our employees and guests. To maintain sufficient distance, we serve at an appropriate distance, after which the diner can grab the order themselves.”
People are asked to preferably pay with a pin or contactless.
The hotel is particularly well situated, with plenty of social distancing available on the beach outside and is large enough to ensure the 1.5m rule can be easily observed.
The spokesman said, “All guidelines will be followed to ensure contagion risks are lowered and our hotel and restaurant remains with enhanced cleaning and hygiene and regular risk assessments. Everyone’s health is crucial.”