Having a carefree sunshine holiday in a Spanish hotel will never be the same once Brits are allowed to travel again in the after-math of the coronavirus pandemic.
Official instructions to "allow the opening of hotels provided common areas are sealed off" are just the tip of a very deep iceberg, which will see extensive health and safety measures so stringent that they are hard to imagine.
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But the Spanish government says the rules have to be followed by hotel staff and guests alike if the tourism industry is to get back to any kind of "new normality" and avoid new waves of the deadly COVID-19.
Spain has now had 27,321 deaths as a result of coronavirus and they is putting a two-week quarantine on international arrivals into the country from tomorrow.
Health experts from the Institute for Spanish Tourist Quality have published extensive compulsory requirements to allow Spain's hotels to fully reopen whilst an even more comprehensive report, with guidelines only, has been issued by Hosbec – the hotel association for the Costa Blanca and Valencia.
Here are just 20 of the very surprising rules hotel guests and employees, from reception to cleaners, will need to follow:
1. Hotel clients will have to walk over disinfectant mats as they enter the lobby to clean their footwear.
2. There will be social distancing throughout the hotel, including the reception where floor signs will indicate where to stand – so expect even longer queues to check-in.
3. If you arrive by car, you probably won't find a valet to park it for you and if you want luggage taken to room, it will need to be wiped down and disinfected.
4. There will be no handshakes or hugs between clients or staff, no matter how many times you have been to the same hotel.
5. When signing in at reception, you won't be able to use their pen. If you do, it will be disinfected every time.
6. You can only go up in the lift with your close family. If strangers are present, you will have to wear a mask.
7. Staff will almost certainly be wearing protective gear, masks and gloves which they will change on numerous occasions. Their uniforms will have to be washed every day and their day clothes put into sealed bags. Every personal possession, from their mobile phones to glasses, will need disinfecting.
8. There will be disinfectant gels and hand-washing facilities everywhere.
9. You won't be able to stay in your room whilst the maid (in masks and gloves, of course) cleans it..
10. Throwing your dirty clothes and towels on the floor will be a n no. You will have to put them in sealed bag for the maids to collect in a second sealed bag.
Leaving your underwear anywhere is definitely out and the same hygiene rules apply.
11. The hotel's communal toilets will be cleaned and disinfected at least six times a day. Fluffy towels will disappear in favour of disposable paper ones.
12. You won't be able to pass a good book on to your holiday companion. Unless they can be properly disinfected, that great read will be put into quarantine for a week.
13. Everything in your room will be completely disinfected, from the bathroom furniture to the telephone, lamps and toilet brush.
14. Mini bars will disappear unless the hotel can absolutely guarantee they can be properly disinfected after guests switch over. Non-essential furnishings will be removed, such as rugs and pictures because of the danger of spreading germs.
15. Payments in the hotel must be made via cards or electronic means. Cash will be frowned upon.
16. Every time you go out, you will have to leave your room card or keys at reception where they will be disinfected.
17. Don't bother looking for the salt, pepper or oils in the restaurant. There won't be any. And there will be no inter-mingling with other guests as everyone will need to sit apart.
18. The hotel's ironing service will be limited or non-existent. Spare blankets and pillows will be kept in protective bags and the hair dryer will be regularly disinfected.
19. Gyms will have very strict hygiene measures, with significant breaks between exercise classes and weights, fitness balls, dumbbells etc will be vetoed if the hotel can't guarantee cleanliness.
20. And if you play golf, the game will be VERY different as well with no raking of the bunkers, each player will have to disinfect their own golf balls, there will be no sharing buggies and no touching the flags which will remain in the holes all the time.
The Spanish government has also issued strict guidelines for the way hotel restaurants are run, such as no help yourself buffets.
Detailed guidance has yet to be issued about the use of hotel swimming pools and sunbathing areas.
It's also likely that holidaymakers will be recommended to use masks during their stay as will all the hotel staff, from the receptionists to waiters.
On top of all this, your entire journey from the airport to the hotel and then back will be governed by similar hygiene rules.
Earlier today, it was revealed thatBrits returning to Magaluf will still face strict new rules on boozing – despite hotels being desperate for tourists.
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