Opening Self-Catering Safely After Lockdown
Published 13th July 2020 / updated 21st October 2020 / Updated 13th November 2020
We have enjoyed being open after the lockdown earlier in 2020. We took our time to research, read and understand how to open up in the best ans safest way for our guests and our housekeepers. We want to be as honest and transparent about all of the changes we have made, to ensure guests and the local community feel as comfortable as possible, as we operate. We welcome all questions about how we are approaching this and we hope the below can offer some guidance. To check availability and book our holiday homes click here
Current restrictions for bookings. As per Scottish Governments guidance, we can only accept bookings if guests are all from one household. Visit the Scottish Government website for the latest restrictions
As of 13th November 2020, The holiday apartments are all located in Fife which is a Tier 3. Guests should only be travelling for essential purposes such as work, and people in lower tiers should not be staying/visiting tier 3 or 4. The tiers are updated each Tuesday by the Scottish Government. We are not able to accommodate guests who are travelling from England until after the 2nd December (subject to lockdown being lifted), or from areas within Scotland where travelling from is not allowed
Contact-free booking and check-in/check-out
- Bookings can only be made in advance in the following ways: directly on our website, through email or using one of the online travel agents we are displayed on including, Embrace Scotland, Visit Scotland, AirBnB, HomeAway, TripAdvisor and Booking.Com
- Before guests arrival, they will be provided with details to access the keys from a lock box and how to access the property, including other important information. Check in is from 4pm on the day of arrival.
- On check-out, guests are to leave by 10am, and to follow the instructions provided for locking up.
- Bookings must be made at least 2 days in advance of the stay, to ensure that the property is cleaned and ready.
Cleaning procedures- housekeeping
- We are working with our housekeeping team to keep them safe during each changeover and to ensure they understand the new procedures in place
- Staff have completed training on the new cleaning procedures based on the official guidance, set out by ASSC and supported by the Scottish Government for holiday homes
- Staff are provided with appropriate PPE to wear during cleaning
- We have adopted a Green, Amber, Red clean method. Green; means the holiday homes have been empty for 4+ days, Amber; apartment has been recently vacated – less than 4 days and Red; someone has departed with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 Symptoms. All high touch surfaces (handles, switches etc) will be cleaned and sanitised regardless of the level of clean but additional measures will be taken at each phase to ensure the holiday homes are cleaned and sanitised. This is on top of the standard clean the holiday homes would receive.
- Cutlery, crockery and glasses will be put through the dishwasher during changeover for Amber and Red cleans, additional kitchen items will be checked as normal for cleanliness, and it is up to the individual guest if they would like to clean these again before use.
- New and additional cleaning equipment and materials, including cleaning products that are certified to kill coronavirus (BS EN1276 / 5-log reduction) are being used.
- Providing signed checklists for guests to see what has been done in the apartment during clean
- Linen is washed at 60 degrees
- We have acquired the industry standard mark “We’re Good To Go” – meaning that we are following government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, we have a risk assessment in place and processes to maintain cleanliness and social distancing. Certificate and risk assessments are available on each of the property pages
- We have stopped same-day changeovers for the foreseeable future, we now have a 30 hour gap (minimum) between guest stays
- We have removed some extra items from the apartments that are unable to be cleaned/sanitised regularly, due to the type/material of the item and also due to time restraints.
- We have created a signage board – whilst not in keeping with the historical aspects of the property, this board will allow information to easily be seen, read and cleaned. Allowing guests to have easy access to important information we hope will provide all the key information needed for a safe and enjoyable stay, and will reduce the amount of “emergency call outs” for simple questions – reducing face to face contact
- Duplicated welcome folders – so if needed they can be cleaned removed and swapped for the second copy between stays
- We will still provide tea, coffee, sugar in canisters, what is not used will be thrown out and canisters washed and re-filled for each guest. To limit waste we will not fill these to the top.
- Salt, pepper and oil will still be provided – and bottles/grinders cleaned and sanitised between stays
- We will still provide welcome baskets – though unlikely in the basket
- As per Scottish Government guidance, we will be asking guests a couple of pre-stay health questions to ensure that they are healthy before their visit.
How guests can help
In order to keep the apartments safe we are asking guests to do a couple of things during their stay, including:
- Ventilating holiday homes throughout stay
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly, as they would at home – the cleaning materials/products are available in the apartments
- Strip bedding, before departure and bag up in linen bags provided – this will make a huge difference for our housekeepers, and we are grateful for guests help with this.
- Remove rubbish from the property and use outside bins and/or local recycling facilities where possible.
- If symptomatic contact Test & Protect NHS Inform / 0800 028 2816 and contact Fife Historic Buildings Trust to advise ASAP
- Follow Scottish Government guidance when in property and when out in the community / local area
- Remove any extra food/condiments, as they cannot be left for the next guests
We now have Master Cancel for bookings made after 1st August 2020, allowing for flexible cancellation.
- Cancellations: If you are needing to cancel your booking, please contact Fife Historic Buildings Trust by email to confirm in writing. Please do this as soon as possible, so we can try to re-let the dates. Cancellations will be handled in either way:For bookings made after 7th August 2020
• Fife Historic Buildings Trust requires a minimum 25% deposit with initial booking. The only exception to this rule is bookings via OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies like Airbnb and VRBO).
• Fife Historic Buildings Trust requires any balance owed by guest is due no later than 30 days before check in date. The only exception to this rule is bookings via OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies like Airbnb and VRBO).
That the maximum trip cost reimbursement is $25,000 USD. Bookings with a trip cost more than $25,000 USD do not qualify for Master Cancel.
Bookings with trip costs over $25,000 will need to purchase optional travel protection for coverage benefits.
• That the maximum trip length is 180 days. Bookings with a trip length more than 180 days do not qualify for Master Cancel.
• Reimbursements: Only lodging costs are refunded. Additional extras, including but not limited to cleaning fees, taxes and other ancillary charges, will not be refunded.
• Refund Payments for cancelled bookings 61 days or more before check in date will be released to the cancelling guest within 5 days of when the cancellation is made.
• Refund Payments for cancelled bookings from 60 days up to and including 2 days before check in date will be released back to the cancelling guest on the scheduled date of check-out of the original booking.
• Cancellations made 1 day prior to or the day of check-in will not be eligible for refund. Example: For a check in on Saturday, Guests could cancel the prior Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but not Friday (1 day prior) or Saturday (day of check in).
• Guests may cancel their reservation by notifying their property management company in writing that they wish to cancel.
Rescheduling: We understand that sometimes stays have to be post-poned. If this is the case and you would like to reschedule your dates, please get in contact as soon as possible, where it is possible we will re-locate your date. It is likely that the rate may be increased/decreased, you will be charged the correct rate for the new dates and an invoice will be provided with the updated rates. To reschedule, you will need to do this, at least 14 days before your original arrival date
What if guests develop symptoms during their stay
Below information has been taken directly from Scottish Government website (accessed 09.07.20) Click here for latest guidance
In the event that a guest develops symptoms whilst staying away from home, they should immediately book a test through NHS Inform or, if they can’t get online. by phoning 0800 028 2816.
In accordance with Test and Protect, people with symptoms are required to self-isolate for at least 7 days, and everyone in their household should isolate for 14 days. If the test is negative, everyone can end isolation. If the test is positive, everyone should continue to isolate, and the NHS Test and Protect team will be in touch to start contact tracing. Those contacted through the Test and Protect programme will be required to self-isolate for at least 14 days.
If guests who are isolating can travel home safely to isolate, avoiding the use of public transport, they should do this.
In the event that this is not possible, the guest should discuss this with the NHS Test and Protect team. The guest may be signposted to the National Assistance Helpline on 0800 111 4000 if they need help to isolate and cannot arrange it themselves or through friends and family.
In some circumstances further discussion may be required with the local Health Protection Team and local authority to ensure that the person has suitable accommodation to isolate safely and effectively.
After the required period of self-isolation, guests and anyone else in their party who has been affected can then return to their main place of residence.
Note from Fife Historic Buildings Trust: If guests are unable to travel home safely to isolate or are unable to find other accommodation, please let Fife Historic Buildings Trust know, if possible we may be able to extend your stay, however the extended stay will be charged