Maryculter House Hotel

Aberdeen’s hospitality reputation can easily be rebuilt says safety expert

Embracing the new rules

Hotels, bars and restaurants who have embraced the new COVID-19 health and safety rules, are ready to rebuild the city’s hospitality reputation, says a leading safety expert.

Craig Cooper, who runs Safetynet, a health and safety consultancy based in Aberdeen and covering Scotland, has supported numerous hotels and restaurants in the city as they have implemented new health and safety practices in order to comply with new regulations and become COVID 19 secure.

Mandatory Government Guidance 

Guidance issued by the Scottish Government makes it mandatory for all business to carry out risk assessments for COVID-19, in the same way as they would for other health and safety hazards. As well as managing social distancing, capacity control and increased robust cleaning systems, facilities are expected to manage queues, ensure face coverings are worn and comply with limitations on households mixing. Additional COVID-19 guidance also calls for a check on ventilation quality, with improvements where necessary, and a robust track and trace system. All these requirements need to be assessed, written down, where there are five or more staff, and implemented into the staff training regime.

Mr Cooper said: “We have been impressed by the way hospitality owners and managers have taken the new guidelines on board. The most important thing is to think about the risk. When you say risk assessment, many people think of onerous paperwork, but instead it is really about considering the way the business operates and identifying sensible measures to control the risks of the virus spreading. Safetynet provide a simple online safety management system to help staff develop effective risk assessments, which can then be shared with other staff members to ensure all workers are aware of potential risks.”

Amongst the additional measures taken by hotels is the management of common touch points – such as the removal of tourist literature or magazines in bedrooms. Many hotels have also removed mini bars from rooms to reduce risk.

Safety of guests and staff a proirity

Peter Walker, Managing Director of Maryculter House Hotel commented: “Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our guests and staff has always been and continues to be our highest priority and as part of that commitment we worked with Safetynet to thoroughly audit the hotel and its practices. As a result, we now have a comprehensive online and paper safety system and have introduced additional measures in every area of our operations. As well as being confident that all measures are being taken, it is important that our customers feel that they can come to the hotel and feel safe and sound.

“We’re a popular wedding venue which we take great pride in , and whilst the numbers allowed to be in the wedding party has reduced, we know that a wedding during the pandemic holds even more significance so we make sure the bride and groom and their guests have a wonderful time, and feel safe doing so.

Courtyard Afternoon tea Champagne Riverview min 1

 A careful examination of process and procedures

When we brough in Safetynet to support us, Craig and I walked around the hotel, visiting every area and spent a great deal of time identifying every potential risk. We then discussed this with the team at Maryculter House, to get their insight of what happens on a daily basis. It is important to involve the staff who will be managing the systems every day.

“We have now implemented new high level COVID-19 working practices. Our teams wear masks, gloves for handling luggage and additional PPE as required. We have adapted our staff areas so that our teams can practice physical distancing with measures including a one-way system for food service. Our chefs operate in separate sections of the kitchen and we have staggered staff breaks.

Enhance cleaning

“There are strict routines of hand washing and sanitising equipment and we have adapted working patterns for our staff to minimise contact.

“We have enhanced, thorough cleaning throughout the day, focusing on high contact surfaces, seating, tables and equipment - using COVID-specific anti-viral products. We have signage for physical distancing and hand sanitisers have been placed throughout the hotel for customer use.

“Even with ongoing changes to regulations, I am 100% confident that Maryculter House has done everything possible to ensure the safety of customers and we know from our visitors and guests that they feel safe coming into the hotel, enjoying our riverside location and the traditional, high standard hospitality experience we always strive for.”

A positive outlook

Mr Walker and his team embraced the new rules, Mr Cooper said. “With Peter at the helm of the hotel and a beautiful refurbishment underway, Maryculter House is ideally positioned to build on its reputation as a first-class Deeside hotel. Of course, the pandemic and government restrictions are challenging for all hospitality businesses, but the response of Peter Walker and his team, and other hotels and restaurants we have worked with across the city, indicate that our business owners are more than up to the challenge.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, Aberdeen’s hospitality venues came under fire, but I am in no doubt that most businesses across the city are following the very latest safety guidelines and are more than ready to safely welcome back customers.”

 

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