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Coronavirus?... Implications for self catering holidays

Southclay Holidays in North Devon has just committed to ensuring there is a three day break between bookings to enable deep cleaning and to ensure at least 72 hours for any residual virus to become inactive before new guests arrive this Spring. With world economies going into meltdown this week, the timescale of the Coronavirus COVIOD-19 pandemic is just starting to dawn. The travel industry will undoubtedly be hit hard but a self-catering unit offers a really good option to escape the tedium of hunkering down and isolating at home.

Self-catering as a good holiday option this Spring:

  1. The only people in the property will be a family or small group that all know each other. Unlike hotels, there is no communal space shared with other groups, this reduces the likelihood of cross-infection;
  2. No international travel is required so travel can be made securely by private car reducing the risk of cross infection from airports, stations, boats, trains and planes.
  3. If we are going to limit exposure and isolate ourselves, why not make it quality time in a fabulous environment? Don't climb the walls at home - enjoy a break!
  4. Self-catering allows us to escape outdoors as Spring approaches. Research indicates the virus does not last long outside due to exposure to sunlight and the beaches and moorland of North Devon are delightful at this time of year. Our cycle trails and footpaths are calling you!

The primary worry for holiday cottage owners (and their guests) is whether the virus could have been carried into the home by previous guests. How long will it remain present? There has been much discussion on how long the Coronavirus COVOID-19 can remain active.

The Journal of Hospital Infection in America reported that the virus could remain infectious for as little as 2 hours @ 30 degrees centigrade – but longer at lower temperatures (possibly up to 28 days @ 4 degrees centigrade. Essentially, the warmer the room, the shorter the virus remained active. UK Government advice says that the virus is likely to have ‘decreased significantly’ after 72 hours.

FOR MARCH, APRIL and MAY... until we have more information and understanding of the spread of the virus, our commitment to our guests is

  • Thorough and deep cleaning between bookings (see below)
  • Keeping the heating turned up between bookings
  • At least three days clear (72 hours) between guests departing and the next party arriving

Cleaning materials at Southclay Holidays, North Devon      Hand washing for Coronavirus protection at Southclay Holidays

Of course, we have already done a deep Spring-clean and have freshened-up and painted as usual prior to the new season starting but we are following the advice below for sanitising a holiday let between guests:

  1. Properly clean your own hands and cleaning equipment before you start – especially mopheads, washcloths and dusters. (Use clean cloths for each area)
  2. Put on clean gloves
  3. Double clean all hard surfaces:
    1. Wash and clean surfaces first using hot water and detergent
    2. Clean again, this time using anti-bacterial (60% alcohol) agent or bleach. NB: For the most effective results, leave the surface wet with antibacterial spray or bleach for a couple of minutes before rinsing/drying/polishing it
    3. Give priority to all ‘high-touch’ and horizontal areas.  High-touch areas include things like: taps; all switches, sockets, control buttons and all handles: doors, wardrobes, fridges, ovens, toasters, microwave, kettle, washing machine, dishwasher etc.; TV remote control, salt and pepper pots;  and any pull cords. Horizontal surfaces include everything from tables, dining chair backs, windowsills, worktops and loo seats, to bed head and tail boards. Don't forget all bins, waste and recycle bins and any outdoor furniture.
  4. Put all cutlery, crockery, pans and utensils through the dishwasher at the highest temperature (don’t assume previous guests have done this). Do this first so that it can run while you carry on with the rest of the cleaning
  5. A virus remains active on soft surfaces for less time, but fabrics should be washed wherever possible. All bedlinen should be ironed.
  6. Give some thought to the content of welcome packs and supplies provided, e.g. food packaging that could have been handled prior to purchase and make sure these are clean too.
  7. Make a Checklist: It’s a good idea to write down your new ‘deep clean’ checklist. Not only will this ensure you do a thorough job, but if you get an insurance claim against you, you can show that you took every precaution to mitigate infection and safeguard your insurance policy.

In addition, at Southclay and The Annex we will temporarily remove any books, toys, puzzles and games which cannot be cleaned satisfactorily, we will steam clean all hard floors; ensure the hot tubs are emptied, thoroughly cleaned and refilled and the pool table and cues, table tennis table and bats and the tennis rackets are all cleaned between bookings.

Advice primarily remains to wash hands regularly. Our properties have unlimited hot water 24-7 and we will ensure guests have generous supplies of soap!