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WATCH: Checking into a hotel during the pandemic

At Emdoneni Lodge, staff are not allowed to enter your room. Picture: Clinton Moodley.

At Emdoneni Lodge, staff are not allowed to enter your room. Picture: Clinton Moodley.

Published Oct 22, 2020


I am a bunch of nerves driving to Hluhluwe on a gloomy Saturday morning. As a Top 40 song blasts on my radio, I am concerned about checking into a hotel during the pandemic. I ask myself, "Will the room be sanitised and clean?"

"Will guests wear a mask?"

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"Will I feel safe?"

These questions have been on my mind since South Africa opened leisure travel. And, I'm certain it has been on the minds of many South Africans who yearn to travel during the pandemic.

I arrive at Emdoneni Lodge prepared for the worst and hoping for the best. A few days earlier, the 3-star establishment sent me a Covid-19 questionnaire that I needed to complete before my arrival.

During check-in, which is a speedy process, I get my temperature checked, and it is written down in a form with other guests' temperatures. The staff sanitise everything in front of you, which lessens my Covid-19 fear.

I am handed my keys and given a rundown on the Covid-19 procedures implemented at the lodge.

The staff are not allowed to enter your room, so there is no turndown service. The wearing of masks is compulsory.

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There's also a list of other protocols printed on a piece of paper in my room. I read that at my leisure.

After the Covid-19 introduction, I feel at ease. I know what to expect from the hotel and what rules I need to abide.

Watch from 00.35 to 2.58

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What to do when checking in

Despite feeling at ease with the Covid procedures, I ensure that my room is sanitised again before use. I carry an extra bottle of sanitiser to spray on all the surfaces I will be using for the duration of the trip, from the side tables, the dressing table, the handles of doors and chairs and the bathroom.

It may seem like a tedious task, but something that will protect you.

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Do the same at the restaurant or when you are going on activities.

While some establishments within the South African tourism sector are ensuring that they are Covid-19 safe, it's the traveller's responsibility to ensure that the rules are being followed.

If you check into an accommodation that isn't following the protocols, then you need to report it to FEDHASA and tourism information centres in that area. FEDHASA is the national trade association for the hospitality industry that include accommodation and catering sectors.

Also, share your views on online sites to make other travellers wary.

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