WATCH: Indaba Hotel reveals what goes into becoming a quarantine hotel
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The Indaba Hotel in Fourways is currently operating as a quarantine hotel facility for repatriated South African residents.
The hotel is among many hotel groups who have turned their businesses to quarantine hotels during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement by Indaba Hotel, they revealed that they had a day’s notice to prepare their bedrooms and gather the necessary resources before the guests arrived on Friday, May 1.
Crystal Muller, the hotel's marketing administrator, explains the process.
"We met on Friday for briefings from the South African Government Department of Health and got all of the correct standard operating procedures in place. For example, there are now on-site healthcare providers to conduct regular testing for Covid-19 symptoms,” said Muller.
The Indaba Hotel staff have also had to adjust their skill sets. Steve Smit, the banqueting manager, now acts as a health and safety officer for repatriation groups.
"The most important part of making us Covid-19 ready was conducting comprehensive risk assessments for every process and employee in the workplace. These were then translated into Safe Working Procedures, and we had intense training sessions,” said Smit.
He said a great deal of ongoing research is conducted to ensure that the hotel adheres to world-class protocols to keep everyone safe.
“We require hundreds of litres of alcohol-based sanitiser to clean every surface that guests or staff come into contact with and compliance with set protocols is also strictly monitored,” he added. Thuli Ntuli, the sous chef, knows all about adjustment. She is hard at work as the mealtime miracle worker. She reveals the new working protocols.
Alain Yon, the assistant food and beverage manager, is currently heading up the room service and meal deliveries for repatriation groups. "My job has changed drastically in the way we have to handle guests now known as PUI's (Person Under Investigation). There is no normal 'personal touch' with each guest now. Something hoteliers are well known for! We have had to adjust."
"Preparing food for quarantine has been very difficult because everything has changed. When the delivery arrives, we sanitise all the packages, even the hands and feet of drivers before they are allowed in the kitchen. The chefs are wearing masks and gloves all the time, but we change gloves regularly as we move to another task. For example, if I am buttering rolls, I would wash and sanitise my hands, put on gloves and then start working with the rolls. After that, I'll wash and sanitise to put on a new set of gloves to start the next task.
“Masks are changed three times during a single shift and we sanitise our work stations after every task. We have always followed these processes, but it is now done more frequently. Everybody is pulling their weight and doing the best they can under the difficult circumstances we are all facing,” said Ntuli.
The hotel has also created a WhatsApp community to provide immediate support and for guests to get to know each other.
Although quarantined guests can't share much at the moment, they do share their voices. At 6 pm every evening a resounding round of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika lifts everyone's spirits. It proves home is where the heart is. The hotel has unlimited wifi, perfect for Zoom workouts or Netflix binges.