The Scottish Government Endorses the cleaning protocols below that have been prepared for self-catering and short-term let properties by the Professional Association of Self-Caterers UK, the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) and Premier Cottages Ltd. The work was also supported and received input from the Tourism Alliance, The Wales Tourism Alliance, The Scottish Tourism Alliance and the Wales Association of Self-Catering Operators.
Background to COVID-19
COVID-19 is a disease which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which can be passed via respiratory secretions (i.e. saliva), and which can successfully live for up to 2 to 3 days on certain surfaces. COVID-19 is an “enveloped” virus, meaning that it is surrounded by a protective layer of
fats and proteins.
COVID-19 can be transferred via hands from one surface to another. By touching a surface which has traces of COVID-19 on it, and then touching your face or eyes, you may become infected with COVID-19.
Soap and hand sanitiser are effective at denaturing the fats and proteins surrounding the virus, and therefore good ways to kill the virus.
COVID-19 can live on some common household surfaces for up to 3 days. Information and knowledge is evolving all the time. Currently it is thought that the virus can live for up to:
2-3 hours in the air
Up to 4 hours on copper
Up to 24 hours on cardboard, glass and metal
Up to 2 or 3 days on plastic and stainless steel
Therefore, these surfaces need to be disinfected before they are safe to touch. All surfaces which are touched frequently, such as light switches, door handles, kitchen surfaces, and bathroom surfaces should be regularly disinfected.
You may want to consider increasing the time required to clean, or indeed leave properties empty between guests. Individual property owners or managers will have to make a professional judgement.
There is no requirement to leave a property empty for 72 hours.
We recommend that government guidelines are followed in reference to protective clothing for cleaners and housekeepers.
Cleaners should consider wearing disposable gloves, aprons and masks,
where appropriate, which should be changed between cleans.
Cleaners should also wash their hands frequently or use hand sanitiser.
For each changeover, cleaners should follow these steps:
1. Risk Assessment
(cleaning companies may have their own particular guidelines and risk assessment protocols)
2. Load reduction: removal of waste
3. Deep cleaning process to remove any residual dirt on surfaces etc
4. Professional disinfection: removes the unseen virus and leaves the space safe.
The core principle of this guidance is risk management. Therefore, all operators should conduct a risk assessment of their property.
Broadly speaking a risk assessment involves identifying potential risks within a property, and taking active steps to mitigate those risks.
One size does not fit all: Whilst every business and property’s requirements are different, the issues raised here are those which most will have in common. It will be up to you to identify your businesses specific risks and the mitigation required. After all you know your business better than anyone else.
The basic steps for undertaking a risk assessment are as follows:
1. Look: for the points of transmission for Covid-19, i.e. the touch points.
2. Decide: the likelihood of transmission via that touch point.
3. Evaluate: whether your current regime is sufficient or whether you need to more and whether it is ‘reasonably practicable’ i.e. you may now need to wipe with a disinfectant cleaner all the door handles, which is reasonably practicable, but it will not be reasonably practicable to wipe down the garden gate!
4. Record: your findings and draw up a simple list of guidance points for the person/s who are going to do the cleaning, even if it is yourself.
5. Review: as the danger of the virus recedes you may want to gradually alter your regime, e.g. reduce the rate of disinfection or re-introduce removed items.
Guidelines For Cleaning
The following steps will minimise the risk of the people responsible for cleaning, contracting the virus and ensuring the accommodation is safe for new guests.
1. Carry out a Risk Assessment. This can be done in advance and there can be protocols put in place.
2. Ask guests to air the property during the stay and to strip beds / bag up linen on departure.
3. Provide the correct protective clothing and cleaning products for the cleaners.
4. Cleaners should follow the following process:
a. Ensure the rooms/property is ventilated whilst cleaning. If it is safe to do so, and won’t compromise insurance policies, suggest that guests leave windows open prior to departure. This will ensure that there is no air borne virus in the property.
b. Understand the clean level required and have the appropriate equipment.
c. Wear the appropriate protective clothing (gloves, apron and mask where
d. Prepare the area to be cleaned (reducing the load) – remove waste, remove dirty linen and towels and carry out any initial cleaning required (ie load dishwasher, clear out fridge for leftovers, clear surfaces, etc).
e. Bedding & Linen: Use gloves to remove dirty linen carefully directly into bags (if it has not been stripped by guests). Linen should not be shaken in case viruses are dispersed through the air. Ensure it is removed from the property prior to cleaning. Clean pillow and mattress protectors should be used for each changeover. Bedding should be sprayed with disinfectant or pillows and duvets can be rotated (removed and left bagged for 72 hours between use). Remove gloves and dispose of them after stripping beds. Wash hands. Apply clean gloves before putting the clean linen on the beds.
f. The same applies to towels, bathmats, tea towels and any other removable linen items.
g. Disposal of waste: waste of any kind should be placed in a plastic bag, tied and removed from the property and disposed of in an external bin. Hazardous waste should be disposed of according to government or council guidelines.
h. Clean using general cleaning products – or hot soapy water. We suggest that all crockery, cutlery, glassware is put through the dishwasher to ensure virus free if possible. Alternatively wash in hot soapy water.
i. Disinfect using appropriate products and ensuring it is left on the surface for the
required time to kill the virus: make sure the product will work on enveloped
viruses. Look for EN14675 or EN14476 and follow manufacturers guidelines, some products can be misted onto soft furnishings.
j. Wash hands fully after the removal of protective clothing. Hand sanitiser can be used if hot running water is not available.
Guidance for Operators and Hosts
Operators or Hosts should:
Keep contact with guests to a minimum, adhering to current social distancing guidelines.
Where contact is inevitable (e.g. if checking passports/IDs is part of guest check in), operators or hosts should wear protective clothing and maintain a safe social distance.
Consider using contact-free check in methods, such as key safes, wherever possible, although they must be mindful that such methods still pose a contamination risk.
Consider installing a hand sanitiser station at the entrance to the property.
Advising guests that you have taken extra steps and letting them know that you have taken all possible steps to protect them and clean the property suitably is important.
Consider providing a cleaning standard tick list for transparency for the incoming guest.
All properties should have adequate supply of cleaning materials, including virucidal disinfectant, tissues, hand wash and/or sanitiser and cloths, disposable gloves for guests use.
Guests should be able and encouraged to maintain the cleanliness of the property during their stay.
Guest Information Folders should be stored in wipeable plastic folders or laminated. Where possible, consider providing these online or via email in advance of a guests arrival.
The above has been quoted from the cleaning protocols prepared for self-catering and short-term let properties by the Professional Association of Self-Caterers UK, the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) and Premier Cottages Ltd. The work was also supported and received input from the Tourism Alliance, The Wales Tourism Alliance, The Scottish Tourism Alliance and the Wales Association of Self-Catering Operators.