Cottage House Inn - Lanesboro, Minn.
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COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for Cottage House Inn

The Cottage House Inn is committed to providing a safe and healthy place for all of our staff and guests. To ensure that, we have developed the following COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Managers and workers are all responsible for implementing this plan. Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in our workplace and communities, and that requires full cooperation among our owners, staff, and guests. Only through this cooperative effort can we establish and maintain the safety and health of our workplace.

Management and staff are responsible for implementing and complying with all aspects of this COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Our workers are our most important assets, and we are committed to keeping them working. Worker involvement is essential in developing and implementing a successful COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. We involved our workers in the preparedness process by asking them to research information from Hospitality MN, MN Department of Health, CDC, WHO, and other hospitality industry leaders and asking them to help write and edit the plan. Our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines, federal OSHA standards related to COVID-19 and Executive Order 20-48, and addresses:

  • hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • engineering and administrative controls for social distancing
  • customer (guest) controls and protections for check-in and check-out
  • housekeeping, including cleaning, disinfecting and decontamination
  • prompt identification and isolation of sick persons, guests and staff
  • communications and training that will be provided to all staff
  • management and supervision necessary to ensure effective implementation of the plan
  • Additional measures as outlined below:

Screening and policies for employees exhibiting signs and symptoms of COVID-19
Workers have been informed of and encouraged to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. The following policies and procedures are being implemented to assess workers’ health status prior to entering the workplace and for workers to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms.

  • Workers will take their temperature at home before reporting to work; they will communicate with management if their temperature is above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit and not come to work
  • If workers are sick, they will communicate via phone (voice or text) to management and not report to work
  • If workers develop symptoms during a shift, they will report this to management via phone or from a 6’ distance and immediately go home; management will disinfect where workers were working. “Information on persons who had contact with the ill employee during the time the employee had symptoms and two days prior to symptoms should be compiled. Others at the facility with close contact within six feet of the employee during this time would be considered exposed.” (CDC, 2020). Management will create the list of who may have been in contact with the sick worker while on duty.
    The Cottage House Inn has implemented leave policies that promote workers staying at home when they are sick, when household members are sick, or when required by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine themselves or a member of their household. Accommodations for workers with underlying medical ((Version 4 30 2020 (EO 2048)) conditions or who have household members with underlying health conditions have been implemented. These workers have been reassigned duties to office work only with minimal hours and shifts when no other people are in the main house where the office is located. Management is also able to complete many administrative duties by telecommuting.
  • The Cottage House Inn has also implemented a policy for informing workers if they have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 at their workplace and requiring them to quarantine for the required amount of time. The policy includes contacting all employees via a phone call who were potentially exposed. Instructions given to the employee include quarantining for the required amount of time per CDC current guidelines (around 14 days). Management will routinely call and check-in on the employee approximately every other day.
  • In addition, a policy has been implemented to protect the privacy of workers’ health status and health information. All health status communication will be made directly with the employee and not discussed with anyone else. If the employee can’t be reached via phone, attempts will be made until communication is completed with the employee.
  • No health information will be given to anyone other than the employee. The employee will be responsible for obtaining Covid-19 testing if needed, and the county health department will manage the case as needed.

Hand washing

  • Basic infection prevention measures are being implemented at our workplace at all times. Workers are instructed to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day, but especially at the beginning and end of their shift, prior to any mealtimes and after using the toilet. All guests to the facility will be asked to wash their hands prior to or immediately upon entering the facility.
  • Liquid soap, sink with cold and hot water, and paper towels are provided in the lobby restroom for people who enter the lobby. However, the lobby will be closed to guests indefinitely or only opened for small groups/families who have exclusive access to the lobby.
  • Liquid soap, sink with cold and hot water, and paper towels are provided in the employee-only restroom in the meeting room. There are MDH signs next to the sink to remind workers the importance of washing hands. Workers are encouraged to wash their hands at least every 30 minutes. Employees are encouraged to wash hands for 20 seconds.
  • Management is responsible for inventorying, ordering and stocking liquid soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer through various retailers.
  • If any customer/guest/delivery interaction occurs within a 6’ distance, employee will immediately wash hands and use a disinfectant wipe or spray to disinfect any surface, light switch or door knob that the employee touched after interaction with the customer/guest/delivery person.
  • The Cottage House Inn will supply hand-sanitizer dispensers (that use sanitizers of greater than 60% alcohol) for staff in the office and laundry room that can be used for hand hygiene in place of soap and water, as long as hands are not visibly soiled.
  • The Cottage House Inn will supply an automatic touch-free wall mount hand-sanitizer dispenser (that use sanitizers of greater than 60% alcohol) in the “addition” stairway (which is a shared space for guests in Rooms 12-15) and in the hallway by Rooms 1-3.

Face Mask Mandate

Under Executive Order 20-81 which started on 7/25/20, face coverings are mandated to be worn inside all businesses and public indoor spaces unless a person is alone in the space. Workers are also required to wear a mask outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained. Research has shown the use of face masks along with other measures, like social distancing, have reduced the risk of infection. Cottage House Inn staff will always wear a mask while indoors and while outside when a social distance cannot be maintained. Signage reminding visitors and staff of the mask mandate was posted in five different locations around the property on 7/23/20. For more information about this order, please visit https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/facecover.html .

Respiratory etiquette: Cover your cough or sneeze

Workers and guests are being instructed to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching their face, in particular their mouth, nose and eyes, with their hands. They should dispose of tissues in the trash and wash or sanitize their hands immediately afterward. Respiratory etiquette will be demonstrated on posters and supported by making tissues and trash receptacles available to all workers and visitors/guests.

  • Tissues and a trash can are provided in both the lobby and staff bathrooms and the office.
  • Tissues and a trash can are provided in all guestrooms.
  • A poster will be posted in the public and staff restrooms reminding people to cover their mouth, avoid touching their face, and wash their hands.
  • A poster will be posted in the lobby restroom encouraging mask use when not in your guestroom. However, the lobby is closed to guests indefinitely except for some guests that may have exclusive access to the lobby on certain dates.
  • Masks will be supplied to employees to use when cleaning or in contact with a guest.

Social distancing
Social distancing is being implemented in the workplace through the following engineering and administrative controls:

  • Employee shifts are reduced to only have 1-2 people working at one time
  • Staff is trained to maintain a minimum of six feet of distance between staff and guests
  • Provide six feet distance signage or instructions for employees and guests in each public space such as the stairwell for Rooms 12-15 and exterior decks/front porch
  • Any employee concerns will follow the communication plan of reporting concerns to the manager verbally over the phone or in person and in writing via email or text; manager will have one business day to reply to those concerns in person, over the phone or via email or text
  • Management will supply disposable or cloth masks; disposable one-time use nitrile gloves; reusable cleaning gloves, disinfectant cleaning supplies such as sanitizer tablets, bleach solutions, and disinfectant wipes
    • Masks and gloves must be worn during cleaning guestrooms and public spaces
    • Masks must also be worn when in close contact of co-workers and guests
    • Disinfectant cleaning supplies will be used when cleaning guest rooms, lobby and staff restrooms, public spaces, and high-touch items such as door knobs and light switches
  • Physical workplace changes include closures of public spaces including the lobby, breakfast room and meeting room; increased distance between porch furniture with signage to not move the porch furniture; removal of reusable cups in guestroom; addition of mini fridges with separate freezer doors in Rooms 10-14; installation of keypad locks on Rooms 10-15; removal of information folders, washcloth baskets, doilies, and guest journals from guestrooms
  • To ensure safety during delivery of items from postal workers, employees will know to have the postal worker put the box on the counter in the meeting room or on the front porch. If postal worker touches any surface, the employee will disinfect it.
  • Workers and guests (Version 4 30 2020 (EO 2048)) are prohibited from gathering in groups of ten or more people; this will be communicated to employees in verbal and written communication
  • Workers and guests are prohibited from gathering in confined areas, including stairwells, and from using other workers’ personal protective equipment, personal cell phones, or other personal work tools and equipment
    • When staff uses the office, they are to disinfect countertops, phone, keyboard, mouse, light switches and door knobs when ending their shift
    • Staff will each have their own cleaning caddy with their name on it to be used only by that staff member
    • Staff will have their own safety glasses, cloth mask and disposable and reusable gloves

Workplace building and ventilation protocol

Operation of the building in which the workplace is located, includes necessary sanitation, assessment and maintenance of building systems, including water, plumbing, electrical, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The maximum amount of fresh air is being brought into the workplace, air recirculation is being limited, and ventilation systems are being properly used and maintained. Steps are also being taken to minimize air flow blowing across people.

  • Central heating/cooling in public spaces is serviced and maintained through the year. Filters are replaced per HVAC system guidelines.
  • Guestrooms are ventilated by opening the windows the day after check-out.
  • Room heating/cooling units are serviced and maintained throughout the year. These units contain removable/washable filters that are cleaned routinely.

Housekeeping

Regular housekeeping practices are being implemented, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of work surfaces, equipment (ex. vacuum cleaner), cleaning caddies, and areas in the work environment, including restrooms, kitchen, public spaces, and entrances/exits. Frequent cleaning and disinfecting will be conducted in high-touch areas, such as phones, keyboard/mouse/printer, light switches, door handles, and railings.

  • Staff will first clean a guestroom and then will disinfect as the last step. A disinfectant wipe or disinfectant solution will be used to disinfect guestroom surfaces such as light switches, table surfaces, door knobs, lamp switches, A/C unit controls, window blind handle, and faucet handles as the employee leaves the room.
  • Staff will disinfect high-touch surfaces in public areas (such as the bike shed and stairwell) at least twice per day on guest-stay days which are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Disposable disinfectant wipes or a disinfectant solution will be used.
  • If a worker and/or guest is diagnosed with COVID-19, the guestroom will not be used for five days. When cleaning that guest room, staff will wear safety glasses, mask and disposable gloves and disinfect all surfaces as the first and last steps of cleaning. Public spaces such as the lobby, meeting room, and breakfast room will be closed (except in rare circumstances they are made available to a specific guest during specific dates), and surfaces will be disinfected with wipes or a bleach or sani-solution.
  • There will be no in-room housekeeping services during a guests’ stay. If a guest wants new towels, they will be requested and placed outside the guestroom door on the room’s deck chair. If a guests’ trash gets full, they will place the bag of trash or recycling outside their room door for staff to dispose of.
  • All linens (sheets, quilt, etc.) and towels from the guestrooms will be washed after every stay on hot water settings.
  • Guestrooms will be cleaned and disinfected following recent guidelines from the CDC, MN Department of Health, and state and national hospitality associations.

Additional measures addressed are as follows:

  1. additional protections and protocols for customers, clients, guests and visitors;
    1. Automatic hand-sanitizer dispenser is available in the shared stairway to rooms 12-15
    2. Face-mask signage was posted on 7/23/20 to prepare for the state-wide mandate effective on 7/25/20
    3. Face-mask mandate information was added to all guest confirmation and reminder emails on 7/23/20
  2. additional protections and protocols for face coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE);
    1. Staff have access to disposable face masks and gloves during their shifts
  3. additional protections and protocol for access and assignment;
    1. Guests do not have access to our lobby and meeting room except if it is exclusively used by them only. This is an effort to keep people separate.
  4. additional protections and protocol for sanitation and hygiene;
    1. Automatic hand-sanitizer dispenser is available in the shared stairway to rooms 12-15
    2. All guest rooms and public spaces are disinfected per industry standards with special attention to high touch surfaces
  5. additional protections and protocols for work clothes and handwashing;
    1. Staff have access to handwashing sinks, hand soap, and paper towels
    2. Liquid hand soap is available in each guest room
  6. additional protections and protocol for distancing and barriers;
    1. For guests who have access to rooms 1-3, there is a barrier stating the lobby is closed
    2. Exterior doors to public spaces such as the lobby and meeting room are locked
    3. Porch furniture is movable for guests to be able to stay 6’ or more apart
  7. additional protections and protocols for managing occupancy;
    1. The Cottage House Inn has reduced its room inventory to allow for limited to no contact stays
  8. additional protocols to limit face-to-face interaction;
    1. Key pad locks are installed on rooms 10-15 for contactless self check-in
    2. Staff come on site for only 1-2 hours/day to take out trash/recycling, disinfect public spaces, etc. The front desk office is closed.
  9. additional protections for receiving or exchanging payment;
    1. Contactless payment is available and invoices are emailed to guests
    2. Payment via cash or check can be arranged prior to arrival
  10. additional protections and protocols for certain types of businesses within an industry
    1. The Cottage House Inn is constantly reviewing information from Hospitality Minnesota, American Hotel and Lodging Association, MN Department of Health, the CDC, and other sources to follow the latest guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting of hotel rooms and public spaces

 

Communications and training

This Preparedness Plan was communicated via email to all staff on 5/15/20 with an updated plan communicated on 7/23/20 and necessary training was provided. Additional communication and training will be ongoing as MN Department of Health and CDC guidelines change and evolve and provided to all workers who did not receive the initial training. Instructions will be communicated to guests about check-in, check-out, payment, and requesting services during their stay. Delivery will be conducted to ensure social distancing between the postal worker, the worker and guests. Face mask use will be mandatory for employees when cleaning and coming into contact with guests/co-workers. Managers and supervisors are to monitor how effective the program has been implemented on each Friday. Management and workers are to work through this new program together and update the training as necessary. This COVID-19 Preparedness Plan has been certified by The Cottage House Inn management and owners and was posted throughout the workplace on 5/18/20 with an updated plan posted on 7/23/20. It will be updated again as necessary.

Certified by:
Alison Leathers & Lynn Susag Eric Bunge, Andrew Bunge & Mary Docken
Managers Owners

Sources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed online 5/7/2020. <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/critical-workers/implementing-safety-practices.html>.

     

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