TEN weeks ago, the foyer of Dooley’s Hotel on the Quay was bustling with guests checking in and out, locals dropping into the bar for a coffee and a chat, and corporate clients making use of the meeting facilities.
Today, it is occupied by a handful of dedicated housekeeping and health and safety staff, who are busy implementing cleanliness and hygiene protocols that are set to become the new norm for all businesses as they prepare for reopening.
Although it will be July 20 before hotels, minus hotel bars, can potentially open, the proprietors of the family run hotel, June, Tina and Margaret Darrer, have been working within Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) and HSE guidelines to ensure their hotel’s safe reopening.
Looking ahead: Tina, June and Mags Darrer of Dooley’s Hotel.
“It has been a difficult time for all businesses and hotels are no exception,” said Tina Darrer. “Covid-19 was a bolt out of the blue and it left many sectors decimated, with tourism and hospitality particularly hard hit. Now that the roadmap to recovery has been publicised, we are making every effort to ensure that upon re-opening on July 20, the health and safety of our guests, friends and staff is not compromised.”
Some of the most stringent health and safety measures being put in place include the Dooley’s Hotel Room Seal, which indicates that guest rooms have not been accessed since they were cleaned.
The frequency of cleaning and disinfecting in public spaces has been increased, with a focus on the counter at the front desk, elevators and elevator buttons, door handles, public bathrooms and room keys.
Guest-accessible disinfecting will be introduced at entrance and high traffic areas, along with enhanced cleaning and other changes to buffets, in-room dining and meeting spaces.
Behind the scenes, high-touch areas will be focused on, while there will be ongoing staff training in hygiene and cleanliness protocols and social distancing measures implemented in the restaurant.
Working with agencies such as Fáilte Ireland, Waterford City & County Council, the Waterford Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and Visit Waterford has been invaluable in recognising the potential of the new “staycation” market.
“The hospitality sector in Waterford alone generates almost €140 million for the local economy and supports 6,400 jobs and we must do everything in our power to protect these jobs,” said Tina Darrer. “While most international visitors will not be returning to our shores before 2021, Waterford as a family-friendly, culturally-enriching, vibrant, sunny and scenic destination will have huge appeal to Irish holidaymakers. How Irish people look at holidaying is set to change and we, as a sector, must work together to reinvigorate the offerings to the indigenous market. By offering value for money, unique packages with local amenities and tourist attractions and giving the most efficient, friendly and welcoming guest experience in a safe and clean environment, the sector in Waterford can, and will, bounce back.”