We are living in unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa in Puerto Vallarta, as well as most hoteliers around the world, have had to close their doors for the first time in history. When hotels that are typically open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, are forced to close, there is a big impact on employees and the tourism industry in general. While we have been closed, we have been using this time to focus on Garza Blanca resort updates with small crews of essential workers providing maintenance and cleaning.
Garza Blanca Puerto Vallarta is open with soft services and plans to reopen with full services on May 15th, 2020, subject to travel advisories. Focusing on reopening allows our teams to come together and work on something positive. During the past two months, we have also been working on plans to further improve employee and guest Safety. We recognize that we must go out of our way to ensure that employees and guests are safe and feel protected.
We have been working on redesigning the guest experience to ensure safety. We have made adjustments to all of our hygiene and disinfection protocols at our resorts, provided increased training to all our staff on hygiene, and implemented extra procedures for food safety.
The following points are a general summary of our current policies and procedures for all TAFER Hotels & Resorts, including Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa in Puerto Vallarta:
- Adherence to government regulations
- Constant cleaning and disinfection of public spaces
- Reinforcement and training of hand washing techniques for personnel
- Use of masks and gloves for food processing personnel
- Change from buffet to a-la-carte menu in restaurants where a buffet was offered
- Healthy distance between tables in restaurants and staff dining room with reduced and controlled capacity
- Social distancing for personnel inside and outside the hotel, as well as between departments
- Use and implementation of sanitizing gel in all areas touched by staff and guests
- Adherence to global standards through providers like Ecolab
- Protocol of cleaning and protection by transportation companies that transport the staff to and from the resorts
We will continue to make adjustments and investments to the operations of the resorts, some temporary and some longer lasting, as we get more information from the authorities.
When the resorts reopen, all TAFER Resorts will have a doctor on staff to assess symptoms presented by employees, contractors, guests, residents or owners.
The managers will be in continuous communication with all staff to reinforce safety measures and report new developments, as well as provide information, medical assistance, and timely follow-up to staff who present symptoms.
TAFER Resorts is Committed to Your Health and Safety
In March, TAFER Resorts corporate sent a memo to department heads of all hotels, including General Managers, Human Resources, Security, Administrations, Operations and Housekeeping, which detailed the newest guidelines, control measures and infection prevention measures necessary to reduce the risk of transmitting respiratory illness both internally with our staff, as well as guests, members and owners. Department heads are responsible for training all staff when they return to work.
The memo included the following information, which we want to share with you so that you will be aware of the safety measures that we are taking at all TAFER Resorts, including Garza Blanca Puerto Vallarta.
Staff at all resorts must adopt and apply the following measures as part of their daily activities:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water, as well as using hand sanitizer gel
- Social distancing: Avoid close contact and keep at least 1 meter of distance between you and other people, particularly those presenting symptoms, such as fever, cough, or sneeze.
- Limitation of physical contact, avoiding handshakes, hugs, etc. Strengthening our institutional greeting with a hand on our hearts.
- Adopt respiratory hygiene measures: Avoid touching your face, especially eyes, mouth and nose. When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a disposable handkerchief and then throw it into the garbage or failing that, use the internal angle of the arm. Never with your hands! Then wash your hands with soap and water.
Every day at the beginning of each shift, all Department Heads must ensure that high touch surfaces such as desks, tables, railings, light switches, door handles, etc. are cleaned and disinfected using a disinfecting solution. They must follow the disinfectant manufacturer’s instructions for proper use.
All Department Heads must adopt the following responsibilities:
- Ensure that all staff know and apply the hygiene measures above, emphasizing handwashing and keeping work areas clean
- Place antibacterial gel dispensers in high concentration areas for staff and guests. Keep them stocked and in good condition.
- Carry out handwashing and disinfection operation practices
- Request supplies and refills of supplies necessary for operations
- Inform the Rooms Division Manager of those guests, members and owners who identify with symptoms for follow-up with medical personnel
- All managers must maintain a direct line of contact with the medical personnel assigned to the hotel to comply with the suggested recommendations and monitor the follow-up of staff and/or guests who are under evaluation with symptoms present
Security and Area Chiefs
- Monitor and ensure that the members of your department and general hotel areas comply with the previously mentioned prevention measures.
- Identify staff, suppliers, visitors or any other person who enters the hotel with symptoms and apply a thermometer temperature test when you have suspicion to determine if referral to the medical service is necessary for evaluation.
- Reinforce Norovirus training
- Use personal protective equipment ppe and protocol
Food and Beverage Managers
- Place antibacterial gel dispensers in consumption centers
- Ensure all staff in the food and beverage departments wash their hands rigorously every 30 – 45 minutes
- Each supervisor on duty shall monitor compliance with this measure by documenting this process
- Surveillance by the person in charge of the consumer center, for cleaning and disinfection of areas of frequent contact
Front Areas (Reception, Bellhops, Concierge, Activities)
- Ensure the cleaning and disinfection of areas of frequent contact such as reception podiums, desks, phones, computers, etc.
Human Resources Managers
- Coordinate training in symptom detection for security personnel and transportation company personnel
- Verify that the transportation company applies the necessary hygiene measures in the transport of personnel
- Coordinate distribution of information about company policies to the staff via the Intranet, TVs and Dashboards
- Coordinate the purchase and placement of antibacterial gel in the staff areas
- Coordinate and monitor the training of preventive measures and protocols both to active staff, as well as to new employees
- Channeling and monitoring of staff who present symptoms so that they can be treated with the staff doctor for evaluation
What if Staff or Guests Present Symptoms?
TAFER Resorts has outlined a procedure for the identification and monitoring of people with symptoms, in case any staff or guests appear to be sick at the resorts.
Determination of whether a person may be infected with Covid-19 is left to the staff doctor.
If a staff member is present at the resort with fever, cough or sneeze and/or difficulty breathing, he or she will be instructed to use proper hygiene measures and etiquette when sneezing, and he or she will have an on-site medical examination by the staff doctor, who will determine if he or she should go to the hospital.
The staff member must follow the doctor’s instructions, which could include sick leave or other recommendations.
If a guest is present at the resort with fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, the Rooms Division Manager will be informed and will make contact with the guest, explain the importance of attending to his or her symptoms, and send him or her to the staff doctor for evaluation. The staff doctor will determine the measures to be taken by Hotel Operations and the treatment to follow for the guest.
We’re Waiting for You
In conclusion, TAFER Resorts is taking the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously, and making sure that the resorts are safe for everyone when we reopen. We are taking this time to train our staff to serve you better and keep everyone safe. We are very much looking forward to seeing you again in the near future after the crisis is over, and when it’s time to travel again.