You may be considering finally flying out for a well-deserved vacation as lockdowns and border restrictions around the world relax. You've concluded that the benefits of flying outweigh the hazards. However, after you've arrived, where can you find a clean, safe, and genuinely pleasant place to stay?
Many hotels across India are returning for business after months of shutdown. However, with hundreds of people from all over the country perhaps staying in the same building at the same time, you have good cause to be apprehensive about sleeping at a standard chain hotel.
We examined the scientific data to learn all you need to know about staying in a hotel right now. Plus, if you do decide to go for it, we looked into how to keep safe while you're there.
Direct contact with other humans is, unsurprisingly, the highest danger in hotels. Hotels, by their very nature, are places where people congregate: individuals who are entirely unfamiliar with one another and who are likely from all over the world. As a result, public places such as restaurants, elevators, and swimming pools are the most likely places for the virus to spread.
You are at risk whenever you are in a scenario where you are surrounded by other individuals. Because Covid-19 is known to spread among persons who are asymptomatic, travellers should presume that anybody they come into contact with – whether it's employees or fellow guests – is possibly contagious.
As long as you keep a safe distance from other people in the lobby for formalities like check-in, the hazards are minimal. Bars, restaurants, and elevators are three considerably hazardous locations where social distance may not be properly enforced (or impossible).
Menus and tablecloths were most likely disinfected. However, you'll have to remove your mask when the food and beverages arrive, increasing your chance of contracting the illness from people around you. That means ordering room service or a delivery from somewhere else may be the best option.
Do you have second thoughts about taking the dip? The water in hotel swimming pools should not be a source of concern, since chlorine levels are normally high enough to render the virus inactive. Physical barriers will almost definitely be there, but swimmers should be cautious of any potentially contaminated surfaces.
Image Courtesy: Ascot Suites
What are the risks in my hotel room?
You won't have to worry about the air quality in your accommodation when you arrive there. Air conditioners are usually self-contained and do not recycle air from neighbouring rooms (and if they do, this function will probably have been turned off). In any event, the virus seldom lingers long enough to represent a threat to the majority of individuals.
In fact, tests have shown that it settles completely out of the air within three hours. You should also be careful of things that are frequently touched and shared among visitors, such as remote controls, door knobs, and bedside tables. There may have been just a few hours between successive customers staying in certain rooms at busy hotels.
‘The probability of transmission through inanimate surfaces is very tiny, and only in cases when an infected person coughs or sneezes on the surface, and someone else contacts that surface soon after the cough or sneeze (within one to two hours),' according to a recent editorial on the issue.
In other words, unless the previous occupants have very recently left the room, you are unlikely to catch the virus in this manner - especially since most hotel chains have implemented stringent new disinfection procedures.