Southern Management Corp., which operates four hotels along with apartment communities, has launched a comprehensive cleaning and sanitization program named Ever Strong. The plan allows Southern to safely reopen and operate its four hotels—The Hotel at the University of Maryland and the Cambria Hotel College Park, both in College Park, Md.; The Hotel at Arundel Preserve in Hanover, Md.; and Bear Creek Mountain Resort and Conference Center in Macungie, Pa.
Based upon the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, government authorities, and in concert with the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Safe Stay standards, Ever Strong is built upon four pillars—physical distancing, cleanliness, active monitoring and rapid response.
Each of the four properties have been modified to maximize public spaces and encourage physical distancing—keeping guests 6 feet apart at all times. In addition to layout changes and signage, the properties have adjusted their operational practices to encourage responsible distancing in all areas such as elevators, restaurants, fitness centers, meeting and event spaces and pools. All staff members are required to wear face coverings and guests are strongly encouraged to as well. Disposable face coverings are provided for guests, if needed.
The company’s cleaning programs have been enhanced and include significantly increased frequency of cleaning in all high-traffic areas and frequent sanitizing of high-touch surfaces. The placement of hand sanitizing stations, propertywide use of personal protective equipment and focus on team member health protocols are also in effect. Guestroom sanitization is a priority with enhanced high-touch deep cleaning on doors, furniture, fixtures, telephones, remotes, etc. Linens are delivered and removed from guest rooms in single-use bags. Team members will not enter guestrooms during the guest visits, unless required to respond to an emergency. Guestrooms remain vacant for 48 hours after check-out, when possible.
A critical element of maintaining the Ever Strong program includes monitoring and evaluating practices, heeding expert guidance, listening to feedback and adapting. As the Ever Strong program evolves, Southern will actively communicate changes to procedures and protocols to team members and guests. The most current version of the plan is made available to the public via the property websites.
When a presumed or confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified, the company’s mitigation strategy is to take immediate measures that protect guests and team members while ensuring the continuity and safety of operations. Management will work with the Southern COVID-19 Response Team to follow established protocols. The actions that will be taken include: restrict area access, sanitation, notification, room recovery and contact tracing. Additionally, Southern will notify any in-house guests and team members of the action plan in the event of a positive case of COVID-19 on the property. Contract tracing will be used to determine anyone who may have come into contact with a contaminated area.
All team members receive comprehensive training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols. Action plans are in place and team members are trained on how to respond swiftly to any reported cases of COVID-19 on-property.