The hospitality industry has suffered particularly badly since Lockdown in March 2020 and now that we are allowed to re-open Wisteria Cottage, we are trying to come up with policies that will enable our guests to have a fabulous experience, whist providing you with as much protection as possible.
What has become clear is that there is a tightrope to walk between providing a COVID-19 free environment and a comfortable holiday property. If we don’t do anything, we’re at risk of encouraging the spread of the disease once more but if we go too far, Wisteria Cottage will change from being an enjoyable, warm, cosy, relaxing space to more resemble a clinical hospital ward.
Every property owner will have to make their own plans within these parameters and it is not easy. We have decided to come up with a plan that hopefully walks that tightrope and then be transparent about it. This gives you the opportunity to do your own risk assessment and decide whether this standard is good enough for you and your family.
- We have produced a Risk Assessment which identifies risk factors, hazards and ways in which we are managing these.
- We have studied the Science of Coronavirus. We understand how long it lasts on different surfaces, and how to effectively and safely eliminate it from our property. Our housekeeper and myself (owner) have undertaken and passed a course in COVID-19 awareness.
- We understand which cleaning products we should be using and will supply and use products conforming to BSEN 14476, BSEN 1276 and BSEN 13697
- We understand the required Cleaning Protocols for self-catering properties in the context of COVID-19 and apply them.
- We have produced an updated Check List for cleaning Wisteria Cottage and training for our housekeepers.
We understand that just leaving the safety of your own home and travelling to Oxfordshire will mean you’re taking risks. You may then decide to stop off at a service station en route and it is likely you may visit a supermarket, cafe or historic building when you’re staying here. So you will already be taking calculated risks.
We’re also mindful that the current situation is constantly shifting sands, so what you think will work for you now, might not be right in 3 months time. Or there may be another lock-down imposed, which is totally out of yours, or our control. We say that you MUST take out TRAVEL INSURANCE to cover for such eventualities, particularly with regard to self isolation/illness. We will NOT refund you for either of these as this is what insurance should do. We urge you to research this carefully and take it out as soon after booking as possible.
With that in mind, here are the changes we’ll be making. These plans may change over time as new information comes to light, or new legislation is imposed, so keep an eye on this page for further updates. However, once you’ve already booked with us, I’ll be keeping in regular contact with you.
Cleaning and cottage preparation policy
Firstly, we want to give our housekeeper as much time as possible to clean our property. We will offer check-in days on a Friday and Monday. She will also be doing the following:
Cutlery and other stainless steel surfaces: These will be cleaned with an anti-viral disinfectant conforming to BSEN 14476/1276/13697
TV: The TV and Remote controls and other plastic surfaces will be cleaned with anti-viral disinfectant conforming to BSEN 14476/1276/13697 between every set of guests.
Standard cleaning: Our cleaning will be to our normal high standard, with the addition of any hard surfaces being cleaned with an anti-viral cleaner. We will also leave cleaning products and an anti-viral disinfectant spray at the property for your use, should you need to clean any surfaces yourself during your stay.
Books, games and DVD’s: We recognise that it will be impossible to clean every page of every book or every item of a game every week. We did consider removing all these items but felt that this would reduce your holiday experience. So we’ve decided to leave all these items and allow you to use your judgement. It’s worth bearing in mind how long COVID-19 can survive on surfaces and at its maximum (which is on plastic), it is estimated to be less than 72 hours whereas paper is estimated to be 30 minutes.
Soft Furnishings: Cushions, throws, duvets, blankets and pillows – All scientific evidence thus far is that COVID-19 cannot live on fabric for more than a few hours. Therefore, we’ve decided that we’ll be leaving all soft furnishings in situ and changing regularly but not every week. Our sofa is leather which will be sprayed with an anti-bacterial disinfectant as they are at present.
Bedding: Our duvet covers, sheets, pillowcases, bath mats and tea towels are professionally cleaned each week and we have 3 sets of everything. This means that the set on your beds will have been washed 2 weeks prior and the only person who would have touched it within the previous day would be our housekeeper. However, as bedding is a really personal thing, here are your options:
- Have our housekeeper make up the bed(s) for you prior to your arrival.
- You can choose to have the bag of laundry left for you to make up the beds yourselves.
- You can bring your own bedding. This means a mattress protector, duvet(s), pillows, linen, towels, bath mat and tea towels. If this is what you’d like to do, please let us know at least a week prior to the start of your holiday.
Further notes on bedding:
- We will need our guests to strip off the beds and bag up the bedding in a washable green bag, which will be left for you, prior to departure. This is to protect our housekeeper from any potential contact with the virus (shaking down bedding shortly after someone has used it could be potentially a risk).
- There will be fresh mattress protectors on the bed(s) and these must remain on the bed(s), regardless of any bedding you bring yourselves. You are welcome to put your own protectors over the top of ours if you prefer. We also supply pillow protectors and duvet protectors which our housekeeper will remove and replace regularly.
In order to protect our floor surfaces, we request that you remove outdoor footwear when entering the property and please bring slippers or similar indoor shoes with you which should be worn at all times within Wisteria Cottage. 80% of germs and viruses are brought into a property on footwear.
DO NOT TRAVEL IF YOU FEEL UNWELL AT HOME.
Please contact your own doctor and let the owner know at once. Your travel insurance may cover you for this. We will not refund the cost of a holiday you cannot take due to illness or self isolation when you should stay at home and claim from your travel insurance policy.
If you feel unwell whilst staying at Wisteria Cottage
Request an urgent NHS test and if positive All the guests in the party should return home immediately. Make sure you are prepared to do so by having a full tank of petrol. Inform the owner at once. No refund will be made due to the additional cleaning costs incurred and you should claim from travel insurance.
If you are hospitalised, for a non-Covid condition, the remaining guests can stay at Wisteria Cottage for the remainder of their booking but must then vacate the property. In the unlikely circumstances of no new guests expected, please discuss with the owner the options available. Your travel insurance should be of assistance.
Payment and Refund Policy
Until further notice, below will be our new payment and refund policy:
Deposits will still be 30% and paid in advance to reserve your booking.
Balances will not now be due until 6 weeks prior to your holiday date.
Should the government announce another national or Oxfordshire lock-down which affects your holiday date, any payment made (deposit and balance) will be subject to 2 options. You can decide whether to defer your payment towards another stay of equal length within the same price range to a date of your choice (subject to availability), up to 12 months from your original holiday date. Or you can request that we refund any payments made up to that point. We are not obliged to compensate for a lockdown in your home area and you should make a claim from your travel insurance.
If you change your mind about taking your booked holiday for any reason: also known as Disinclination to travel. No automatic refunds will be made. However, we understand that, especially in the current climate, personal circumstances can change. If we are able to do so, we will try to re-book your holiday dates and if successful, we will refund as much as we can of your payment less any costs incurred by us for which a £50 fee will be retained (such as additional advertising or a last minute price reduction). Alternatively, providing you tell us of your change of plan a minimum of 6 weeks before your holiday, you will be able to defer any payments made in full towards another holiday of your choice (subject to availability and at current pricing for the new dates) up to 12 months from your original holiday date.
We strongly suggest that you take out a travel insurance policy which covers you for all known risks at the time of booking.