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Covid-19 changes

by Lynn Birch - 15:16 on 19 June 2020

The self-catering industry has been turning itself inside out for the past few weeks trying to come up with policies that will enable our guests to have a fabulous experience whilst 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, our properties will change from being enjoyable chill-out spaces to clinical hospital wards.

Every property owner will have to make their own plans within these parameters and it’s not easy. We’ve decided to come up with a plan that hopefully walks that tightrope and then be transparent about it, thus giving you the opportunity to do your own risk assessment and decide whether this standard is good enough for you and your family.

Our logic being that the very nature of leaving the safety of your own home and travelling to the Highlands will mean you’re taking risks. You may decide to stop off at a service station on the way and visit a supermarket, cafe and attraction when you’re up here, so you will already be taking calculated risks.

We’re also mindful that the current situation is constantly changing, so what you think will work for you now, might not be right 3 months hence. Or there may be another lock-down imposed, which is totally out of your or our control. We’d normally say that you need to take out insurance to cover for such eventualities, but from what we’re hearing most insurance policies are no longer covering for the fallout of a pandemic.

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, if you’ve already booked with us, I’ll be keeping in regular contact with you.

Cleaning and house preparation policy

TV: The TV and Remote controls will be cleaned down with anti-viral cleaner between every set of guests.

Standard cleaning: Our cleans 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 an anti-viral spray at the property for your use, should you want to clean any surfaces yourself upon arrival or 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, giving you the option to use them or not. It’s worth bearing in mind how long Covid-19 can survive on surfaces and at its maximum (which is on metal and hard plastic) it can only last 72 hours.  

Soft Furnishings: Sofas, quilts 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 spraying with Sursol fabric disinfectant spray, this spray is EN1276 & EN14476 approved and eliminates 99.9% of bacteria and viruses.  The sofa and chair bed will be sprayed within the first hour of changeover to allow the fabrics to dry.

Check in and out: In order to allow for extra cleaning times, check out will be slightly earlier at 09:45, we ask that guests, strip the beds and put the used linens into the provided alginate bags, windows should be left open with the heating turned off and bins emptied please.  Check in time will also be a bit later at 16:30 and contactless, the key will be left in the disinfected key-safe

Crockery and Cutlery: These will be washed in hot soapy water before your arrival and replaced in the cupboard. To be entirely sure, we recommend that you rewash items before use.

Bedding: Our duvet covers, sheets, pillowcases, bathmats, duvet protectors, pillow protectors, mattress protectors and tea towels are washed each week and we have 3 sets of everything. This means that the set on your bed will have been washed 2 weeks prior and the only person who would have touched it would be us on changeover. Whilst Covid-19 is still a risk in the UK, the washing powders we will use will include the virucide sodium percarbonate (oxygen bleach).  

As bedding is a really personal thing, here are your options:

  • Have us make up the beds for you prior to your arrival (this will have been done around 3 hours before you arrive).
  • You can choose to have the box of laundry and linen left for you to make up the beds yourselves.
  • You can bring your own bedding (double bed size). We will be able to offer a £20.00 discount if you choose this option. 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 prior to their departure to protect us 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 all the beds and these must remain on the beds, regardless of any bedding you bring yourselves. You’re welcome to put your own protectors over the top of ours if you prefer.

Discounts

If you choose to bring your own bedding, there is a discount of £20.00.

For guests wishing to stay longer, the price of the second week will be discounted by £25 for 14-night stays.  Please note, you will need to change the bedding and towels for your second week yourself.

9 nights for the price of 7 nights for stays during November to the end of February.

Payment and Refund Policy

Until further notice, below will be our new payment and refund policy:

Deposits will still be £100 and paid in advance to reserve your booking.

Balances will not now be due until 4 weeks prior to your holiday date, for guests staying in July and August 2020 the balance will not be payable until the Scottish Government has given the go-ahead for opening on the 15th July.  This notification is due to be published on the 9th July 2020.

If the Scottish government announces another lock-down that affects your holiday date, you can decide whether to defer your payment towards another week of your choice (subject to availability), up to 24 months from your original holiday date, or you can request that we refund any payments made to that point.

If you change your mind about taking your booked holiday for any other reason: No automatic refunds will be made. However, we understand that especially in the current climate, personal circumstances can change. So we will try to accommodate your situation and will do all we can to re-book your holiday week. If we are able to do so, we’ll refund as much as we can of your payment less any costs incurred by us (advertising, last minute reductions etc). Alternatively, providing you tell us of your change of plan a minimum of 4 weeks before your holiday, you’ll be able to defer any payments made in full towards another week of your choice (subject to availability) up to 15 months from your original holiday date.

I hope you find the tweaks to our policy reasonable but please contact us should you have any concerns or questions.

Above all, stay safe and we hope to welcome you to Dolphin View Cottage soon.

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