Lloret de Mar Town Council, together with the business guilds and organisations involved in the town’s tourism sector, has today unveiled the first comprehensive plan of the destination aimed at adapting health and safety protocols throughout the municipality: roads, pavements, security, beaches, hotels, apartments, dwellings for tourist use, campsites, restaurants and bars, shops, and sports, leisure and nightlife venues. The Mayor of Lloret de Mar, Jaume Dulsat, has explained that, in line with the guidelines issued by the WHO, “The goal of the plan is to make Lloret de Mar as safe a destination as possible, fully ready to welcome visitors during the summer season, leaving no room for improvisation. We’re pressing ahead with all the work possible while we wait for the rules of the Spanish Institute for Tourism Quality (ICTE) to be announced. This means we expect to have in place nearly all the measures that are likely to be stipulated by the national authorities in order for establishments and destinations to be able to open.”
A three-month work plan
This strategy, which complies with the guidelines of the World Health Organization, is the result of the work carried out over the last two months by a multidisciplinary work team led by Lloret Town Council through its tourism promotion body, Lloret Turisme, and composed of the Tourism Business Board, town’s HORECA guilds, the Traders’ Association, travel agencies, representatives of leisure and nightlife companies, tourist apartments, dwellings for tourist use, transportation, events and campsites, along with representatives of tourism workers.
The Comprehensive Plan comprises four stages:
Stage 0. Preparation. Start: 14 March
In a series of online meetings held over the last two months, the work team has defined the following priority action areas:
Stage 1. General training. Start: Friday 8 May
All the sectors involved agreed on the need to ensure that all the workers of the municipality involved in tourism activities receive proper training in health and safety protocols related to the COVID-19 outbreak, and in health and safety measures related to customer assistance, along with proper knowledge of the use of PPE and of the health and safety rules for key zones such as hotel reception desks, hotel rooms (cleaning), restaurant counters, etc. In order to make sure that all the workers of every company could receive this training, the decision was made to standardise it, selecting the same approved training model for everyone.
Lloret Turisme, with the agreement of the private sector, selected Altimir, a business group with a proven track record stretching over more than 25 years in the environmental health and food safety sector, mainly specialising in the HORECA sector and the food industry. During Stage 1, Altimir will implement an initial general training module focused on readying companies and facilities for a safe reopening of activity, employing a system based on the criteria established by the WHO. The training sessions will begin this week in the form of online sessions, in which around 4,000 workers are expected to take part. Participants will be informed of the basic measures that companies and workers must implement before and after the reopening of their activities in order to prevent and reduce the risk of contagion. This training will be open to all worker profiles.
Each training session will set out the risks associated with each job, identifying the potential hazards for spreading the virus, especially when interacting with customers. The programme will comprise several corrective measures for mitigating or reducing the risks involved in each job, establishing highly specific protocols. It will also train workers in the proper use of PPE (masks, gloves, etc.), in the use of health self-monitoring records, and in general measures related to customer assistance.
Stage 2. Sector-specific training. Start: 13 May
Stage 2 will get underway next week with sector-specific training. Five types of specific training sessions will be held for the following sectors: hotels and other tourist accommodation establishments; bars, cafeterias and nightlife establishments; restaurants and campsites; shops.
The training sessions will focus on the specific aspects of each job. For example, hotel kitchen workers will study the risks associated with the kitchen areas (from the arrival of food supplies at the establishment to the serving of food in the dining room) and how to reduce them through hand hygiene, periodical cleaning and disinfection, use of masks and gloves, daily temperature control of workers, etc.
Stage 3. Implementation of the action protocols and measures
In parallel with the sector-specific training sessions, work will be carried out on health and safety measures and protocols of each priority action area. The protocol plans of each area are expected to be completed at different paces. However, they must all be completed by 15 June, when they are expected to be approved and certified as compliant with the control measures stipulated by the national authorities.
Area 1 – Management of public spaces
The Environment Department of Lloret de Mar Town Council aims to strengthen its beach safety and monitoring team, which this year will comprise 35 professionals. Furthermore, it has been planned to divide Lloret and Fenals beaches (the busiest two beaches in the municipality) into sectors, to limit their capacity and to put access controls in place. Each beach sector will thus be equipped with distinctive services designed to meet the needs of each group: lifeguards, healthcare professionals, etc. Three sectors will be created: senior citizens; family units with children; adults without children (couples and groups of friends).
The sector for senior citizens will be a delimited zone for couples or individuals. A double walkway will be installed to facilitate access, along with a lifeline for bathers and an assisted bathing service that must be booked in advance.
In the sector for families with children, social distancing measures will also be in place, both on the sand and in the water. Teams will monitor both zones to ensure compliance with social distancing rules. The children’s play area will have an even stricter cleaning protocol and special measures.
The third zone will be for adults without children and groups of friends. Access control and capacity limits will be in place in all three sectors. Furthermore, showers and public toilets will only open if it is possible to guarantee that there is no risk of contagion. The bathing zones will be delimited by buoys. Furthermore, there will be a monitoring and control service both on the seafront promenade and on the sand, comprising information officers, civil protection personnel and the lifeguards themselves. Pedal boats and kayaks can only be used by families and groups of people who live together. The boats and kayaks will undergo dynamic disinfection after each use.
Lloret Mar Town Council initiated a pilot test on 3 May (scheduled to run until 17 May) which involves banning vehicle traffic from the Passeig Marítim (seafront promenade) in order to facilitate compliance with social distancing measures by walkers, cyclists and runners.
An information leaflet will be produced for tourists and local residents informing them of the safety instructions that must be obeyed on roads, pavements, beaches and in shops throughout the municipality. The leaflets will be distributed by the town’s information officers (respecting all health and safety measures), as well as through social networks, public information screens, advertising panels, etc. The cleaning and disinfection of roads, pavements and urban furniture will be intensified considerably, as will rubbish collection in order to ensure the absence of litter on roads and pavements. The disinfection operations will be carried out using water and virucides, as stipulated in the WHO recommendations.
At the onset of the health crisis, Lloret de Mar was a pioneering municipality in the use of drones to monitor compliance with safety measures on the public highway. The town council will continue to use drones for this purpose once the summer season begins.
Additionally, visitors will be given advice at information points on where to purchase masks and gloves. Information officers and other monitoring personnel on streets will help ensure compliance with the health, safety and hygiene measures listed in the Comprehensive Plan.
Area 2 – Tourist accommodation
The establishments which have the largest concentration of customers and which have had to identify the largest number of contact points are hotels. In this respect, it is planned to install protection panels on customer service counters, reception desks, self-service food counters, etc., in line with the criteria stipulated by the national authorities. This being so, the national authorities have been called on to urgently define these safety parameters, along with other facilities defined as essential, in order to carry out the necessary adaptation works. The use of new technologies will also be implemented, for example in check-in and check-out processes.
A strengthened cleaning and disinfection protocol will be implemented for hotel rooms. The training process is essential for the implementation of this protocol.
Both hotels and restaurants will apply the stipulated measures for all public and private establishments, such as the use of PPE by workers (masks and gloves) and the installation of hydroalcoholic gel dispensers for customers and workers.
Tables will be separated in indoor self-service dining rooms, on terraces and in swimming pool areas, where loungers will also be correctly spaced and elements of risk such as mattresses and cushions, etc. will be removed.
Self-service dining rooms will be designed to minimise the direct handling by customers of plates, cutlery, drinks and food. Furthermore, the Lloret Hotel Guild will implement a transparency policy and will work on a preferential basis with suppliers accredited by an entity that certifies compliance with all requirements related to products and processes: laundry, cleaning products, food and beverages.
The measures being prepared for apartments and dwellings for tourist use (DTU) include a strengthened disinfection process after each check-out and before each check-in. Furthermore, welcome packs will be provided for guests, containing basic hygiene equipment (masks, hydroalcoholic gels and gloves).
Lloret de Mar’s four campsites will also apply all the aforementioned measures regarding the use of PPE by workers. They are also studying the redistribution of campers on pitches in order to guarantee compliance with social distancing measures. Furthermore, some sites will implement food ordering systems, with direct delivery to pitches, in order to avoid the agglomeration of customers in eating areas, along with new cashless payment systems.
Area 3 – Specific measures for restaurants, terraces, bars and beach snack bars
Information panels will be installed in every private and public establishment, in public buildings and on beaches listing the rules to be followed in order to access and use the corresponding service. For example, restaurants will list their capacity limit, the need to wait to be assigned a table, etc.
Moreover, a considerable increase in public space for terraces, with a waiting service, has been agreed in order to compensate the indoor capacity limit of premises. Each zone of terraces will be analysed separately.
Both restaurants and hotels will strive to promote local, fresh and healthy products, helping to strengthen the message that establishments are using local products with a very short distribution chain that minimises the risk of contagion through product handling.
The management of access and the restriction of the traditional bar service constitute the work plan of these establishments. Agile access management strategies are being studied in order to prevent the agglomeration of customers on pavements.
Area 4 – Travel agencies
Inbound travel agencies are working to get their teams ready in case foreign tour operators begin operating again. At present, they are disseminating the safety measures plan among the main tour operators in the United Kingdom, Germany and France. If the arrival of groups from these markets is confirmed, the role of inbound travel agencies as intermediaries will be crucial in speeding up bookings with hotels and other local operators, as well as in organising complementary visits and activities outside the municipality (daytrips to Barcelona, to the so-called Dalí Triangle, etc.), adapting to the restrictions established in terms of bookings, mobility, capacities and access.
Area 5 – Shops
The national authorities have begun to stipulate the protocols for shops, in particular the need to carry out the daily disinfection of premises, along with the dynamic cleaning of premises by sales assistants of clothes shops, beauty centres, etc. Additionally, Lloret de Mar Town Council is evaluating the measures compatible with those established by the Government of Catalonia in order to control capacity and to enforce, as far as possible, the minimum distance between shop workers and customers, especially in shops with the largest number of customers, such as food shops.
Area 6 – Leisure activities
Beach activities, adventure sports, active-nature activities, Nordic walking, quad bike rides, cycling, the Troll Aventura treetop adventure park, miniature golf centres, etc. will undergo a disinfection process before each new use or after each change of user. Workers will be responsible for carrying out the disinfection tasks before each new customer arrives. Furthermore, strengthened disinfection measures will be established for the common areas, toilets and changing rooms of swimming pools.
Area 7 – Nightlife
The most noteworthy initiative in the nightlife sector is the one implemented by Tropics, the first discotheque in Spain to obtain the Sanitized Venue Certificate of the International Nightlife Association, which certifies the readiness of an establishment to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In accordance with the conditions of this certificate, the establishment pledges to nebulise the venue with a chemical solution and to provide hydroalcoholic gel dispensers. Workers must have PPE and customers will have their temperature taken before entering.