Updated: May 13, 2020
As coronavirus spreads rapidly around the world, the advice from leading experts is to self-isolate. This means staying at home as much as possible and avoid social events and large gatherings.
But what about those who were in the middle of a trip when the coronavirus outbreak hit?
The New Zealand government recently announced that travelers risked being deported if they didn’t self-isolate. Travelers who would normally be breezing around New Zealand, taking buses and staying in hostels or hotels, now need to find a spot to hunker down for the next few weeks.
Here at Partbnb, we hope we can help the situation by connecting travelers with accommodation owners who are willing to offer self-isolation accommodation.
Our Self-Isolation Accommodation Group
With the new travel restrictions that are currently in place in New Zealand, many people who are returning to New Zealand or visiting will struggle to find suitable accommodation. That’s why Partbnb has created the Self-Isolation Accommodation Group NZ Facebook page.
Our founder, James Punnett, started the page on Monday and it already has over 1,200 members. James set up the page so that people who need to self-isolate can connect with property owners and managers who will be happy to accommodate them for 14 days.
According to James, the group is a win-win. It helps accommodation owners by helping them to fill the massive gaps left by cancellations over the last few weeks. It has also helped travelers to find secure accommodation where they can self-isolate (and owners are okay knowing they may be infected.)
Anyone can list their properties on the Facebook page - as long as they agree to the specific cleaning requirements and offer any additional services guests might need.
Many people in the community have embraced the idea and are offering their time to help those who are in self-isolation. The page now has properties from all over new Zealand, including Queenstown, Auckland, Taupo, Arrowtown and Cromwell. Plus, travelers have been connecting with each other over the page, linking up to share homes and split the cost.
What You Should Know About COVID-19 Cleaning Standards
If you are an accommodation owner and you are planning to host guests who are self-isolating, there are some important cleanliness standards you need to be aware of.
Protecting Yourself While Cleaning
When you are cleaning your accommodation, it’s important to protect yourself from potential exposure to the virus. You should wear disposable gloves when you are disinfecting and cleaning any surfaces.
Make sure you discard your gloves after every cleaning. If you use reusable gloves, make sure these gloves are dedicated only
to cleaning and disinfecting surfaces for COVID-19. They should not be used for any other purposes.
Of course, you should avoid touching your eyes, nose and hands when wearing these gloves.
After you have completed the cleaning, you should remove the gloves and immediately wash your hands with soap and water. Follow the hand washing guidelines as outlined by the Center for Disease Control and make sure you wash for at least 20 seconds. It can help to sing “Happy Birthday” twice to make sure you are washing for long enough.
If you want, you can also use hand sanitiser. The hand sanitiser should be over 60% alcohol in order to be effective. Wash at least 2 inches of your lower wrist along with your hands. It helps to keep your nails short, so you can effectively wash underneath them.
In addition to washing your hands, try to touch your face as little as possible. This is easier said than done, but do your best to be aware of it!
Cleaning Frequently-Touched Surfaces
It’s also very important to clean the frequently touched surfaces on a regular basis. You’ll need to clean tables, door handles, backs of chairs, light-switches, TV remotes, kitchen cabinets, toilets and much more.
Think about the surfaces and objects that you would naturally touch when using the
accommodation. This includes anything you’d pick up, open or move. For example, the handle of the window, the control panel of the washing machine or the button on the air-conditioning. All of these surfaces should be carefully sanitised.
These hard surfaces can be cleaned with diluted bleach, which can be purchased at your local supermarket. Dilute the bleach by adding 100ml of bleach to every 900ml of warm water. Be careful with the bleach and make sure you use it in a well ventilated area!
Also, don’t forget about the dishes - which will obviously have been touched by your guests. They should be washed in the dishwasher, with detergent. The hot cycle of the dishwasher should be enough to sterilize the dishes and kill the virus.
What About Laundry?
When it comes to washing the bedding and towels left at your accommodation after your guest is gone, you’ll also need to take precautions. You should wear disposable gloves to handle the laundry, and throw them away with every use.
These gloves should not be used for any other purpose and you should wash your hands immediately after removing the gloves.
Try not to shake out the dirty laundry. This helps to avoid dispersing the virus through the air. When you wash the laundry, you should wash it on a warm water setting and make sure you dry the items completely.
You’ll also need to think about the clothing hamper. You should use a disposable bag liner that can be thrown away. Or, use a laundry hamper with a washable liner that can be laundered.
Keep Your Accommodation Clean!
These are just a few of the important things you should know about cleanliness and COVID-19. We have a PDF with guidelines for cleaning - so you can take a look if you’d like more detailed info.
If you are an accommodation owner, or a traveler in New Zealand looking for a place to self-isolate, check out the Facebook group!