Since South Africa’s lockdown took effect at midnight on 26 March 2020, all non-essential business services have been closed. This temporary suspension has affected most of City Lodge Hotel Group’s 56 properties around Africa; however, five properties have remained open to accommodate inbound and outbound travellers in quarantine, as well as essential workers.

“We were hurtled as a company into becoming a quarantine hotel. A guest checked into one of our hotels just before the lockdown period and unbeknown to all of us the individual was in isolation having tested positive. That made us really move at a speed faster than we ever had into developing quarantine protocols in terms of how to keep our staff safe and how to keep guests safe during this period,” explains Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, chief operating officer of City Lodge Hotel Group.

“A guest checked into one of our hotels just before the lockdown period and unbeknown to all of us the individual was in isolation having tested positive.”

The City Lodge Hotel Group quickly implemented strict COVID-19 cleaning and operating protocols at its hotels. These practices are determined by the Department of Health and experts in the field, and also take into account new findings on the virus as it becomes available. You can access the group’s cleaning protocol on its website at www.clhg.com/covid-19.

The group has to comply with all of the Department of Health’s regulations, which includes regular inspections from nurses, doctors and SAPS, and works closely with the Departments of Public Works and Tourism and provincial bodies dealing in disaster management.

The group’s strong ties with various industry associations have assisted it in developing protocols for running quarantine hotels, operating at cost, and supporting the efforts of government in its fight against COVID-19.

“The group does not allow anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who is displaying symptoms to check in.”

The guests who are being accommodated at City Lodge hotels include international guests waiting for flights home, South Africans returning home who need to self-quarantine for 14 days, and essential services personnel. The group does not allow anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who is displaying symptoms to check in. Should anyone staying at one of their hotels display symptoms, they will be tested and if found to be positive will be relocated and their room deep-cleaned under the supervision of the Department of Health.

In addition, all staff and guests are screened daily for elevated temperatures and other symptoms.

“Treating people with dignity and respect, as guests first and foremost, makes all the difference to their stay.”

“Treating people with dignity and respect, as guests first and foremost, makes all the difference to their stay. These are people away from homes and families, having to practise social-distancing in their room, in uncertain times. It is really touching to see how our staff have stepped up – in some cases singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to guests marking their birthday in quarantine. We have received many letters of thanks and appreciation from our guests,” Lindiwe says.

“The group remains available to provide support to government and essential and critical business continuity services, as well as other enabling services in the form of either quarantine facilities or staff accommodation. Good discussions have taken place in this regard and we stand ready to support such initiatives as part of a coordinated response to this pandemic,” adds Andrew Widegger, chief executive officer of City Lodge Hotel Group.

The five properties acting as quarantine hotels include City Lodge Hotel V&A Waterfront and City Lodge Hotel GrandWest in Cape Town, City Lodge Hotel Umhlanga Ridge just outside Durban, and City Lodge Hotel OR Tambo International Airport and City Lodge Hotel Bryanston in Johannesburg.

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