Health and Safety information

Since our founding, health and safety have been at the heart of Budapest Hotel Sofia approach to hospitality. This commitment to our guests and associates continues to anchor us and to inform our decisions as we adapt to new challenges presented by COVID-19. We understand that people are thinking about travel differently now.

At Budapest Hotel Sofia, we have proven over the years that we care deeply about our employees, their families and our guests. Since the early stages of the pandemic and well before authorities announce any obligatory measures, we took the necessary precautions in order to safeguard the health of guests and employees.

We drafted our crisis-handling plan complete with operational procedures, company policies and every day good practices. The program that we developed encompasses all the experience gained so far in fighting COVID-19 virus. We have studied, researched and compiled the present document that includes the suggestions, instructions and guidelines as announced and implemented so far by the Bulgarian Government, the National Public Health Organization and World Health Organization.

It is clear that as time passes we will amend the document regularly to include all latest state instructions and scientific developments outcomes. In addition, we will develop more Standard Operating Procedures as needed, to address all operational issues arising and detail explanatory notes as well, for training purposes.

It is the obligation of every single member of the staff in Budapest Hotel Sofia to observe the rules outlined here below, in order to minimize infection risk and protect our guests but also their own personal and family health. Strict application of these policies and practices, we will allow us to operate as safe as possible, offer to our guests a safe and memorable stay and at the end overcome the difficulties and resume a normal and sustainable operation.

The Management

General Information & Key Points

a. COVID-19

According to current evidence, COVID-19 virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets, (particularly when coughing or sneezing). In addition, another route of transmission is through direct contact with an infected person or indirect contact by touching a surface or object that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Although most infected people develop no or mild symptoms, in some cases severe symptoms develop and   people, especially older and/or people with other medical conditions, may require rapid hospitalization.

Prevention measures against transmission of COVID-19, based on instructions by NPHO& WHO are:

  • 1. Social distancing: includes refraining from hugging, kissing, or shaking hands with guests as well as among staff. It involves maintaining a distance of at least 2m and avoiding anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • 2. Hand hygiene: means cleaning hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or thoroughly washing them with soap and water. Also you must avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth. Hand disinfection is necessary after exchanging objects (e.g. money, credit cards, documents, etc.) with guests.
  • 3. Respiratory etiquette: means covering mouth and nose with bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. The used tissue should be disposed of immediately in a bin (with a lid).
  • 4. In public areas, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces will reduce the risk of infection.

b. Employee & Guest Health

The health and safety of our employees and guests is our number one priority. To safeguard both groups and offer a safe and memorable stay to our guests the following key points will apply throughout the property until the end of the pandemic.

  • 1. Physical Distancing. Guests will be advised to practice physical distancing by standing at least 2m away from other groups of people not traveling with them while standing in lines, using elevators or moving around the property. Restaurant tables and other physical layouts will be arranged to ensure appropriate distancing. Employees will be reminded not to touch their faces and to practice physical distancing by standing at least 2m away from guests and other employees whenever possible. All hotel outlets will comply with mandated occupancy limits.
  • 2. Hand Sanitizing. Hand sanitizer dispensers and paper tissues will be placed at key guest and employee entrances and contact areas such as driveways, reception areas, the hotel lobby, restaurant entrances, meeting and convention spaces, elevator landings, pools and exercise areas. Hand sanitizer will be provided throughout the back of house for employees.
  • 3. Front of the House Signage. There will be health and hygiene reminders throughout the property including the proper way to wear, handle and dispose of PPE equipment, respiratory etiquette, and social distancing rules. Electronic signs will also be used for messaging and communication.
  • 4. Back of the House Signage. Signage will be posted throughout the property reminding employees of the proper way to wear, handle and dispose of masks, to use gloves (in positions deemed appropriate by medical experts), wash hands, observe sneeze or coughing etiquette and to avoid touching their faces.
  • 5. Employee & Guest Health Concerns. We shall always be ready to provide support to our guests. Employees are instructed to stay home if they do not feel well and to contact their immediate supervisor on duty or department manager if they notice a co-worker or guest with a cough, shortness of breath, or other known symptoms of COVID-19. Employees and guests who are exhibiting any of the symptoms of COVID-19 while at the property will be instructed to immediately notify their manager (employees) or hotel reception (guests) respectively.
  • 6. Case Notification. Our employees will be given clear instructions on how to respond swiftly and report all presumed cases of COVID-19 on the property to the health authorities. If there is an alert to a potential case of COVID-19 at the hotels, we shall work with the state health authorities to follow the appropriate recommended actions. The security department will handle the reported case, contact authorities and apply the current protocols for handling a potential Covid-19 case.

c. Employees’ Responsibilities

Employees are key to an effective sanitation and health program. It is the responsibility of every employee to observe the rules and practices as set herein whether they concern their personal behavior or their work. Employees are obliged to familiarize themselves with preventive measures and apply them thoroughly, in order to protect their health and the health of the persons with whom they are in contact.

It is also the responsibility of each employee, according to their job responsibilities, to remind and explain to guests the house policies and the necessity to follow them. At the same time to report, any case of non-compliance with house policies involving guests or fellow workers. It must be clearly understood that breach of house rules from guest or staff endangers the health and life of all and the future of the company.

  • 1. Personal Hygiene. Correct hygiene and frequent handwashing with soap is vital to help combat the spread of virus. Employees must wash their hands or alternatively use sanitizer (when a sink is not available), every 60 minutes (for 20-seconds) and after any of the following activities: using the restroom, sneezing, touching the face, blowing the nose, cleaning, sweeping, mopping, smoking, eating, drinking, going on a break before or after starting a shift.
  • 2. Respiratory etiquette: Cover mouth and nose with a paper tissue or the elbow when sneezing or coughing.
  • 3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Employees must wear the Personal Protective Equipment according to guidelines and as described for each position. Appropriate PPE will be used by employees according to their job requirements and in adherence to state or local regulations and guidance. Training on how to properly use and dispose of all PPE will be mandatory. Masks, gloves, aprons, will be provided to employees as determined by state authorities and company standards.
  • 4. Work area sanitation: Employees are responsible to apply thoroughly the cleaning and sanitation standards at their work area and on tools used. Disinfection of work surfaces and appliances or tools is extremely important to minimize infection risk. e.g. worktables, keyboards, telephones, office machines, department specific machinery, tools and equipment.
  • 5. COVID-19 Training. All employees will receive training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols. Training is vital in communicating to and familiarizing employees with practices currently in place as well as with new amendments and additions to the Health & Sanitation program.

d. Cleaning & Sanitation Products and Protocols

Budapest Hotel Sofia use cleaning products that are approved for use and effective against viruses, bacteria and other airborne pathogens. We are working to ensure an uninterrupted supply of cleaning supplies and the necessary PPE.

  • 1. Public Spaces and Communal Areas. The frequency of cleaning and sanitizing will increase in all public spaces to once every two hours minimum. Emphasis on frequent contact surfaces including front desk check-in counters, bell desks, elevators and elevator buttons, door handles, public bathrooms, room keys and locks, ATMs, stair handrails, dining surfaces and seating areas. All Front of House (FOH) restrooms to be sanitized at least once every two hours.
  • 2. Guest Rooms. Cleaning and sanitizing protocols are applied to clean guest rooms, with attention to high-touch items including television remote controls, toilet seats and handles, door and furniture handles, water faucet handles, nightstands, telephones, in-room control panels, light switches, temperature control panels, luggage racks and flooring.
  • 3. All bed linen and laundry will be changed daily upon request and continue to be washed at a high temperature. Dirty linen will be collected in a bag in the guest room to eliminate excess contact while being transported to the laundry facility.
  • 4. Back of the House. The frequency of cleaning and sanitizing will also increase in high traffic, back of house areas, with an emphasis on the employee dining room, employee entrance, uniform rooms, employee restrooms, loading docks, offices, kitchens and offices.
  • 5. Shared Equipment. Shared tools and equipment will be sanitized before, during and after each shift or anytime the equipment is transferred to a new employee. This includes phones, radios, computers and other communication devices, payment terminals, kitchen implements, engineering tools, safety buttons, folios, cleaning equipment, keys, time clocks and all other direct contact items used throughout the hotels.
  • 6. Room Recovery Protocol. In the event of suspected case of COVID-19, the guest’s room will be removed from service and quarantined. The guest room will not be returned to service until case has been confirmed or cleared. In the event of a positive case, the room will only be returned to service after undergoing an enhanced sanitization protocol.
  • 7. Air Filter and HVAC Cleaning. The frequency of air filter replacement and HVAC system cleaning has been increased and fresh air exchange will be maximized.

e. Physical Distancing

  • 1. Throughout the hotel, we will apply the local health authority guidelines on proper physical distancing. In absence of these, WHO guidelines will be used.
  • 2. Any area where guests or employees queue will be clearly marked for appropriate physical distancing. This includes check-in, check-out, reception, elevator lobbies and casual dining.
  • 3. Hotel Front Desk. Employees will utilize every other workstation to ensure separation between employees whenever possible.
  • 4. Restaurants and Bars.  The restaurant and bar will be with reduced seating capacities to allow for a minimum of 2m between each seated group/party of guests.
  • 5. Meeting Spaces. Meeting and banquet set-up arrangements will allow for physical distancing between guests in all meetings and events based on state recommendations.
  • 6. Back of the House. Physical distancing protocols will be used in the employee dining rooms, uniform control areas, training classrooms, shared office spaces and other high-density areas in order to ensure appropriate distancing between employees.

f. Food Safety

  • 1. Sneeze guards.  Sneeze guards will be placed in THE restaurant in case a buffet is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • 2. Menus.  Hard copy and shared menus will be suspended. Digital menus and in QR code will be available. All day menu will be limited.
  • 3. Grab & Go. Offer of Grab and Go food and beverage options 24/7.
  • 4. Table set up & napkin service. Set up will be completed upon guest’s arrival and napkin service will be replaced by paper one usage napkins.
  • 5. Food suppliers. All food suppliers will provide written proof of Health and Safety measures they follow.