Called COVID CONFIDENT, the accreditation will indicate to customers that an establishment has in place the necessary risk assessments, safety measures and staff training, in line with the Government and UKHospitality’s published guidelines, to reopen safely when permitted to do so.
Establishments with an AA COVID CONFIDENT mark will be listed on the AA’s consumer-facing RatedTrips.com website.
The scheme has already been backed by 20 industry bodies including: Craft Guild of Chefs, Master Innholders, HOSPA, Institute of Hospitality, B&B Association, Glamping Association, People 1st, and Tourism Alliance.
The scheme is open to all hospitality establishments that pass the AA’s criteria, including: hotels; restaurants; pubs; B&Bs and guest accommodation; camping, glamping and holiday parks; self-catering accommodation; hostels; serviced apartments; attractions; and golf courses. The scheme is free to establishments, with applicants encouraged to make a donation to Hospitality Action.
Establishments can apply online and must be able to supply a risk assessment as well as to provide evidence that relevant procedures and measures are in place, and that staff training has taken place. Businesses will also have to sign up to a COVID Confident Charter, a code of conduct that will include a commitment to continuing to update procedures and measures as guidelines change, and to submitting to future audits as required.
“COVID-19 has had a profound impact upon all those working in the hospitality sector,” says Simon Numphud, managing director at AA Media. “We believe that many members of the public will be looking to enjoy days out, short breaks, eating out and other experiences as lockdown eases, but that confidence in the sector is vital.
“We hope that the COVID CONFIDENT scheme will be a valuable stepping stone for establishments to restore consumer confidence as lockdown eases.”
The initiative has been welcomed by Hospitality Action, whose chief executive Mark Lewis says will give staff members and customers vital reassurances in these times of uncertainty.
“As hotels restaurants, pub and bars prepare to open their doors again in the coming weeks, there will inevitably be uncertainty, both among staff members and customers guests, around the levels of safety in hospitality environments,” says Lewis.
“We therefore applaud AA Hospitality for creating an industry-standard accreditation scheme that offers the reassurance that workers and visitors can return to venues with confidence.”
The scheme is open to all hospitality establishments, including those that do not currently hold an AA Rosette or Star rating. However, any establishment serving food will need to hold a food hygiene score of three and above to be eligible.