Priority Pass set forth dozens of COVID-19-related safety standards for its network of more than 1300 lounges.
The program — a membership to which many of us enjoy as a benefit of premium credit and charge cards — set forth a list of guidelines for pretty much every aspect a guest’s visit to a member lounge.
Because Priority Pass lounges are contracts to a variety of independent and airline lounges, they don’t really have an official say or control of clubs’ rules.
So these are more helpful suggestions and wish lists more than anything else.
Social Distancing and Hand Sanitizer
Social distancing is encouraged, obviously. And it sounds like they want hand sanitizer everywhere.
Plus, they’d like signage in restrooms to remind us we must wash our hands for at least 20 seconds.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
Not surprisingly, employees will be asked to wear PPE. I didn’t see anything requiring the same of guests. Plus, glass or plastic dividers should be installed where possible.
Guests might no longer touch the handheld, electronic device used to register members for each visit.
Instead, “The passenger must…verbally agree [to] the visit details and the Lounge staff will ‘Accept’ the visit on behalf of the passenger. Again, the device is not required to be passed to the passenger for acceptance.”
Inside the Lounge
It sounds like Priority Pass wants lounge staff to find you a seating location.
“Introduce a seat allocation service whereby the receptionist identifies space in the lounge for each new guest or group of guest,” the writer. “This may assist with capacity management by ensuring that guests are utilising spaces that are appropriate to the size of their group.”
Failing that, Priority Pass suggests that if clubs “cannot implement a seat allocation service, operate a clear table policy, and place signs on tables which have been cleared, cleaned and sanitised, so guests can easily identify which tables have been cleaned.”
Children’s play areas should be 86ed, they suggest.
And areas where people tend to congregate should be identified and dealt with so congestion doesn’t become an issue.
Bye-Bye, Printed Reading Material?
Priority Pass recommends lounges do away with printed magazines and newspapers.
Instead, the suggest clubs “Replace print media with digital media access on guest’s personal device.” So I wonder if it’ll be sort of like an Apple News-type network we can access?
Eating and Drinking
Priority Pass encourages lounges to avoid self-service food and beverage options. Instead, they suggest staff members serve items directly to guests. This is a practice we think may become standard at buffets, in general.
And here’s a logical suggestion — yet one that never really crossed my mind until now:
“For bar service, attendants should be especially aware of which surfaces are clean and which are potentially contaminated. For example, it would be a bad idea to clear a used glass from a guest and then hand a full, clean bottle to a new customer.”
That makes complete sense. It might slow down bar service by a few seconds in some instances. But it’s certainly a good idea.
When it comes to cleaning a lounge, Priority Pass recommends its lounges:
Use cleaning products recommended by local health authorities as being effective against COVID-19
Clear and disinfect guest areas once empty before allowing new guests to occupy
Disinfect all high-traffic areas daily, and thoroughly clean the entire lounge regularly
Plan and implement a policy for managing guests who show signs of COVID-19 inside the lounge
Keep air conditioning on throughout the day and set frequency of air recirculation to at least five times a day if possible
Switch air filtration systems to 100% outside air
I’m sure most lounges took the initiative to implement most of these changes prior to Priority Pass’ memo. It’ll be interesting to see which ones adhere to the guidance and which ones do their own thing.
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