CERTIFICADO "COVID SAFE ACCOMMODATION COSTA RICA"

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What is the "COVID SAFE ACCOMMODATION COSTA RICA" Seal of Approval?

The "COVID SAFE ACCOMMODATION COSTA RICA" Seal of Approval is designed for persons who operate lodging accommodations. The objective of this management system is to provide them with the appropriately documented protocols and measures that are required of them to plan, implement, communicate, evaluate and improve these procedures in the management and operations of lodging facilities as spaces that are safe and prepared against Covid-19. With the implementation of these requirements that we have formulated as a checklist by zone, lodging establishments can guarantee they comply with all of the measures required by the Costa Rican health authorities and those recommended by Consuhotel, the international regulatory frameworks in effect at the time of publishing, as well as the best practices of the international hotel industry. The Covid-19 pandemic was declared a world-wide public health emergency by the WHO on January 30,2020 due to its propagation and severity. This situation creates a new standard for safety and cleaning critería and protocols for guests and workers to consider an establishment safe, disinfected of Covid-19, and prepared to attend to a hypothetical case in the installations. In the implementation of the Seal of Approval protocols, when it comes to safety no directive is negotiable; but that does not come at the cost of implementing them with sensitivity and a focus on customer service, so that they contribute to rather than detract from the customer's experience. The Seal of Approval is subject to the updates and modifications necessary as per the indications and directives of international and national health and tourism authorities.

What benefits does the hotel receive from implementing the Seal of Approval´s Management System?
To guarantee the continuity and viability of companies in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses must be capable of prevention, handling the risk and potential presence of the virus and carriers in their facilities according to the directives of the government and health authorities. Establishments must be prepared for inspections by the Health Department and the potential presence of a Covid-19 case in their installations. Possessing a management system that complies with all of the protocols and the corresponding documentation of information is crucial for the continuity of operations. This has inevitably changed the way businesses and customers both manage and utilize services since the arrival of Covid-19. To be considered a safe, disinfected and prepared hotel, a business must adapt its criteria, security and cleaning procedures for both guests and workers. By utilizing a Management System that is approved by an external auditor and receiving this distinctive seal of approval, you offer customers, employees, suppliers, visitors and the general public the peace of mind that they are entering an establishment 100% prepared to guarantee people´s safety. There is a clear perception of trustworthiness in the market towards businesses with this type of distinctive seal.
 
What types of hotels can receive the "COVID SAFE ACCOMMODATION COSTA RICA" Seal of Approval?  
Any lodging establishment, from small businesses to hotels with hundreds of rooms and large-scale facilities for events.

What is the cost of the document used to implement the "COVID SAFE ACCOMMODATION COSTA RICA" Management System?
The document can be acquired by establishments ready to begin the implementation process in PDF via email or a paper version by mail. Payment options are bank transfer or Sinpe Movil. The cost is $130 plus IVA. You may request the document by writing to calidad@consuhotel.com.

What is the cost for obtaining the  "COVID SAFE ACCOMMODATION COSTA RICA" Seal of Approval?
The cost varies depending on the acreditory entity that carries out the certification or validation. According to the parameters laid out by the IAF, the number of days required is generally determined by the number of employees, the complexity of the organization and the risks they are exposed to. The validation by Consuhotel is linked to the number of days of auditing necessary to validate conformity and the verification of the implementation of the requirements and protocols for documented information indicated in the parameters of the IAF (ISO 17021) according to the number of employees in the hotel.  

Who is in charge of officially approving the hotel? Is it the same team that does the consulting and accompaniment for the implementation of the Management System?
No, this is done by a series of qualified professionals in different areas. The verification or validation is done by external auditors, who are professionals in management systems, certified in the evaluation of quality control systems and international regulations (for example, ISO or privately through Total Quality Management or Lean Six Sigma, etc.), and who impartially verify compliance with all of the aspects of the Management System being validated. This is known as a third-party audit, because it must be carried out by someone with no interests in any organizations and the result, the Management System Seal of Approval, is not an internal outcome. In the process of implementation, technical experts are hired as consultants to offer support in the process, but these are not auditors of regulatory compliance.  

Is support available during the implementation process? And how much does the implementation consult cost?
In the process of implementation, consultants can be hired for the process as a whole, or technical experts can be hired hourly to provide support for clauses related to specific processes. These individuals are not the compliance auditors themselves; the process to verify and approve the seal is carried out by professional auditors in management of external regulations, when the establishment is ready for this final step.

Can I certify my restaurant with the "COVID SAFE ACCOMMODATION COSTA RICA¨ Seal of Approval?
Yes, the management system applies to hotels with food and beverage service and for establishments that offer these services. However, we are in the process of developing a specific seal for restaurants that must undergo verification of the guidelines of the Health Ministry and will be available June 1, 2020.  

What is the process to obtain the Seal?
In general terms it consists in four stages: Planning, Execution, Verification and Improvements. These stages are further broken down in the form of checklists in the document. To participate in the free online sessions we will be programming, or to request more information, write to calidad@consuhotel.com.

What are the stages for the implementation of the Management System and obtaining the Seal of Approval?

The 4 main stages are broken down as follows:

1. Planning: In this stage the establishment will design the strategy to assure compliance with the requirements of customers and regulatory entities to guarantee the sustainability and continuity of the business. It also determines responsibilities and persons in charge.  
2. Execution: In this stage the establishment implements the planned actions, manages the risks and opportunities.

3. Verification: In this stage the establishment validates that the processes planned conform to guidelines and that anticipated results are achieved.

4. Action: In this stage the establishment takes corrective actions to attend to deviations from the norms and focus their strategy towards continual improvement.

What are technical guidelines?
Guidelines offer standards and a blueprint for operating in the framework of specific systems, and tools for management and operation. They are an aid in organizing the administration and management of businesses via a clear guide for implementation. Technical guidelines are a document approved by a recognized organism that establishes technical specifications based on the results of experience, technological advances and legal aspects. They are protected by copyright. Quality guidelines and certifications are of voluntary nature and produce a perception that the quality standards of the business are guaranteed at the national and international level. This generates trust in customers, suppliers, investors and the public, regarding the safety of the product and services that the company offers. There are a variety of international certifications of compliance, both public and private.

What types of technical guidelines exist?
There are a multitude of certifications and certifying entities that guarantee the quality of products and services worldwide, both at the international and national level

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San José, Costa Rica. Del Instituto Costarricense de Turismo ICT 50 Este. / eMail: asesoriahotelera@consuhotel.com