Recognizing the need for new standards of cleaning, disinfection, hygiene, and the competitive advantage that the implementation of additional measures provide for the island as a tourist destination, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company announced the creation of a program to grant a gold-star validation seal to tourism-related businesses.
This certification (or badge) will be granted to those who are implementing the highest health and safety measures, agency officials said.
“The program has been developed using the most rigorous standards, best practice cases have been used as reference, as well as guides and recommendations from the agencies and organizations that specialize on the subject,” the agency said in a statement.
The program’s goal is to elevate Puerto Rico’s tourism industry and position it as the new gold standard in destination health and safety. The PRTC aims to increase consumer confidence in Puerto Rico “as a destination that is prepared and has adjusted to the current situation.”
The program’s rollout begins May 4. By the time the tourism industry reopens and the destination is ready to welcome visitors again, it is expected that the vast majority of tourism-related businesses will be practicing these measures and safeguarding everyone’s safety, Tourism Co. Executive Director Carla Campos said.
The two-level system was designed based on the guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 established by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization, the OSHA 3990 report, Puerto Rico Health Department guidelines, the government’s executive orders, and high-caliber programs such as Singapore’s Safety Seal and the National Restaurant Association.
The first level is a Tourism Health and Safety Operational Guide, a practical guidance with the mandatory measures to safeguard the health of employees, visitors and local patrons.
The second one is the Health and Safety Seal; a certification program for all endorsed tourism industry businesses that meet or have exceeded the implementation and on-going execution of the established measures.
“These operating guides and the certification program are vital for the reopening of the travel and tourism sector in Puerto Rico and are important factors that will place us in a highly competitive position once the travel and tourism market re-opens,” Campos said.
The guide includes measures such as: creation of wellness checkpoints for employees and guests; new check-in process and completion of the Travel Declaration and Contact Tracing Form; safe and social distancing measures guidance per type of business and activity; restrictions and additional health measures for self-service food systems; augmented cleaning and disinfecting protocols; instructions regarding hand-sanitizing stations; and training on the use of PPE – Personal Protection Equipment.
These new standards of hygiene will be applicable to all tourism businesses island wide including hotels, resorts, small inns “paradores,” posadas, bed & breakfasts, guesthouses, time-share properties, short-term rentals, casinos, tour operators, tourist transportation, experiences management, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and attractions.