Covid-19 Safety for Groups
YHA’s highest priority is to safeguard the health and well-being of our guests and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document outlines our COVID-Safe guidelines which help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We are compliant with all relevant directives and running our sites to the highest safety standards, using all recommended strategies to reduce the risk of transmission amongst our guests.
As YHA operates in all States and Territories in Australia, this has been prepared as a general overview of our policies and procedures, which ensure that we provide a safe experience for everyone. We are continuously reviewing our procedures in line with changing Government requirements to ensure we are a safe choice for you and your group.
YHA operates under the following Core Principles, which guide all our safety procedures across the network.
Government Legislation and Directives
YHA is following the advice provided by the various State and Territory Governments, who are administering their guidelines through the relevant Departments of Health as well as Safework Australia. We are also following all directives from State and Territory Departments of Education regarding the accommodation of school groups.
UPDATED 22nd April 2022: Guests will no longer be required to be vaccinated when staying at YHA properties across Australia unless there is a local health order in place requiring that they should be vaccinated to stay in the style of accommodation offered by YHA
When masks are required to be worn at indoor venues, all guests and staff must adhere to this mandate in all common areas of the property, including lifts, stairways and corridors.
At YHA, we recognise the current need to maintain physical distancing. To allow this we will:
- Encourage non-contact greetings
- Create extra space at kitchen serveries where required
- Provide additional accommodation rooms for adult leaders
- Discourage congregating in confined spaces
- Where practical, limit the time of proximity between staff and guests
You will notice that our staff are also practicing physical distancing. However, there are times when this is not practical, for example when working in limited space, or providing meals and direct assistance to guests. Government guidelines say that this is acceptable as part of our COVID-Safe plan, as we sometimes need to work within proximity to provide you with best experience for your stay.
All our staff have undertaken specific COVID-19 training and are fully competent in looking after our guests. The training covers all aspects of COVID-19 safety and has been tailored to their specific department.
At YHA, we have increased our usual cleaning regimes to now include the following:
- Increased frequency of cleaning in all areas
- Additional thorough cleaning after the conclusion of each group visit
- Assurance from our suppliers that our cleaning products are suitable for elimination of COVID-19
- Disinfecting of high touch points multiple times, a day, including:
- Light switches
- Door handles
- Toilet facilities
- Elevator buttons
- Stair rails and handles
We have also increased our hygiene requirements for all staff. As well as ensuring physical distancing where practical, our staff are cleaning and sanitising their hands before and after:
- Arriving at work
- Handling belongings
- Handling equipment
- Cleaning and sanitising areas
- Preparing food
- Returning to work from breaks
All guests will be asked to wash and/or sanitise their hands:
- Upon entering our properties
- Before and after eating
- Before and after using equipment
- Regularly throughout the day
In locations throughout our properties where soap and water are not available, we have provided hand sanitiser. We have also set up hand sanitising stations at the main entry points and in all common areas.
Multiple Groups on Site
If multiple groups are using our facilities, we have strategies in place to prevent mixing between groups. These include tactics such as staggered dining times, full cleaning and sanitising of dining/meeting areas between different groups, and restricted access of public bathrooms in common areas.
We will also work to avoid any contact between your group and any other guests of our properties, whenever practical.
We are complying with all physical distancing requirements in our rooms, limiting the number of people per room, where relevant. If required, we will provide extra rooms for all guests over 18 years of age, to adhere to these recommendations. Mixing of guests between rooms should be avoided when practicable.
In the event of any of your group showing symptoms of COVID-19, we will provide a suitable room for them to isolate in, until they are able to be collected from our property.
We will continue to offer and serve food for our groups, but have made several necessary changes to how this food is served to your group, in order to ensure this is provided in a COVID-Safe manner:
- Rather than use self-serve buffets, meals will be plated up by our staff and served to individual group members
- We will be providing more individually wrapped items
- We will strongly discourage the sharing of any food between the members of your group
- All dining areas will be thoroughly cleaned before and after your seating time
- We may need to use disposable utensils for certain meals
- Additional dining areas may be used to comply with social distancing requirements
Important Information You Need to Know Before Arriving at Our Properties
As per our usual requirements, you will need to complete a Room Allocation List for your group, declaring the full names of those sleeping in each room. Whilst YHA will only collect the names of your participants (primarily for use in the event of an evacuation), it is a requirement that you possess contact details for all members of your group, in the event that Government Contract Tracers need to contact any of them.
Additionally, you will need to notify YHA of the names of any additional people that may be visiting your group but are not staying overnight in our property.
On arrival at our property, the Group Leader will be required to sign a COVID-19 Declaration Form, stating that none of your guests:
- Have been or are unwell or displaying any of the symptoms of COVID-19 over the past 14 days
- Have been in contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19
- Have been instructed to isolate by their doctor
- Have returned from overseas in the past 14 days
- Have visited a declared hotspot in the last 14 days (defined by the relevant State or Territory Government)
- Have tested positive for COVID-19
Guests must not attend any YHA properties if any of the above conditions apply to them.
When you arrive at our property, we will endeavour to reduce contact with any other guests at our properties and get you checked in as efficiently as possible.
To help with this, we strongly recommend keeping your group outside the property and just having your group leader enter to complete the check in process. If this will not be practical for your group, please let us know in advance and we will arrange a suitable location for your group to wait whilst the check in process is completed.
We ask that all your group members use the hand sanitiser provided and follow all instructions given by our staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do all sites have the required government COVID-Safe plans, and can we have a copy of them?
Yes, all sites have both State and Company COVID-Safe Plans, and these can be provided on request. Please note, these plans cover all aspects of our properties, including facilities that your group may not be using during your stay.
Will our rooms be serviced more often?
Your rooms will be cleaned to a COVID-Safe standard before you arrive. Depending on how long you stay, your rooms may be serviced more frequently. However, this will be determined prior to arrival, during the reservation process.
Will the dedicated group areas be open?
Yes, all group specific areas will be open for use, but may be configured a little differently to normal in order to comply with Government regulations. These areas will also be cleaned more frequently.
Will the public bathrooms and toilets be available for us to use?
Yes, the public bathrooms and toilets will be available for your group to use. We are ensuring to clean these areas multiple times throughout the day.
What if we have a maintenance issue in one of our rooms?
Our experienced and trained maintenance crew will continue to help with any issues that arise during your stay. They will only enter a room when no guests are present, will use appropriate PPE and will clean and sanitise any areas that they have worked in upon completion.
Can we still come to reception if we need anything?
Of course – we love helping to make your stay perfect! We just ask that you use the provided hand sanitiser and that you maintain physical distancing from our staff and other guests.
Do we need to physically distance in the dining areas?
As physical distancing is not currently required for children, they can still sit together as usual. Any adults will need to spread out in the dining room and maintain the 1 person per 4m2 rule. We will have configured the seating to comply with this before you arrive. We will also ensure that your group is dining in a dedicated space, separate from any other guests in our properties or catering venues.
How will food be served?
We have adjusted our procedures to ensure that food is served in a safe way. This means that our staff may be wearing gloves and face masks when providing meals. Additionally, food will be served individually at tables, or pre-packaged, instead of the usual self-serve buffets.
Do we need to clear the tables ourselves?
Yes - your groups will be required to clear the tables as usual. However, they will just be directed to do in line with the specific property’s COVID-Safe plan.
Can we still use the water fountains?
Our water fountains are still available for you use and are the recommended option for filling drink bottles for your group. These facilities are sanitised frequently.
What do we do if one of our Group Members develops any symptoms consistent with COVID-19?
If any of your group develop any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you are required to notify our staff immediately. We will make an area available for the affected person(s) to self-isolate in, including a dedicated bathroom for them to use. Following this, you should arrange for the immediate collection of this group member, and seek medical advice, as per the recommendations for the specific State or Territory. Our staff can provide you with all necessary contact numbers for assistance.
Please note, the information in this guide is correct at the time of writing. We will continuously update our procedures in line with any changes to Government requirements.