Your guide to the
Industry Safety Protocols (TBCSA)

The core principles which apply across the industry for guests and staff are:

  1. Correct use of masks and other protective gear (PPE).
  2. Effective and regular hand sanitising.
  3. Regular surface cleaning of all types of surfaces.
  4. Physical distancing through-out all facilities and sites, and in all types of crafts and vehicles.
  5. Obtaining required COVID-19 guest information.

Read the full TBCSA (Tourism Industry Standard Protocols) documents here:

A Brief Summary of the Guidelines

(NightsBridge note: In a small property, this is the Owner or Manager and you don’t need to “submit a plan”. You will be the person held responsible for overseeing that the measures you agreed or pledged to take, are being implemented.)

Require all guests or visitors to wear cloth or other suitable masks at all times. They don’t have to wear masks in the privacy of an accommodation unit or room, while eating and drinking, or when in connected small travel groups  in open space situations (e.g. family or friends traveling together).

Get Screening and Contact Details:
Get the name and contact details; information with respect to trip details (for tracking post-stay); COVID-19 status and risk profile; and answers to COVID-19 screening questions from all guests staying in properties.
(NightsBridge note:  If you’re not going to have contact with the guest, e.g in the case of self-catering units where the guest just collects the key, then a shortened form can be completed before the guest arrives.)

Take Temperature:
Take and record the temperature of all guests daily, unless there is no guest contact with staff on check-in and/or during the days of their travel or stay.

Guest Briefing:
Ensure that all guests are adequately informed, via either leaflets, signs, posters, apps and/or briefings of the COVID-19 operating protocols, why they are necessary and how they affect them.

Use Less Paper:
Handling of items must be minimised with use of online reservations, e-check-in and e-check-out, and any types of non-contact processing to reduce the need for proximity of people and touching.

Cash handling should be minimised or eliminated.

If a guest or staff  member handles paper, cash, pens etc, hand sanitising should happen immediately afterwards.

  • All luggage should be disinfected before or after off-loading from vehicles, or on guest arrival and staff handling luggage should sanitise or wash hands immediately before and after touching luggage
  • If the guest handles their own luggage to move it into or out of, their own vehicle or a separate room/unit/chalet, and it is not entering a shared building or touched by staff, then disinfectant is not required

In the event of a guest showing COVID-19 symptoms and/or has tested positive for COVID-19, follow detailed protocols to handle the situation, ensuring the guest obtains appropriate medical support, and is transferred to, or housed in, isolation or quarantine facilities as required and that other guests or staff who have been in contact with a COVID-19 positive guest are quarantined, and tested where possible.

  • Increased cleaning and sanitisation procedures must be introduced for stay-over and check-out cleans to ensure all surfaces which are touched regularly are sanitised during the clean.
  • Cleaning and linen changes should be reduced in frequency, mini-bar stock should be reduced to a minimum or mini-bars emptied and turn-down service should be suspended.
  • Surfaces in rooms should be reduced where feasible and practical e.g. remove excess softs and décor items. Guest amenities other than basic requirements, should be on request.
  • Where dormitory style bedrooms are used and shared between non-group / non-family members, a maximum number of occupants per room, at approximately 50% of capacity must be implemented.

[NightsBridge Note:  Remember again that this is written for large hotels and small properties alike.  Apply what works in your situation. What you’re trying to avoid is people touching the same items other people have just used, or touching uncovered food on a breakfast buffet with hands (e.g. muffins):]

  • Spoon/tong self-service buffets are not allowed, and buffets should be discontinued if possible and food should be plated and/or provided in covered single portions only.
  • Menus must be replaced with non-touch options or sanitised after each guest use.
  • Tables must be sanitised before and after each guest use.
  • Where possible and for instance while taking orders, waiting staff must stand at least a meter from tables.
  • As much as possible should be removed from tables, e.g., tablecloths, and only essential items such as salt and pepper should remain on tables and be sanitised after each guest
  • Clearing and cleaning systems must be implemented with designated containers for different items cleared and sealable refuse containers for food waste

[NightsBridge Note:  Remember again that this is written for large hotels and small properties alike.  Apply what works in your situation:]

  • To ensure 1,5m spacing, staffing levels may have to be reduced and menu should be simplified to reduce production complexities and therefore number of staff required.
  • Equipment must be sanitised frequently using surface sanitisers (handles, knobs, dials, switches and static equipment) and utensils, pots and pans, and receptacles, should undergo more frequent hot washing.
  • Kitchen equipment and guest crockery and cutlery should be washed separately.
  • The exteriors of any packaged food item, not completely used up, and of all containers of food, should be sanitised with wipes after each use.
Provide staff who may temporarily be closer than 1,5 metres to guests or visitors at any point during the performance of their duties, with additional PPE, such as visors or goggles, or provide physical barriers such as Perspex or similar.
(NightsBridge note: please bear in mind that these provisions were written for large hotel complexes as well as small places. Read it in that context and be practical. If you don’t have queues or a permanent desk situation, perspex is certainly not required.)

Ensure that all staff are trained on COVID-19 operational requirements including:

  • The virus, how it is spread, the symptoms and how long it survives on surfaces;
  • The required sanitisation and distancing procedures for themselves, guests and/or suppliers;
  • Package handling and handling of orders and deliveries;
  • The effective use of PPE and what PPE they must use;
  • What to do if they feel sick or develop symptoms.

Between People:
Ensure that the space between any persons in public areas and back of house areas is a minimum of 1.5 metres at all times, with two metres preferred, unless the persons concerned are small groups of connected friends or family travelling or staying together.

In Public Areas:
The capacities of all public areas, including tables in dining room, public seating areas, terraces and poolside, must be determined and managed to ensure a minimum 1,5 metres distancing is implemented.

  • Members of staff serving guests and using an area or a facility continuously, such as a counter or desk, must sanitise their work surface after every guest use.
  • Sufficient sanitiser or sanitising wipes must be provided for guests through-out public areas to enable them to sanitiser their hands on arrival and after touching any surfaces.
  • Appropriate effective disinfectant surface cleaners are to be used and hand sanitisers must be 70% alcohol.
  • Provide sanitiser for guests through-out public areas to enable them to sanitise their hands on arrival and after touching any surfaces.
  • All non-manned surfaces which guests or staff touch, in public areas or back of house areas must be sanitised regularly. The frequency of sanitisation will depend on the extent of usage and nature of the surface and must be determined and monitored.
  • Any areas which are not in use, or which can be taken out of use, should be locked or taped off to eliminate usage.

All premises must be kept well ventilated by natural or mechanical means and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems must be regularly cleaned, including filters, serviced professionally, and operating effectively.

Treat delivery companies in the same way you would treat visitors. E.g. take contact details, make sure the delivery person and the person accepting the delivery are wearing masks and sanitise their hands, sanitise goods before storing.

  • Keep your laundry area sanitised.
  • Make sure to bag your linen in the room and handle with care. Wear gloves and masks when putting the dirty linen into the washing machine.
  • Wash on the hottest cycle you can manage with good detergents, preferably peracetic.
  • Any swimming pools operating must be at maximum safe levels of chlorine or other anti-bacterial agents
  • Water reticulation systems, fridges, dishwashers, and laundry equipment must be regularly cleaned, serviced and operating effectively.

Who wrote these documents?

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) put these protocols together after consultation with 23 sub-sector associations and representatives. NightsBridge contributed client feedback on the draft document and helped to reduce the requirements for the smaller properties.

The tourism associations consulted widely across their membership and studied world-wide protocols to come up with guidelines so that our industry can regulate itself.

The protocols have been evaluated by experts, and approved by an epidemiologist. They align with the latest Disaster Management and Department of Employment and Labour (DoEL) Regulations, the World Health Organization (WHO), National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD), Department of Health (DoH) guidelines and advice, as well as the Health & Safety Act as well as the Directions published by Department of Tourism.

The protocols will remain valid until the State of National Disaster is called off.

Some common-sense answers:


At this stage, yes, but you can issue it yourself. (On a letterhead, with your name and contact details as the owner/manager, work address, and employee’s ID name and ID number. (This is a just-in-case precaution at this stage.)

People can travel for leisure purposes within their province, and for business, funerals, taking children to schools etc, between provinces with the needed documentation.

People who are travelling between provinces would have a letter from their employer or a permit from a police station if they are travelling for a funeral or other reason. As the owner or manager of the accommodation you have the option to ask for this proof. You also have the discretion to deny entry if you feel uncomfortable with the answer, staying mindful of the impact on your business reputation and health risks. Those travelling for leisure within their province will not need any documentation to stay with you.

Yes, of course. If you have a small buffet make sure a staff member serves.  Or rather use individually plated options.

We’d like to encourage you to take a common-sense approach: Government gave guidelines on how to reopen a business. The tourism associations consulted widely across their membership and studied world-wide protocols to come up with guidelines so that our industry can regulate itself. Read all of these as best practice. Apply what is practical and applicable to your own circumstances.

The common-sense approach would be to think about things that different people might touch, one after the other. It mostly boils down to good manners! Don’t touch open food. And avoid things that cannot be washed before they are re-used.

  • Wearing a mask.
  • Regular hygiene like hand-washing and using sanitiser (70%+ alcohol content).
  • Keeping social distance.
  • Disinfecting often-touched surfaces.
  • Don’t come to work if you’re sick.
  • Make sure anyone who becomes sick is sent home or to a health facility as needed.

Think about it.  If you stayed in a room and knew someone was there before you, would you feel comfortable about using the extra blanket or pillow in the cupboard? You don’t know if the guest before you used it or not, or whether it was then cleaned or not?  (This was a concern even before the virus.)

So either assure clients that the items in their room have ALL been cleaned, including extras. OR remove them and tell the guest to ask if they need anything. Then you would know the items had been used and need cleaning. If you’re leaving vases and other decorative items in the room, they would have to appear on your cleaning checklist and would need to be sanitised after the stay. And you need to check your checklists.  🙂

Of course, if you’re planning to rest your rooms for 2 to 3 days in-between guests, then this wouldn’t matter so much.

These protocols will be valid for Levels 3 and 2 of lockdown. At Level 1 it will be relaxed even more, and it will expire when the State of National Disaster is called off.

Helpful Resources:

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and implementing these protocols to the best of their ability.