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June 11, 2020

Lodging workforce can now get online COVID-19 training and checklist help

Courtesy / HospitalityMaine Maine restaurants and lodging establishments can display badges online or in their businesses showing that employees have completed the online courses that meet COVID-19 health and safety guidelines established by the state.

Owners of lodging establishments can get a free crash course in COVID-19 prevention, launched Tuesday by HospitalityMaine.

The free COVID-19 Lodging Readiness Program is aimed at hotel, motel and other lodging workforce, similar to one for restaurants launched last month in partnership with Eastern Maine Community College. The courses are a direct response to the state's Department of Economic & Community Development's reopening checklists for businesses that list requirements and precautions to help with running the business safely during the public health crisis.

The lodging course is a collaborative effort with Maine Quality Centers, the Maine Community College System and is administered by EMCC. Three in-depth digital modules, covering sanitation, cleanliness and distance procedures — from check-in to check-out — train employees, managers and owners to execute the new rules so they can open safely, said a news release from HospitalityMaine.

"There was an urgency to educate an entire industry workforce on new ways of operating safely and consistently," said HospitalityMaine CEO Steve Hewins. "We wasted no time in this execution. It's a perfect partnership that is helping our industry move forward.” 

Hewins told Mainebiz last month that a big factor in reopening is customer confidence. "Customers need to feel that it's being taken seriously."

Hewins said that in order for businesses to open successfully, "We need to train consistently, and we're going to train exactly to the checklist.

EMCC, in Bangor, had the resources to make it happen and "dropped everything" to get the restaurant course set up in a matter of about 10 days, he said. He said the lodging course was set up more quickly, because the technology was then in place.

"The program will help give our staff the confidence that we are up to date on all the latest cleaning and sanitizing techniques we need to keep our guests safe,” said Jean Ginn Marvin, owner of the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport. “In this challenging time of swirling information it is great to know that we can count on Maine Community College System and HospitalityMaine to create a program at the speed of business that is ready to take now, when we need the support."

The Restaurant Readiness Program, launched in May, has been taken by more than 1,000 Maine restaurant workers, who are now certified in the state’s checklist, HospitalityMaine said.

Successful completion of Food Service Foundations and Lodging Foundations include a badge and certificate that are designed to be shared online to inform the public an establishment has taken all precautions against COVID-19 spread. The badges also can be added to the education resume of those who have completed a course, and allows the to take more advanced training that the organizations will offer in the future.

"More importantly, it provides the fundamental information needed to help keep yourself and fellow employees safe, and empower you to mentor and inform guests so they also follow the best practices outlined here," the course's website says.

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