At the time I’m writing this, the end of April 2020, there are plenty of stories going around that we might be told by our governments that social distancing – currently because of COVID19 – needs to continue for many months to come.
It may be that certain individuals will choose, regardless of any government mandates, to prefer to continue the social distancing we have all now become used to.
So how does this leave those who host guests – via Airbnb or a similar service – in their homes? How can they greet their guests? What about serving their breakfast? Can they live in the same house as others whilst maintaining social distancing?
Several of the issues are quite easy to deal with.
- Many of us with whole-house rentals use a keypad so that guests can let themselves in without needing personal contact with the host. In a shared home B & B you can do this too
- If you pride yourself on the warm personal welcome when you greet guests, make sure that there is a personal handwritten welcome message from you in their room
- Get to know your guests in advance via text, email or phone
- Explain to your guests that you are maintaining social distancing in your home for the benefit of all
- When your guests arrive, add to their feeling of ‘coming home’ by making sure that the room is perfect and that they have everything they need. Bottled water, coffee making facilities, a small snack, a local ‘what’s on’ magazine, a fresh posy of flowers – all these will make your guests feel welcome
- Wear attractive fabric face masks around the house – have a few spares in case your guests would like to use masks too. And remember, there’s no need to be shy about wearing masks – we are completely accustomed to it these days
BUT WHAT ABOUT BREAKFAST?
If you’ve been accustomed to serving your guests with a home-cooked breakfast in your dining room then you’ll be reluctant to not offer this amenity. But for the sake of your health, and the health of your guests, you’ll not be able to offer this if social distancing is still in force.
But you can still delight your guests with a thoughtful morning meal. Plan to serve them with a ‘breakfast basket’ or ‘basket in a box’ which you can leave outside their door every morning. You can even prepare it the evening before. In your basket or box – or even on a pretty tray – add items that are sealed by the manufacturer. Obviously you would have all the items on the list below but choose from:
- Quality packaged pastries
- Mini jars of jam or honey (even better if it’s locally made)
- Those individual servings of cereal, muesli or oatmeal
- Small bottle or carton of milk
- Small bottle or carton of fresh orange juice (or other fruit juice
- Individually wrapped mini cheese (such as Baby Bel)
- Teabags – herbal and / or regular (assuming there’s a kettle in the room)
- Fruit with a tough peel – a couple of oranges or bananas for example
- Some decent chocolate
- A good quality fruit yogurt
- A small pack of crackers or water biscuits
- Individual tubs of butter
- Small packs of nuts
- Cereal bars
- Bottled water
None of the above needs cooking by the guest and they offer plenty of variety for a healthy, good quality breakfast for your guests. If you like the small details in life (and I do) add a few freshly-picked flowers from your garden (or a single bloom), fabric napkins (rolled in napkin rings) and (old school, I know) a daily newspaper if you still get one delivered. I’m sure that you can think of other treats and extras too.
Buy only breakfast foods that you and other members of the household like, That way, if the guests don’t eat the yogurt, for example, and it’s going out of date, it won’t go to waste. But go for quality, rather than quantity and pay attention to the presentation of your breakfast treats.
You can order most of these goods online, for Amazon for example, from wholesale outlets or even from your local supermarket. Buy goods that have a good shelf life so that anything not used by your current guests -as long as it’s unopened – will be fine and still in date for your next group.
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.