Actions we have taken and our responsibilities
Both ourselves and our cleaners have completed the Covid 19 - Holiday Let Cleaning Course, Taught by Landlords Little Helper and recommended by the Scottish Association of Self Caterers (ASSC).
We have studied the ASSCs Cleaning protocols which have been approved by the Scottish Government, we have joined Sawday’s Clean and Safe Charter and have passed Visit Scotland 'Good to Go assessment.
We have completed risk assessments of each cottage. During this process we identify risks and try to mitigate them. If we think that the risk cannot be mitigated we may have had to remove the risk in question for now.
Items that we have removed include, books, toys, games, dvds, leaflets & most of the guidebooks. We have identified that we cannot disinfect these to the standard that we would like so have removed these temporarily.
We have replaced the guide books with online information on our website, what’s on, local eateries doing takeaways, good hill-walks etc that you can access on your own devices:
All crockery, cutlery, glassware and kitchenware must be put through the dishwasher or hand washed in hot soapy water on every change over (regardless of whether it has been left clean by previous guests or not). In order to make this feasible, we have had to reduce kitchen equipment available to guests for now.
Herbs and spices, salt, pepper, and canned items will be left in the cupboards but all other foodstuffs we usually leave (pasta, flours, rice etc.) will be removed.
We are changing all bedding at every changeover to allow for sufficient cleaning of pillows, duvets and mattress protectors between guests.
We are steam cleaning and fogging all of the soft furnishings between guests.
We are disinfecting with a virucidal spray before and after a deep-clean on all high touch points and surfaces. We are using Envirosafe SF (food safe) EN14476 for kitchens and Envirosafe Multi Surface EN14476 for the rest of the cottage.
Exterior BBQs, seating, and gate latches will be disinfected.
The Woodshed hot tub will be cleaned and disinfected including all high touch points.
For now we will no longer be offering home-made scones, jam, butter & milk. We will however provide tea, milk, and biscuits in sealed packets.
We will operate a self check-in with phone numbers for any problems you may encounter during your stay.
We will need to store your information, name, address and telephone number in a secure and GDPR compliant database for the foreseeable future to help with Scottish government track and trace investigations in case of isolated outbreaks.
If any of our staff are feeling at all unwell they will self isolate immediately.
We are very aware of the huge upsurge in the use of single use plastics. Rest assured that, where possible, we are using masks and aprons that can be laundered and reuseable gloves that can go through a dishwasher cycle for disinfection.
Update 10th December 2020 : New festive restrictions & Tier 4
We are writing to you following the Scottish Government's most recent announcement regarding further Covid restrictions over the festive period. The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today that we are to enter Tier 4 (at midnight on Christmas Day) and for 3 weeks thereafter.
We have therefore taken the decision to close from today until the 5th February 2021. It is with great sadness that we bring you this bad news - we had been really looking forward to welcoming you this December & into the New Year.
Best wishes for Christmas & stay safe
Susan & Jenny x
Update 23rd November 2020: Level 3 and travel restrictions put into law
From the 24th November Midlothian remains in level 3. Travel restrictions will be put into law on 20th November to further enforce the current guidance that restricts people who live in a level 3 or level 4 local authority area from travelling outside their local authority except for an essential purpose - such as work or caring responsibilities.
What you need to know:
We are reopening 11th December 2020 (Woodshed 4th Dec). We are now in level 3.
Level 3 travel restrictions mean that all non essential travel is stopped into and out of a level 3 area. Locals of Midlothian council area only may still holiday at Eastside. This has now been made law.
You should only stay with your household or extended household.
The Scottish Government is updating local levels on a weekly basis and we will update guests as soon as we have that information. Please get in touch if you have any questions, we will try our very best to answer them.
Update 31st October 2020: Scottish Government level 3 travel restrictions
From the 2nd November there will be stricter restrictions for some areas of Scotland. Eastside Cottages fall within the Midlothian area which has been placed in the Scottish Governments level 3 covid restrictions.
What you need to know:
We are closing our doors until the 27th November 2020 and have contacted all those affected.
Level 3 travel restrictions mean that all non essential travel is stopped into and out of a level 3 area. Locals of Midlothian council area only may still holiday at Eastside.
Update 9th October 2020: Scottish Government Central Belt restrictions
From the 9th October there will be stricter targeted restrictions for some areas because of the higher rate of infection in the Central Belt. Eastside Cottages fall within the Central Belt area.
What you need to know:
We remain open and our covid cleaning and changeovers remain at the highest standard to keep both our guests, our staff and ourselves safe.
Within the Central Belt all Restaurants & Pubs will have to close from the 9th October for 16 days.
Within the Central Belt you are advised to avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary.
Please ensure that you have reviewed the complete list of enhanced restrictions before your stay here.
Update 25th September 2020: Scottish Government requirements
From the 25th September the Scottish Government has changed the requirements for those staying in self-catering accommodation.
Self-catering holiday accommodation is within the Scottish Government's definition of a private dwelling, so from 25th September 2020 self-catering accommodation may only be used by a single household (or recognised extended household).
The one household rule per self-catering premises is now a legal requirement. If your group is made up of more than one household then please get in touch. We can postpone or refund as appropriate.
We ask guests to please inform us if you feel at all unwell in the run up to your stay. We are offering postponements or gift vouchers for those cancelling at the last minute due to Covid-19 symptoms.
We are asking guests to self check-in. The keys will be left in key safes outside the cottage doors. Codes will be sent to guests before arrival. If you arrive before 16.00 it is likely that we will still be cleaning and so you will not be granted access before 16.00.
We are providing guests with a handy hints guide and user manuals for all the appliances in plastic wallets. We are more than happy to help and will always be on the end of the phone but will try to avoid entering the cottage unless for an emergency.
We recommend bringing most of your food with you as there are still some queues outside the stores in Penicuik & Edinburgh. If you wish to get a delivery you may need to book in advance. Please get your food delivered when you are home in the cottage as we can’t unpack shopping for you at the moment.
Guests will now be asked to bag all of their own rubbish, including any unused food they don’t wish to take home, putting it in the bins outside themselves.
Guests will be given bags and asked very kindly to strip their own beds and put the bed linen, towels and kitchen linen in bags for us.
Guests are asked to open windows on departure to change the air.
Guests will be provided with an anti-viral spray, rubber gloves and cloth for disinfecting anything that they have brought into the cottage that they may be worried about.
Guests are advised to wash their hands for 20 seconds throughout the day. We provide hand wash and moisturiser in all the cottages.
Please bring your own hand sanitiser, gloves and masks with you for your stay if you are venturing out. The Scottish Government requires a mask to be worn in all public indoor spaces.
If you fall ill within 14 days of leaving Eastside Cottages please let us know.
Our cleaning protocols
Firstly we would like to explain that we do not think that every one of our guest has the virus or is a carrier but for the sake of our risk assessment and cleaning protocols we have to make that assumption.
We are asking guests to leave promptly at 10.00
- having bagged and binned all rubbish
- having stripped the beds and put all bed linen, towels and kitchen linen in the bags provided.
- having opened all of the windows
Susan & Jenny with PPE (masks, gloves, aprons) will enter the cottages to remove the bagged rubbish and linen. They will also bag and remove all pillows, duvets and mattress protectors for cleaning.
We will then pre-clean disinfect the mattress, sofas, kitchen surfaces and bathrooms with Envirosafe SF (food safe) EN14476 for kitchens and Envirosafe Multi Surface EN14476.
We will load the dish washers with all the kitchen crockery, cutlery & glassware and put on 70 degree cycle.
We will then wash all pots, pans and items unable to be put in the dishwasher in hot soapy water.
Our cleaning team will arrive and clean to their usual extremely high standard. All soft furnishings will be steam cleaned and fogged. All walls are wiped, light switches and plug sockets cleaned. We have a hoover with a hepa filter to protect the cleaning staff and filter the air. We have changeable mop heads and will change between properties.
Once the cottage is clean the new pillows, duvets and mattress protectors and linen are brought into the cottages and put on the beds.
Susan & Jenny will quality control and do an after-clean disinfectant spay. Covering all high touch areas and surfaces identified as a risk in our cottage risk assessments. All light switches, door handles, remote controls, toaster & kettle switches, window openers, handrails will be disinfected as well as all surfaces including the floor, furniture, carpets & curtains.
All cleaning and disinfecting is done working back to the door from the furthest point in the cottage to avoid cross contamination. In food preparation areas we are using a food safe disinfectant, Envirosafe SF EN14476. We are not using disinfectant on bedding due to potential allergies and are instead laundering at 60 degrees.
Lastly we will disinfect all high touch outdoor surfaces, BBQs, seating, gate latches, door handles & the hot tub.
All linen will be washed at 60 degrees. To keep ourselves safe, the bagged linen will be left in a storage area for 72 hours before we unpack and start washing.
Due to the intensity of each clean we can no longer be as flexible in offering 3 or 4 night stays. We simply cannot do two change-overs to this standard in a week. There are a few shorter stays available in the woodshed if you look around where we have managed to fit them in.
We are keeping this predominantly 7 night minimum stay for the foreseeable future. We hope you understand that we just cannot cut any corners when keeping everyone safe.
As the R number changes and the Scottish Government advice adapts we too shall adapt and change. We hope to reintroduce our shorter breaks, home-baking & jigsaws soon! In the meantime please know that we are doing everything we can to keep everyone safe.
Stay safe everyone.
What happens if I develop symptoms while staying at Eastside?
If you develop symptoms you should immediately inform us by phone call or email.
01968 677 842
Scottish Government guidance states that:
In the event that a guest develops symptoms whilst staying away from home, they should immediately book a test through NHS Inform https://www.nhsinform.scot/sel... or, if they can’t get online, by phoning 0800 028 2816.
In accordance with Test and Protect, https://www.nhsinform.scot/campaigns/test-and-protect
...people with symptoms are required to self-isolate for at least 7 days, and everyone in their household should isolate for 14 days. If the test is negative, everyone can end isolation. If the test is positive, everyone should continue to isolate, and the NHS Test and Protect team will be in touch to start contact tracing. Those contacted through the Test and Protect programme will be required to self-isolate for at least 14 days.
If guests who are isolating can travel home safely to isolate, avoiding the use of public transport, they should do this.
In the event that this is not possible, the guest should discuss this with the NHS Test and protect team. The guest may be signposted to the National Assistance Helpline on 0800 111 4000 if they need help to isolate and cannot arrange it themselves or through friends and family.
In some circumstances further discussion may be required with the local Health Protection Team and local authority to ensure that the person has suitable accommodation to isolate safely and effectively.
After the required period of self-isolation, guests and anyone else in their party who has been affected can then return to their main place of residence.
The guidance is set out at a high level to cover a range of eventualities and individual circumstances, but the principles below regarding seeking advice from the NHS test and protect team and avoiding risks of transmission are key.
Where is the nearest Test Site?
The NHS will inform the person of the nearest test site.
Who would be liable for any costs associated with an extended stay, including any cancelled bookings for future guests?
If the person can travel home safely, without the use of public transport, they should do so. If they are unable to do this, and the accommodation is the safest place - then they should isolate there. They would be liable for costs of an extended stay. If it is not possible to remain in the accommodation for the duration of the isolation period e.g. because the accommodation is booked for future guests, and they can’t find other accommodation themselves with support from friends or family, the person should discuss this with the NHS Test and Protect team. There is assistance available for those who may need help to isolate via the National Assistance Helpline on 0800 111 4000. This helpline routes the person through to the local authority support team who, in discussion with the individual and the local health protection team, will help identify alternative isolation accommodation.
Does the local authority / NHS have to provide accommodation for the self-isolating guests if they can’t travel home?
As above, in the first instance they should travel home if they can do so safely. If not, they will need to discuss the safest option with Test and Protect team.