A Moment With Our Artisans, Tanja Hernandez, Director of Environmental Health and Safety

A New Leader for Our New Reality

Discover a Day in the Life of the New Director of Environmental Health and Safety and Why She’s Perfect for the Role  

Director of Environmental Health and Safety

After five years as a food and beverage manager at Baccarat Hotel New York, Tanja Hernandez has a new leadership role solely dedicated to ensuring the health and well-being of all guests and employees.  Included among her responsibilities are the implementation of all pertinent health and safety guidelines; monitoring/screening of everyone who enters the hotel; and training employees at all levels on the new required safety protocols and procedures.

Guestroom Bathroom

 

1. How is the hotel getting ready to reopen?

We will soon reopen our hotel in stages in complete compliance with New York City and CDC guidelines,. The strategic process will begin with the presence of a limited number of hotel guests and team members. We expect full cooperation and observance of safety protocols, while also ensuring guest comfort and discretion. As we expand the hotel capacity in accordance with all regulatory guidelines, we’ll strive to provide solutions which address the short term, while establishing templates to enhance guest convenience and satisfaction long term. 

 

2. How will day-to-day operations change at the Baccarat going forward?

We are fortunate to have always utilized high quality cleaning products and disinfectants that always met the current CDC requirements and guidelines specific to our new COVID-19 reality. As a result of this, we have not found ourselves in the situation of having to reinvent how we approach cleanliness and hygiene in all areas of the hotel. The primary difference in how we are managing the current health crisis and ensuring the health and safety of everyone in our building has more to do with staff training of protocols on a broader level; increased communication about the importance of hygiene and cleanliness; and a focus on how our collective human behavior impacts our environment. 


3. Of your new health and safety standards, are there any you feel are unique to the Baccarat Hotel?

Well of course, there is my new role as the Director of Environmental Health and Safety, which reinforces our commitment to the health and safety of all guests and team members.  On the guest facing side, we will provide state-of-the-art Thermo Technology screening. This includes cameras positioned at the hotel entrance to provide the status of each guest’s temperature in real-time. For team member and vendors, we will be utilizing Pop ID technology that will provide immediate information regarding temperature levels.  Readings will then immediately be sent to each employees’ phone and their department leader. 

We are collaborating with NYC-based designer Raul Penaranda, who has partnered with us on our ongoing Fashion Prive series, to create custom-designed face coverings for our guests that offer a sense of comfort, style and safety.  We are also focused on maintaining the hotel’s distinctive aesthetic and design elements, ensuring that required signage and protective guards complement our surroundings and environment.   

 

4. What kind of training was required for the new role?

I have, and will continue to, undergo extensive training provided by EquipSystems and Servesafe. This includes multi-day seminars and sessions devoted to the implementation and execution of required health and safety measures. While I have been immersed in this training for over a month, due to the fluctuating nature of these unprecedented times, this comprehensive safety training for myself and all team members will be continuous and ongoing to best ensure that we are up to date with all safety protocols. But I have always been very passionate about cleaning and organizing, so in many ways this is the perfect job for me! 

 

5. How big of a team will you manage, and what will their training look like?

We have a dedicated team of approximately 200 employees, and I will work with all leaders to reintegrate them first with the “Appical” platform before they even return to the hotel. This is an online on-boarding app providing all training information on Covid-19, general safety, company policy, and history. In addition, we anticipate a select number of employees spending time training on-site at the hotel in advance of guests’ arriving. We will also be hosting onsite training for all of our vendors. And knowing the importance of mental well-being during this time, we will be offering health and wellness workshops. We even hope to offer yoga classes as well. 

 

6. Do you think some of the new health and safety standards coming to hotels around the world will impact some of the “high-touch” elements of hospitality that inspire guests to book a stay in the first place?

We have always thought of the hotel as a “sparkling sanctuary,” and now more than ever we see ourselves as an oasis during these trying times. If anything, the elements of service, security and discretion should be enhanced, not diminished. Transitioning from high-touch to contactless guest service will be done with warmth, care and heart.  And as we adapt to this new normal, we will strive to be more welcoming than ever.

 

7. Do you think all of the new health and safety procedures will stay a part of hotel operations, or would any potentially go away as we get (hopefully) a treatment or vaccine for coronavirus?

The less imposing and obtrusive the new protocol, the more likely it will remain in place long term. While the health and safety of all guests and team members has always been our number one priority, our current reality has mandated us to modify our operation and services to achieve this end. It has also challenged us to find innovative ways to make our guests’ experiences more seamless, convenient, and connected. At the foundation of all of this is our commitment to caring for everyone in our building, and we anticipate continued guest satisfaction regarding these new practices. 

 

 

Baccarat Grand Salon