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Hostels Try to Adapt for the Covid-19 Era

  • July 07, 2020

Another obstacle: shared spaces like the common areas and the kitchen, which serve as meeting points and a means of saving money while on the road. Amsterdam’s ClinkNOORD hostel features a cafe, bar and even a dance room. At full capacity, it sleeps up to 800 guests, spread across a variety of room options. Now, in an effort to maintain social distancing across its grounds, much like many other public buildings around the globe, it has markings on the floors (even the dance floor) to measure out appropriate distances between people and directional arrows to steer foot traffic. With the help of some opera-singing guests, ClinkNOORD created a video to showcase some of these updates.

At The Yellow Hostel in Rome, no more than three people can be in the kitchen at a time, and guests have to maintain social distance elsewhere in the building. Though they’ve tried to match their signage to the hostel’s design aethestics, Fabio Coppola, a co-founder of Yellow, said the environment isn’t quite the same. “It looks like an airport,” he said.

Guests have to wear masks in common areas. At the moment, things are running relatively smoothly with all the new rules in place, Mr. Coppola said. “Considering the low occupancy we have now, it is bearable,” he added.

As hostel owners cross their fingers that backpackers will soon be coming through again, they’re also thinking about what the seasons ahead might look like and how the pandemic might alter other aspects of the hostel experience.

Veronika Karac and her husband are the owners of Caveland, a hostel in Santorini, Greece, a prime destination for American and Australian travelers. At Caveland, Ms. Karac helps organize tours, offers yoga classes and plans group dinners at local restaurants, among other things. But she wonders: Will restaurants do group dinners? If they do, they’re likely to forgo the tapas-style servings, giving customers their own plates.

“That’s not the way we eat in Greece, and our aim is to show how it looks like in Greece when Greeks go out,” she said.

They’ve thought about movie nights in the yard, but also recognize that travelers who come to Santorini don’t want to just sit and watch a movie. They should do something unique to Greece, she said.

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