Did we ever think that the tourism industry would literally shut down? Never! None the less, that is what happened to us all in April of 2020!
With sadness, fear, and yes, even smiles of hope, we closed the operation down. Our staff pulled together as they always do as a family to get the property ready and go home to their families. The future uncertain for everyone.
The next few months were the hardest we have ever been through. We have had hurricanes, Swine flu, periods of very low tourism, fierce competition from surrounding hotel and periods of excessive seaweed on the beach, but this situation could not be anticipated. We did our best to keep all staff on the payroll while they waited out at home, and with a core staff of security and cleaning crew, and our accounting office working remotely, we kept the property up as best as possible.
The return to partial operations started in June and brought with it more fears, more challenges, and a lot of work to ensure the safe return of staff and clients alike. The new protocols the government established involved more expenses and training staff was essential. Tourism was at a trickle and many times we wondered if we could remain open with full staff and expenses. Then we thought of our staff and how every penny that came in, whether in paycheck or tips, was helping them survive and it all became clear to us that better times were coming, and we would hang on.
It’s now been 2 years that we are operating on a light system depending on Covid cases in the area. We are now at green, meaning fully open, but use of masks in enclosed areas still enforced and our staff always wears theirs. We sanitize each room on check out, we provide the amenities that the government requires, and we still follow temperature checks on entry.
During these 2 years we took on a challenge that the Government invited us to participate in. The first Green Certification given by the State Government to hotels who qualify! We were asked to be one of the first hotels due to the work we had already started in recycling, composting and energy saving. It has been a very hard task for everyone; we have an outside consultant that has been our mentor and supervisor throughout this time, and we should be getting our certification very soon! The work does not stop, and we will continue to do all that we can to maintain this certification.
Today, we can say that tourism is for the most part, back to the levels we enjoyed before Covid, at least for the food services on the beach which are thankfully open air. The hotel occupancy is getting better too but we certainly need to continue to improve to recover completely.
If you visit us today, you will find happy friendly staff very eager to welcome you, and a property that is unique on the coastline for its history in the area ( since the 70’s) and the personal service that we give our guests as a family run operation.
– Laura Bush Wolfe