Best Practices for both locations of The Roxbury, Contemporary Catskill Lodging
After being shut down for months, we were so grateful when the day came in the summer of 2020 to welcome all of you back to The Roxbury’s two locations. It has been a gut-wrenching time for us, but we know not any more so than what you and, well, the whole world has gone through. When we reopened, we announced our new COVID-19 best practices and safety operating guidelines that detailed the revamping of some old policies and procedures and, after careful research and closely following guidelines issued by the CDC and the NYS Dept. of Health, many NEW policies and procedures.
In mid-2021 it looked like we were entering what we hoped were the final stages of this devastating and confusing pandemic, but we now find ourselves in a situation where our guests and our employees have varying (and sometimes widely varying) comfort levels surrounding the return to “business as usual” in the way it was prior to the world’s knowledge of the COVID-19 virus. We know that we cannot keep everyone happy at all times, but it is the very essence of hospitality to at least try! So, to acknowledge the varying degrees of comfort levels while still maintaining the most stringent safety protocols (particularly in light of the growing complexities of the Delta, Omicron, and other emerging variants), we are continuing to publish this document on our website and in our guest rooms in an effort to explain our ongoing commitment to keeping everyone safe.
Our original “COVID-19 Safety Operating Guidelines” document can still be found on our website. We encourage our guests to read this document to more fully understand the journey we went through (and are still going through) with instigating new or amended policies and procedures vs. amenities put on hold that we have brought back vs. new “hybrids” that combine the old and new. We hope that you will understand that it is still an ongoing process with a moving target, some of which is now also dictated by a new frustrating phenomenon surrounding the searching and hiring of enough labor to satisfy operations at full capacity.
Therefore, we would like to share with you the following bullet points that outline our current COVID-19 best practices and guest stay guidelines. Please note that this is an “abridged” version and does not reflect all new, hybrid, or reinstated procedures happening both in the front and back of house operations.
- All guests and employees are asked to wear masks in all interior common areas and hallways. Masks are not required in any exterior areas of the property. As we continue to monitor regulatory guidelines and employee/guest comfort levels this practice might eventually be totally eradicated. But for now, particularly with concerns about the Delta and Omicron Variants, it remains.
- 36 of the total 43 rooms and suites at both of our locations always have and always will have exterior-access doors. This architectural element allows for a guest to never need to come into contact with another person during their stay if they choose not to. In addition, each guest room at The Roxbury has its own unique separate HVAC system – there is no “shared air” between guest rooms.
- We are keeping contactless registration in the form of an email sent to the guest when they arrive which asks them to hit “reply” to the email in order to agree to our policies and officially check-in on the premises. This process eliminates the need for the sharing of a pen to sign a form or touch a piece of paper that may have been touched by others.
- We are keeping the need for reserving time slots for usage of our spa and pool areas. The vast majority of our guests have commented that they prefer this practice over a “first-come, first-served” system that allows for unfairness in usage (people stay in the pool or hot tub areas for long periods of time not allowing others to enjoy the facility, overly crowded areas, etc.).
- We have eradicated the need for individual ice delivery to the rooms. Guests can now access our ice machine areas again 24 hrs/day.
- Employees are required to wash their hands for 20 seconds, or use sanitizer when a sink is not available, every 60 minutes or after any of the following activities: using the restroom, sneezing, touching the face, blowing the nose, cleaning, sweeping, mopping, smoking, eating, drinking, going on break and before or after starting a shift.
Prior to the pandemic, we already always cleaned and disinfected every surface. We now take the cleaning process a step further with the usage of a hospital-grade product (on the CDC-approved “N-list”) called the ProKlean disinfection system. After thoroughly wiping and cleaning every surface in the room, this product is administered by spraying the area with spray bottles or an electrostatic gun (which ensures that the disinfection clings to all aspects and sides of a surface instead of just the “front” surface). It kills all germs with which it comes into contact including, of course, COVID-19, within seconds. “High-Touch” items including but not limited to TV remotes, toilet seats and handles, door and furniture handles, water faucet handles, nightstands, telephones, in-room control panels, light switches, temperature control panels, alarm clocks, and luggage racks receive extra wipe-down disinfection, but the addition of the ProKlean disinfection system ensures that EVERY surface comes into contact with disinfection. Areas like headboards, upholstery, window treatments, chairs, etc. also come into contact with very thorough disinfection. In other words, if there is a surface in the room, then it will be disinfected.
All bed linens are washed at high temperature. Dirty linens are bagged in the guest room to eliminate excess contact while being transported to our laundry facilities. The thorough cleaning of individual room HVAC systems and air filter replacements will continue to occur with increased frequency.
For the time being, The Roxbury staff does not come into a guest room for a daily room “refresh.” But this practice in no way means that you are stranded! Plastic trash bags are left in the room for guests to use to put towels or sheets or other items outside their door if they want new ones. Guests can call or email the office if they need something new or something taken away or just need something in general. This practice of temporarily eliminating room refreshes or nightly turndowns was recommended by the New York State Hospitality and Tourism’s Association’s COVID-19 hotel operating guidelines. We thought we were past the stage in the pandemic where we needed to continue adherence to this guideline, but the combination of concerns over the Delta and Omicron Variants and the current extremely frustrating and very real labor shortage are driving the continuation of the practice. At the present moment, we just do not have enough staff to get all of our 43 rooms and cottages cleaned, disinfected, and ready for check-in AND go into every single occupied room during a stay and give it a refresh. We are doing everything in our power and advertising budget to recruit new staff. It is currently our top priority because it is also affecting our ability to reach full revenue potential.
We are keeping our “breakfast bags” (an amenity change from the pre-pandemic buffet style where keeping the food items protected from germs and social distancing proved difficult) which can be pre-ordered via a page on our website at www.theroxburyexperience.com/breakfast or ordered from your room on the morning of your breakfast. Breakfast Bags can be picked up at designated locations at both properties or delivered outside your front door upon request.
We are continuing to thoroughly sanitize our room “card keys” after each guest use and give them to our guests inside a cellophane-wrapped and sealed pouch.
Room folders, pens, paper, and a lot of our signage are no longer in most of the rooms. A staff member is on the property 24 hours/day at both locations, so guests can call or stop by the front office with any questions. We were big fans of our signage, but we felt it best to still keep out as many frequently “touchable” aspects of the room as possible. So, for instance, instead of a piece of paper used by many that gives you our TV channel list, you can now access our room TV Channel Guides at www.theroxburyexperience.com/tv-channels.
We invested in custom-made hand sanitizing sanitation “stands” located all throughout interior and exterior areas of both properties. Hopefully, whenever a guest has a moment where they think “Gee, I wish I had some hand sanitizer,” they will discover there is a stand within eyesight for them to use. These stations will remain in place even post-pandemic.
If you really read all of that, we are impressed. We just want you to know how very seriously we are still taking COVID-19 while also wanting to make our guest experience the best that it can possibly be.
We love you, our guests. Without you, we’re nothing. Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming to see us.
-Greg and Joe
P.S. The New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association and the State of New York recommend that all entities conducting business during the coronavirus pandemic issue a General Liability Statement. We hate using legalese, but we feel that issuing this statement is something we must do. Using their recommended template, following please find the General Liability Statement of Masserson Properties, Inc:The Roxbury Motel and The Roxbury at Stratton Falls are absolved of all liability for anyone infected with coronavirus during their stay. By staying at The Roxbury Motel or The Roxbury at Stratton Falls, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19. We will take all measures necessary to keep our property as safe and comfortable as possible for our guests amid the coronavirus pandemic, but please understand that there is a shared responsibility between guests and The Roxbury Motel and The Roxbury at Stratton Falls.