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 was a gut-wrenching time for us, but we know not any more so than what you and, well, the whole world went 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 the devastating and confusing COVID-19 pandemic and had started to remove some of our new policies but then the Delta variant surge began and we had to switch gears again. And then just as we were about to remove policies AGAIN, the Omicron surge began in early 2022 so once again we kept policies in place. We now find ourselves in late winter 2022 and now that the CDC has changed many of its guidelines and most local governments and school systems are slowly changing, we feel confident that we can also relax some of our policies. However, 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 and because so many of our guests have told us that because of their own health status or degree of comfort, they still want to travel to someplace that is maintaining some COVID-19 protocols.
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. 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 no longer required to wear masks in interior common areas. As of the writing of this document on March 9th, 2022, we plan to still require our front desk personnel to wear masks for a few more weeks until we gain further confidence that the surges are over and we hear more feedback from guests that they no longer want to see masks at the front desk.
- 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.). However, during spring/summer season when the pool is open we will be allowing more people at the pool at the same time now that social distancing is not as paramount.
- 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 either a mixture of alcohol and water or 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 or the alcohol water is administered by spraying the area with spray bottles “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 this spray bottle 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.
- During the pandemic, The Roxbury staff had to stop going into guest rooms for daily room “refreshes.” This was a practice recommended by both the CDC and the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association. Now that the pandemic is hopefully over, we are trying to bring back our daily room refreshes, but unfortunately the current extremely frustrating and very real labor shortage that our rural area and most of the country is facing is forcing us to continue to refrain from entering rooms during a guest’s stay. 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. But please know that 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. In addition, if a guest would like for our staff to come into their room during their stay for a refresh, then please do not hesitate to let us know. We will find a way to make it happen.
- 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 to your room 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 laminated paper touched by many that gives you our TV channel list, you can 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. These stations will remain in place even post-pandemic.
If you really read all of that, we are impressed. We love you, our guests. Without you, we’re nothing. Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming to see us.
-Greg and Joe