Best Practices for both locations of The Roxbury, Contemporary Catskill Lodging
We were so grateful when the day came last June to welcome all of you back to The Roxbury’s two locations after being shut down for so many weeks. 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. We spent much of our time away from you researching all possible ways that we could ensure the safety of our two main priorities: our employees and our guests. We have always had high standards for cleanliness and have upheld industry standard best practices that include wiping and disinfecting every surface after every guest room stay and frequent sanitation of all common areas throughout our facilities.
However, due to the harsh reality of the COVID-19 epidemic we have now added even more stringent cleaning best practices, new “contactless” policies and procedures for guest stays, and new methods of ensuring safety throughout our buildings. We want you to BE safe, FEEL safe, and KNOW your safety is so very very important to us. We hope that you understand that, like you, we have never been through anything like this before and we learn more and more each day about this moving target. But for what we DO know, we are doing our best to control a difficult situation for all of us and make it as safe as possible for everyone. Therefore, we would like to share with you the following bullet points that outline our COVID-19 best practices and guest stay guidelines.
- Both of The Roxbury’s locations are unique in that 36 of the total 43 rooms and suites have exterior-access doors. This allows for a guest to never need to come into contact with another person during their stay if they choose not to. We have automated our reservation system to allow for 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.
- All guests and employees are required to wear masks in all interior common areas and hallways and to respect 6’ social distancing rules on all areas of the premises. If guests do not bring a mask, we will provide one. Signage has been placed throughout the property to remind guests of social distancing rules and we ask guests to pay close attention to the rule in our lobbies which are quite small.
- For our employees, we invested in a cutting-edge skin hygiene/sanitation product used in hospitals that lasts longer and is “easier” on the skin than alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It is called Theraworx and it provides a protective coating on the skin and kills any virus that lands on it for up to 2-4 hours after applied. It is safe for mucus membranes, so it can also be applied to the face. Hands-free sanitation pumps containing this product have been installed in all laundry and back-of-house areas for employees. All employees are also required to wear masks (provided by us or they can bring their own) at work and are instructed to take their temperature every day and not to come into work if they have a fever or any symptoms of COVID-19. They are also 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. They are also required to report to management if they notice a coworker, guest, or someone on the property with any of the symptoms of COVID-19.
- All of our existing cleaning and disinfecting products were already on the EPA “N-list” of approved products that kill COVID-19. And we already always cleaned every surface. But we have taken it one step further with a hospital-grade product (also on the “N-list) called the ProKlean disinfection system. Entities like the Pentagon, Homeland Security, FDNY, General Motors, Mercedes Benz, New York State, and others are using this product and we are proud to be one of the first in the hospitality industry to use it. 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. Lastly, our cleaning staff will use this product to spray bed linens before they remove them from the bed to add another layer of safety protocol for their protection.
- All bed linens are washed at high temperature. Dirty linens will be bagged in the guest room to eliminate excess contact while being transported to our laundry facilities. The thorough cleaning of HVAC systems and air filter replacements will occur with increased frequency.
- It was hard for us (oh so very very hard), but we removed most of our throw pillows, pillow shams, bed throws and some of the extraneous “design” elements of our rooms. Instead of pulling our duvet covers up and over pillows, we now leave our freshly-cleaned pillows prepped and upright for you upon arrival and for many beds we replaced duvet covers with triple sheeting.
- 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. We are still here to help, we just need to protect everyone involved during these times of uncertainty. This practice of temporarily eliminating room refreshes or nightly turn-downs was recommended by the New York State Hospitality and Tourism’s Association’s COVID-19 hotel operating guidelines.
- Also for the time being, we have found a way to continue to offer our extensive complimentary continental breakfast, but it can no longer be accessed via a “buffet style” setup in our lobbies. Our lobbies are too small to ensure that guests can maintain social distance while accessing the breakfast items and it is too hard to protect the food items. We therefore now offer “breakfast bags” 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. We’ve introduced some new items like hard-boiled eggs sourced from one of our local Roxbury farmers and melt-in-your-mouth Danish and bagels from a locally-sourced bakery. Breakfast Bags can be picked up at designated locations at both properties or delivered outside your front door upon request.
- It pained us greatly to remove our all-day coffee, tea, and “snack” stations, but again for the time being, we feel it is necessary to keep everyone safe from communal dispensers, pitchers, and condiment packets. But that does not mean you cannot still get complimentary coffee or tea or cookies from 8:00am to 8:00pm every day – au contraire! All rooms have always had coffee machines and coffee packets, but now you can also come to the main office and we will pour you a fresh cup and provide you with condiments at any time. And if you think you will need a refill, we will also fill a thermal carafe for you to take back to your room. This allows you to keep using your same cup throughout the day instead of us needing to replace the cup each time you ask for a refill.
- Room “card keys” are thoroughly sanitized after each guest use and not touched by any other ungloved hands until given to the next guest inside a cellophane-wrapped and sealed pouch.
- To strengthen their comfort level, guests are provided with extra disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer in each room for their use while in the room.
- Room folders, pens, paper, and a lot of our signage has been taken out of all 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 remove as many “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.
- Protective “sneeze guard” shields have been installed at our check-in desks for the safety of both employees and guests.
- We invested in a 35-watt handheld Ultraviolet Germicidal Surface Sterilizer which kills viruses within 3 seconds. This device will also be used in the rooms, but it was primarily purchased for frequent use by staff on common surface touch-points in lobbies, lobby bathrooms, hand rails, or other areas of congregation. This technology is used to sterilize hospital utensils and other items that need to be 100% germ free. All common areas will receive increased surveillance and sanitation of all “high-touch” areas on a more frequent basis.
- 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.
- Due to Department of Health mandates, common-access ice machines must now be off-limits for guests. For rooms at our two properties that have freezers in them, a bag of ice will already be in the freezer waiting for guests upon arrival. For rooms without freezers, guests can ask for bags of complimentary ice to be delivered and put outside the door to their room by simply calling the front office. And of course there are endless refills, so call as often as you need to!
And now for some FUN STUFF (cause not EVERYTHING should be so somber!)
- Our Stratton Falls location now has a liquor license!! Guests can now choose from a variety of canned cocktails, wine and beer, and other libations to have waiting in their room upon arrival or available for purchase in the lobby. As social distancing restrictions ease and we are able to open the bar by the pool, guests will be able to go there as well. And guests at the motel are welcome (and encouraged!) to hop on over to the Stratton Falls location if they want to purchase a cocktail or two or three or, well, how many depends on when they plan to drive back… (office for purchases closes at 8:00pm).
- We are grateful to Chappies, Roxbury’s local dining establishment right around the corner from the motel, for working tirelessly for our guests throughout the pandemic. They have delivered lunch and dinner to our rooms 7 days/week with no days off and continue to provide that service. Socially distanced indoor and outdoor dining is also available at Chappies. But of course there are a host of other wonderful eateries (some of them award-winning!) in our surrounding area which are also providing take-out and socially-distanced dining. The Delaware County Chamber of Commerce has a wonderful listing of restaurants in our immediate area on their website or you can peruse our website at https://theroxburyexperience.com/area-attractions/eateries/ for an even more comprehensive list.
- And if our new liquor license does not provide you with the booze you’re in the mood for, our local Union Grove Distillery and Roxbury Wine and Spirits have beaucoup more options!
If you really read all of that, we are impressed. But we hope you did because we want you to know how very seriously we are taking this new world we all live in. Notice we refrained from using words like “the new normal” or “unprecedented.” Oh my goodness how we’ve grown to dislike those words!
But we love our guests. Without you, we’re nothing. And we cannot wait to see you again soon or meet you for the first time and do some really good quality social distancing together. Here’s to better times for all of us. Cheers!
Greg & 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.