By Tim Nolan
Our resorts—Las Olas Beach Club in Satellite Beach, FL, and Las Olas Beach Club of Cocoa Beach in Cocoa Beach, FL—have been closed to arrivals since March 28. We hope to open May 16.
We are waiting for officials to issue guidelines that will give our staff and guests confidence. Our big concern is the interaction of guests with one another and the reaction of the community to an influx of people from other areas and states. Our county has low COVID-19 incidence and an uptick would be attributed to tourists, at least according to some. A glance at social media shows this potential, and a vocal “locals only” contingent will oppose outsiders for some time.
Given that some of the social distancing rules are ambiguous or of dubious health benefit to begin with, encounters with self-appointed “safety arbiters” may make for stressful public life moving forward.
As for operations and viability, both resorts have been around long enough to attract bases that own 99 percent of the fixed-time units. A majority of owners are of age and status to not be dramatically affected by the economic downturn so long as it resolves soon. Annual fees were already paid, and RCI has been most helpful in taking our space deposits even during the closure. RCI was a very welcome and very big help in this regard.
The disruption of a vacation is an inconvenience for a portion of the owners but truly insignificant in the big picture, and our owners have perspective and understanding. They express concern for the health and safety of the staff and seem not so much worried about the long-term impact to the resorts.
We do not anticipate a financial threat to the resorts because of the closure. As a result, we do the same thing we would do in a hurricane closure: we find things to fix.
We knew we would be unoccupied for a period of time so we identified tasks we could accomplish and sought materials and workers under safe conditions. Many wish-list items that cannot be done without inconvenience when the resorts are 99 percent occupied 365 days per year. Repairs to common elements such as elevators and walkways, and noisy concrete repairs, are never convenient. Even in the aftermath of a hurricane, people are in and out of the rooms and common areas constantly.
Fortunately, sanitation following evacuation was not an issue. We already owned a spray atomizer for use in air-conditioning ducts and enough of the chemicals to disinfect the resorts for several years. We were even able to donate a substantial quantity to the ambulance and fire department when they ran out and found supplies hard to replenish.
The resorts are fine. It is now government edicts, and the reactions, comfort level, and behavior of people that will determine if we continue to thrive. Fingers crossed.
Tim Nolan is president of the Las Olas Beach Club resorts in Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach, FL.