Oyster Pointe & Oyster Bay Resort, Sebastian, FL
By Jim Della Volpe, board vice president
We did not shut down operations, but no new guests were allowed to come once the governor announced the stay-in-place order. All rentals stopped then, in the first week of April. Owners in residence were allowed to stay.
Pam Morgan, our general manager, and a part-time office person stayed. So did the maintenance crew, and four housekeepers. The rest of the staff left.
The boats shut down and the pool was closed. A lot of remodeling took place, and new gutters were installed, etc., while the resort was virtually empty. I was there through the end of April.
We began accepting new owners and guests on May 4. For the first couple of weeks, we were only at 35 percent to 50 percent capacity. Florida was still stopping cars inbound from New York and New Jersey.
Now we are up to the 90 percent full mark. Ms. Morgan told me that most of the guests are from Florida, and most of the out-of-state guests are driving to reach us. Unit rentals and sales have increased dramatically.
Plexiglas has been installed at the office. Guests are required to keep a six-foot distance when transacting business there. We are requiring that facemasks be worn on any interaction with the staff, which includes maintenance, the office, housekeeping, and at the boat dock. The boats and the rooms are all disinfected and sanitized after each use.
Stations with hand sanitizer have been strategically placed around the resort for our guests. We have also added signage around the property indicating that the guests are there at their own risk due to COVID-19. The guests are extremely cooperative and behaving conservatively. The only downside is we had to accept the resignation of a key staff member due to her health concerns.
Magic Tree Resort, Kissimmee, FL
By Paula DiPaola, board president
What a beautiful day, here at Magic Tree Resort. Two miles from Disney and we are in a ghost town. Many resorts around us, including all the Disney resorts, are shut down with no one in sight. The restaurants are open, but no more than four or five tables are filled. Waitresses complain about wearing a mask. U.S. Highway 192 is empty, but Publix and Walmart are going strong! Where are all the tourists??
This has been a solemn time for us at Magic Tree, but we made a sad thing into a let-us-get-going thing. Every curtain and blackout, every carpet, every upholstered piece of furniture has been steam-cleaned. We put new backsplash in the kitchens, and new paint on the walls. The landscaping is manicured, the pool and spa resurfaced.
For safety, we removed all bedspreads, bed skirts, toss pillows, magazines, and pamphlets from each room. It is now a simplistic clean look with no frills.
It has been a time to do deep spring cleaning. The resort looks fabulous. The team is happy, as they had work and kept terribly busy. It has been scary watching the news, but on the positive side, families talk more, eat dinner together more, ride bikes more, and bake cookies! It is a time of realizing just what is important in our lives.
We have realized that family is so important, and now it is time to travel together. Since Disney has scheduled a reopening date, the phones have not stopped ringing. Owners and guests are coming back in droves, all wanting to upgrade to bigger units to bring more family members. We are ready.
Our electrostatic sprayers are filled, our UV lights are charged, and hand sanitizer is everywhere. Masks, face shields, gloves, and new ways of cleaning and sanitizing are in place. Face shields, masks, and gloves are put on before each room is sprayed with a disinfectant and left to sit for four to six hours. Then the room can be stripped and cleaned.
We use gloves in each section of the room, one set for the kitchen, one set for the bathroom, and one set for the remainder of the room. The dishwasher is filled with all plates and cups and started, then sealed with a label that is left in place until the unit is occupied.
Once the room is cleaned it is sprayed again, and the inspectors use UV lights to go through and go over areas like phones, remote controls, counters, faucets, and furniture. At that point the room is ready to be occupied.
Everyone checking in has hands sprayed and temperature taken at check-in, and we give out our guidelines for each family to follow. We emphasize social distancing and pool occupancy limits.
Masks must be worn in our administration building but not outdoors. We are putting more emphasis on outdoor activities and keeping our indoor amenities closed for now. Fresh air and Vitamin D are outside! The pool is warm and inviting, and the Florida sunshine welcomes all our owners and guests.
The Magic Tree Resort team has become a closer family, working together and appreciating each other. Now it’s time to be polite and wear a mask, not so much to protect you as to protect others. Let’s learn from this and move on to be a better world, and in the hospitality industry let’s give excellent customer service and top-notch cleanliness to all who come, and say we missed you.