By Cindy Thomas, general manager
On April 15, Idaho Gov. Brad Little extended the Stay-Home Order (which expired that day) until April 30. Stoneridge Resort is still not considered an essential business, which was actually a relief since about half of our clientele is from highly populated areas.
After the April 15 press conference, I reached out to the governor’s office and the Idaho Department of Commerce Tourism Council to define the governor’s new “self-quarantine in Idaho for 14 days after coming into the state” rule. No one knows if it is intended to continue beyond April 30th. I have reported to the Governor’s office and to the council that whichever way it moves, we can deal with it, but we would like the luxury of advising people now about that restriction, not the day before May 1.
Our board met last week. Based on good inside information I received from the governor’s office that the order would most likely remain, our board made the decision to keep the resort closed through the end of April. We plan to re-open as soon as the order is lifted. The timing is interesting, heading into our summer season.
We continue to have a limited staff, just us managers running the business in a very socially distant manner, along with a very part-time staff. (Our layout allows for this.) We received a notification from the Idaho Department of Building that operations such as cleaning condos where the occupants checked out two and half weeks ago and installing new appliances in vacated condos, were appropriate. We had already removed food and linens.
We are bringing staff in a few at a time and never working together. We are also moving things around in our public areas to prepare for a different layout of loaner equipment, etc., so when we reopen, we are ready to operate in a different manner.
On April 15, our wages were cut to about 25 percent. About 40 employees are on furlough. We have sent seven employee newsletters to advise them of anything that might help them with their unemployment claims, their worksite, and our plans—and mostly to keep them engaged so that they do not become disenfranchised. We hope to bring them back to payroll, with the help of a Small Business Administration loan.
We have lost some employees to the grocery industry, which pays about $6 more an hour. We have to deal with that. I can see changing the way we do business by paying more per hour with less staff.
We have contacted every owner and inbound exchange member. They’ve been wonderful. We hosted several phone-conference board meetings and sent out almost weekly owner communications via Constant Contact emails.
All of my questions regarding unemployment, SBA loans, and the extended family leave act have been satisfied. Our benefits advisor has been hosting weekly webinars with detailed information about these subjects with a leading personnel lawyer out of New England.
Our business-interruption insurance claim was officially denied, which was expected, and we have applied for two of the SBA loans. We have applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. We are in the que for the PPP but we have been advised that we could be in the second wave of applicants since the funding has already been exhausted. We don’t know where we stand for the EIDL.
Some of our past social activities will go by the wayside until we find events that don’t involve bunching people together. (That would make a great survey of all resorts: What are some new social activities that don’t require hands-on instruction and allow for social distancing?)
Preparing for a new norm
We are having shields (glass or polycarbonate, depending on the application) made for our employee and public areas so staff and the public are better protected from each other. We all know that such protection will be needed when we open for business again.
We have reminded Stoneridge owners that they belong to a non-profit owners’ association. Maintenance fees are still due for any weeks affected by this closure. For those timeshare owners affected by the mandated state closure, Stoneridge offers an alternate week through its internal exchange program at no cost to those who lost the use of their timeshare unit-week(s), based on space availability.
This is a new norm. I will make lemonade out of lemons in these areas and ensure that what we do will serve as many purposes as possible. Our board has been amazing to deal with, and we have walked through this water together. Just like our government and health-care leaders, we keep making decisions according to the most up-to-date data.
For more information, contact Cindy Thomas, general manager, Stoneridge Resort, 150 Holiday Loop, Blanchard ID 83804, phone 208-437-2478 (direct line), 208-437-2451 (main line), email firstname.lastname@example.org.