Coronavirus?

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Hillbilly's picture
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Just thought I would start the conversation. Just checking to see if this is affecting anyone yet? I live in a tourist town and business is really slow. A lot slower than it should be. People are saying tourism is going to be hit hard in our area. What will you all do if someone calls to cancel because of the virus? Give deposits back? Will this be a new way out for some? Just thought it would be a good discussion to get started so we are all prepared.

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Arks's picture
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Much off topic but related to a pandemic, how about a book recommendation: Ken Follett's trilogy of novels about Middle Ages England. The second book, which I'm reading now on my Kindle, deals with England during the "Black Death" that killed 50% of Europe's population in the1350's. It took 200 years for Europe's population to return to pre-plague numbers.

I've been reading these books for a couple of months. The first one, The Pillars of the Earth, is set in 1100's England about the building of a cathedral, the second book, World Without End, is set in the same town a couple of hundred years later, and  the third one, A Column of Fire, is set in the same town 200 years after that.

The connections between the plague and what we're facing now are amazing. The book was written in 2007 but it deals with the same arguments we hear now, over the wearing of masks and so many other things we've been facing today. Highly recommended reading.

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Arks's picture
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Another sad story, seashanty. The really depressing thing, to me, is how few people, as a percent of the population, have had "it" and developed immunity (we assume). Arkansas is seeing about 150 new cases/day. Some days more, some less, but about 150. At that rate I calculate it will take 38 years for 70% to have had the virus, the percentage at which they say "herd immunity" develops.

If they CAN'T develop a vaccine, that's what we're facing. Basically, the old and sick need to be very careful, and everyone younger and healthier would need to "take one for the team," AKA sacrifice themselves and get sick and hope they recover. A very sad situation for humanity, and it's economy.

seashanty's picture
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I hear your frustration and, believe me, my family has experienced severe financial hardship. A family restaurant may fail and it's heartbreaking. If the town will allow them to place tables outside along the edge of their building, they may be able to have some outdoor seating. But there isn't much space. They have filed a request to use some of the parking spaces. It's a small place, always 'packed' with people. To be successful, it has to be busy. 

But I also am grieving for losing ANOTHER friend. I am in Massachusetts. My friend was in Delaware. Saw him last Spring  when he did a few bike rides down on Cape Cod and one day rode up to Scituate to see me, about 40 miles. Fit. Life-long non smoker, no diabetes, no 'underlying health conditions'. He was 65, apparently a vulnerable age. He contracted the virus and became sick in mid March. We don't know how he caught it but hoped he would be one of those who recover and move on. But his condition suddenly worsened and he died on Monday. 

I am beyond sad. I'm seeing no winners anywhere.

Morticia's picture
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I completely understand this. One member of my writing group died early on. It was a shock. Mostly because we had not had anyone die locally and he was such a pistol it’s hard to imagine him gone.

 My town is working on closing streets for pedestrian traffic and restaurant tables. But, we are still closed because our hospitalization numbers are going up quickly.

 Supposedly we can reopen to locals on Monday, but restaurants can only do outdoor dining or take away.

 Some restaurants have ripped out shrubbery to make room for tables. We’ve added tables outside to help guests feel comfortable. But, until our area starts lowering, instead of increasing, hospital rates, we’re taking our time.

 Hugs. I know it’s hard to lose a friend and not be able to do anything but send a card.  And also difficult to watch family struggle. Several long-standing restaurants have closed citing  the inability to make ends meet at 50% sales. And that’s WHEN they can reopen. Right now lodging is bleeding money.

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What a long, strange trip it’s been.

 

gillumhouse's picture
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My COUNTY decided taking temp a wearing masks was a requirement to enter the Polls to vote (everyone received the opportunity to vote absentee - I am a Poll worker). The temp requirement set off bells for me. I have a right to vote and THEY have no right to take my temp.

I contacted my State Secretary of State Office, e-mailed one of my US Senators, 2 statewide radio news people, called a County Commissioner twice (he gave me his number - fool), and messaged a candidate.

Today it was in the newspaper that on the advice of the County Prosecutor, BOTH of those requirements to enter the polls to vote have been rescinded. If you take a stand and do it sensibly, you CAN get changes when Rights are being violated.

Morticia's picture
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There is no reason any locality with a low transmission rate should do anything at all other than business as usual. It’s fortunate to live in a place that is unaffected.

Now, if an individual wants to exercise their civic responsibilities to the community by wearing a mask and keeping their distance from other people they should do just that. For some people it will mean voting by mail if they feel unsafe in their community.

 We’re all doing the best we can.

gillumhouse's picture
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Exactly, it was the taking the temp that got my shorts in a knot. 

gillumhouse's picture
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I made use of my City Clerk hat to get some extra publicity for Gillum House. this is in the "big" newspaper in the County today

https://www.wvnews.com/theet/news/shinnston-holds-drawing-to-determine-ballot-order/article_17ff947d-8 287-5de4-8be8-eef908937902.html

Arks's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:

I made use of my City Clerk hat to get some extra publicity...

Take it where you can get it! Someday the world will come to life again.

Arks's picture
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Remember when our biggest worry was whether or not to use doilies?

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wink

Morticia's picture
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Arks wrote:

Remember when our biggest worry was whether or not to use doilies?

 thanks for the laugh!

PhineasSwann's picture
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We have a 7-day cancellation policy in place now. I'd suggest telling all the people trying to cancel for two months out "We don't know what the situation will be, so we're happy to keep your reservation in place in hopes of things getting better. You can always cancel with just a week's notice without penalty."

Of course, if you charged a refundable deposit and they need the money, that's another issue.

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Arks's picture
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Since business is so slow anyway, I've started blocking off a couple of days after each check-out, with the plan of leaving the room alone for a day or more before the housekeeper goes in to clean, hoping any coronavirus dies on surfaces first.

They're saying now it can live up to 3 days on stainless steel and plastics, but if after a day or so it's dead on cloth and most everything else, I think it's safe to go in with the Lysol and spray those smooth hard surfaces and get on with standard cleaning.

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Yes, thinking of doing same.  At this time, cancellations are effectively doing that for me.  

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And I just now got my first two month out cancellation.  
“Fasten you’re seatbelts........”

Morticia's picture
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Anon Inn wrote:

And I just now got my first two month out cancellation.  
“Fasten you’re seatbelts........”

 yes, we just got one for late summer. Sounds like they were in a bit of a panic because they also just had a car accident and it was too many things all at once.

I refunded and said they could just call back if it looked like it was going to work out after all.

otoh, just found out two new stores are opening next month on Main Street. That’s helpful!

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That was exactly our strategy!!!  In fact, we have a room sitting since last Sunday.  Since everyone has cancelled, maybe when we're really really bored of sheltering in place, we'll eventually clean it as a "remember when" experience!  Be well.

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Arks's picture
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I just canceled two 6-night reservations in May. That's a long way off, but they think things will still be awful then, and I'm inclined to agree. For now, I'm making a little income on $25 cancellation fees, which I refuse to waive, and saving some on expendable supplies and utilities, though I worry that they'll take my toilet paper.

We still don't have any "confirmed cases" in my county, and we have a 1-county buffer all around us, but I'm sure it's here and they just don't know it yet.

I have friends in Brazil, where it has been summer, who say it's not as bad there, but they still have 500 cases. So the heat of summer will help, but it's not going to end it.

Flatten the curve and press on, fellow innkeepers. This too shall pass, though it may be 18 months of hell first. Sad

PhineasSwann's picture
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With no guests, my to-do list is calling vendors to see who will let me hold off paying them until June. So far, Geico insurance is a yes. 

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For us these events find us away from home, staying with grandson and spending time being handy persons cleaning up daughter’s rental house while daughter holds down the fort at the business where we have blocked new reservations for the next couple of weeks taking a wait and see attitude, will soon have to determine if travel home is possible as the pill box will need to be refilled shortly 

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gillumhouse's picture
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I was in the process of typing Surprise! I got a rez! when the phone rang. I had broken my dog policy to take this Tesla.

Tesla giveth and Tesla taketh away. "We realized there is not enough  battery to get us that far for our second night. they were coming from Florida. Sigh.

I just had 4-nights at a super low rate for a band in town (I have a kid in the music business - we help others) and that will tide me through this month anyway.

My timing continues to be impeccible - years ago I quit my second job the day my son came home from school to tell me he lost a lens in his glasses in the snow and the furnace fan started rumbling. This time it was contracting for digital marketing and they started with a new website. There went the savings account! Sigh....

And it was announced at 6 PM that we have 1 corona - in the Eastern Panhandle. Probably (my opinion) someone who works in DC.

Tom
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Checking in ... we are dead.  Well, not us personally, but the bookings are gone, place is shut down, no one travelling.  We are sandwiched between Washington and California so obviously on the trajectory.  DW is pretty stressed, makes it hard to shelter in place ...  

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We are basing our planning that things will not improve until June. And some of the projections I've seen on viral spread suggest this will still be a major catastrophe into the fall. 

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Cancellations here started last week. Hit a peak Friday and Saturday as the ski resorts started closing. 

Love, love, love being able to tell callers that booked through an OTA that if they want any refund they'll have to go through the OTA.  Then when the OTA calls and asks me if I'll waive the cancellation fee I say no, so they have to get back on the horn and take all the guff from the booker. Have been much more accommodating to those that book direct. 

Right now, we have one prepaid 8-person wedding for this weekend (5 rooms) and then that's it -- nothing in April and May. Nothing. 

We're going to have to lay off all but 1 of our part-time staff, and cut back the hours of our last person significantly. 

Busy cutting things off and working on slashing expenses to the bone. Heard from someone today that Geico and some of the car finance people are granting customers grace periods for the next month or two. 

Arks's picture
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PhineasSwann wrote:

Then when the OTA calls and asks me if I'll waive the cancellation fee I say no...

I'm not backing down on the cancellation fees either. At this point, it's about all that's paying the bills Sad

But I live in a place that cancels school and locks down at home the first time of the winter when we have a 1/4" snow. Then by the 3rd snow they're going on with normal life like it's...normal life. So I'm hoping after a few weeks of this people will press on...with proper precautions and social distancing (an new term for us all).

Sorry for all the lay offs you had to impose. Really really sad.

I'm writing this during a pause in watching last night's episode of The Walking Dead, so I'm trying to be upbeat as I say...It could be worse.

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Processed 5 different cancellations today between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

2 were state employees coming to town for a seminar that's cancelled.

2 were dance instructors coming to town to teach a dance class that's cancelled.

1 was coming to town to see a play that has been cancelled.

But somehow I suspect the monthly bills will still come on time. I'm planning to turn off the heat and air systems. Luckily, my water heaters are "on demand" so they cost nothing when not used. I wish TV cable/internet was "on demand". Trying to think of other ways to cut corners, pinch pennies. I have NOT having fun!

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For me, Mediacom dropped my cable broadband $20/mo when I called to cancel, I moved from Verizon to Tracfone (same phone) and saved $25/mo. I called my AARP roadside service to cancel and they cut my membership on half. I called Sirius to cancel and got it to $7/mo. I found a new insurance carrier and saved $700/yr.. if I can think of a way to save I’ll get on the phone and try! The key is to come on strong, say it’s too expensive (cite alternatives) and have a plan to cxl.. if they won’t budge, if they think you’re serious, they’ll budge..

Arks's picture
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Cancellations are coming in fast today. One email after another. Summer can't get here fast enough Sad

They say the southern hemisphere is a good test on what warm weather will do to the virus spread, since it's summer there now...or was, it's more like early fall there now. And the heat does seem to have helped some, but it sure didn't kill it out completely Sad

Morticia's picture
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Just reached NY. No sit down dining at restaurants. Take and go. Altho, that info does not appear to have reached the interstate rest areas.

I guess we order a pizza. We have to order breakfast in the hotel and then go away with it.

 We are still getting summer reservations. I’m going to block a few more weeks in April as a lot of breweries and restaurants appear to be closed in my town.

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We ordered paper placemats and will switch to setting the tables and clearing them, rather than the self serve buffet we had previously.    But I’m not sure anyone will care if they don’t come to stay.   We will see.   We are closed now, so I can’t really gage.  

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We have also been doing a self-serve buffet.  Are you planning on taking orders?  Just cooking and plating individual servings du jour?  We always have a bread basket with multiple choices... are you going to ask what kind of bread folks want?  Maybe we need to do menu choices the night before for juices, hot beverage, etc?  Am thinking of bringing preordered breakfast to rooms on the trays that we use for our outside porch tables.  Let's brainstorm.

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Sorry for the delay in responding!    I hadn’t decided, but I now think we will need to take orders and plate in the kitchen.    I don’t see any other way to prevent people from retouching things like serving spoons, sugar bowls, piles of flatware..... 

for now, it looks like we will have a couple months to think it through.   We are dead for April.   May is looking full now, but I’m expecting it to be a cancellation month.    Our reservations are individuals, not groups, so I imagine they are waiting to see 

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We’ll also have to rethink the serve yourself coffee and juice. I’m wondering if my welcome speech now has to include telling guests to wash up before taking utensils out of the drawer or using the Keurig. Or do we just remove everything?

 We’re closed until mid-April. Everything in town, just about, is closed until the end of March. If need be, we’ll close until May.

 We do not want to get sick. 

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Funny, we too decided we'd start taking orders the night before and then just plate and place trays at their door at a time previously requested.  All have cancelled for March.  Next Reservations mid April. 

Hillbilly's picture
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It’s in our area now. Cancellations are flooding in. You all need to prepare for a plan if this happens. We are trying to figure out a few things.

1) What happens if we get it? What will we do with our guests and future bookings? ( if we have any left)

2) we are throwing the idea around if delivery breakfast to each individual suite.

what is everyone doing to prepare? (not cleaning)

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Keeping in mind that we are winding down our guest load on purpose after 30 years of hosting, we are closing the two suites in the Main House and only booking our freestanding cottage. We will provide a continental breakfast, stocked in the cottage unless a guest opts for a full breakfast and pays the additional fee.  Aside from the recent cancellation from our UK guest no one has canceled...but then again, no one is booked until June. About half of our guests attend classes held locally for mental health professionals so if those guests cancel we will be dipping into our savings for sure.

We are in the process of receiving a deposit from guests arriving in July and I am not going to process the deposit.  Instead, I will contact them and tell them we are holding their reservation and deposit until we get closer to the date, to ensure that they, and we are all healthy.  The last thing we want is to have sick guests in the cottage or to be sick our selves.  

There has been at least one confirmed case of the virus in our area and we are self-distancing as much as possible. States around us are experiencing increasing infections and second homeowners (many with kids) and families are streaming to the area, clearing out the grocery stores and bringing their virus with them.   Predictions for exponential growth are on target nationally so I expect that most of our area will be closed soon.   We are closed at the moment and will not open until Memorial Day because of this pandemic. Libraries, schools, conferences, and large gatherings are all canceled. The Governor has declared a state of emergency and the health centers/hospitals are gearing up for testing and treatment.  This is no time to be welcoming guests! 

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Morticia's picture
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All good points. I have no idea what we will do if we get sick. 
 

we’re kicking around breakfast ideas. if this continues into the summer then we’ll be lining up for one of the low cost loans to tide us over.

gillumhouse's picture
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I have just podsted on FB that ONLY the Gillum Room will be available for the next month. I just blocked out the other 2 rooms. Perhaps I can get some revenue with folks knowing there will be no other guests. One can only hope.

gillumhouse's picture
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Asof this morning,we are the only  State with zero cases. I wonder how long it will take for someone to drag one across the Ohio River or the Potomac River. We have 5 States around us so chance are good to inherit one of theirs just because they can.

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Had a cancellation request last night, taking into account our 30-day policy. Made the decision that until the pandemic passes, we're shortening our cancellation window to 7 days, to give people a chance to still come if things clear up in April. 

gillumhouse's picture
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We are one of 10 States with 0 cases. Afterthe 3rd girls basketball game this moring, it was announced the games scheduled for tonight and the rest of the State Finals AND the boys Regionals and next week's State Finals are now postponed. Mountain State (yes, the program on PBS) is cancelled for the next 2 weeks - this will cause a "Best of" to play in April or May. Just about everything is shut down. I apologize but I did not check the tp aisle at Sam's today (the tasting carts were still working, had a lovely hunk of salmon) - I was on my way to a reception at Graceland (the home of Senator John Davis on the grounds of Davis & Elkins College) sponsored by WV Executive magazine. There were about 40 people there but I noticed a lot of unclaimed name tags still on the table when I left. Schools are still open but most entertainments are shut down.

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I am planning on discontinuing main dining breakfasts and going to a tray at their bedroom door with muffins, pastries and fruit with tea or coffee with sugars, creamers -all to enable ‘social distancing’ with guests. Considering the contagious nature of this infecting 2-3 people on average vs 1.3 with the regular flu I don’t think having people sitting around the table makes a lot of sense right now. 

Is anyone else planning on this?

 

Morticia's picture
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Eugee2 wrote:

I am planning on discontinuing main dining breakfasts and going to a tray at their bedroom door with muffins, pastries and fruit with tea or coffee with sugars, creamers -all to enable ‘social distancing’ with guests. Considering the contagious nature of this infecting 2-3 people on average vs 1.3 with the regular flu I don’t think having people sitting around the table makes a lot of sense right now. 

Is anyone else planning on this?

 

not planning breakfast delivery ourselves, but maybe limiting the number of guests at a time? Going to a scheduled seating time?

 We did discuss afternoon snacks and we may need to rethink how we do those to avoid those people who touch everything.

 We did baskets in the rooms about 5 years ago. Might go back to that again.

i mentioned earlier I have seen zero social distancing over the past 10 days. And I’ve seen zero table cleaning after guests depart. 

that’s another area - do we remove table cloths and just use the table as is so we can wash it more thoroughly?

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The staggered breakfast is a good idea but in my case guests tend to linger in the kitchen area as it’s actually one of two entrances..

I would think Lysol may then do the trick for you once you’ve cleared the table and placemats. 

I forgot to mention to everyone that “ozone generators”- we normally use in rooms for any odor mitigation (lingering perfumes etc) also are equally good sanitizers and actually kill lingering influenza germs in the air and surfaces. See amazon, they’re about $75 and have a lot of other uses post flu era. If someone is hacking, when they leave slip the device in the room for 20mins, come back in an hour to air it out and clean.

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Our Ozone Generator arrives today from Amazon!!  I had already had one on my wishlist for perfume, then was recommended by an innkeeper I know in another group, exactly for this reason, although she has been using for years.

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I just got one of these too, even though there is no conclusive evidence of effectiveness against this virus, the generators work for quicker removal of smoke odors, which is an occasional need in high season.

At this time, I've blocked off the in the inn rooms and have only the outside apartment available.  I will do delivered-to-the-door meals if requested.

No takers yet, although advance season bookings are still in place. 

The vacation rental in the nearby city has many cancellations for near term bookings.  A couple that didn't cancel is staying starting today.  Their sole concern was finding out which of the city's restaurants are offering curbside or to go orders. 

 

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Anon Inn wrote:
At this time, I've blocked off the in the inn rooms and have only the outside apartment available.  I will do delivered-to-the-door meals if requested.

We've done the same, but likewise, no takers. It's not the thing you want to promote, for fear of being accused of exploiting fear and trying to make money off a pandemic. That's a job for senators.

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Our dining room is the only entrance so everyone will still be walking thru at some point. Lingering will be discouraged if we do staggered breakfasts. We can seat 4 rooms at a time so it should work out.

 

Arks's picture
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Two reservations cancelled today, mentioning events they were going to cancelled because of coronavirus. I'm sticking to my cancellation policy. Not making exceptions.

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