Coronavirus?

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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. 

 

PhineasSwann's picture
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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.

Morticia's picture
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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.

seashanty's picture
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It’s not the flu. It’s a virus we haven’t seen before. Some get flu-like symptoms. But the respiratory failure is deadly for some. It’s more a form of SARS.

Anyway, I’m no health professional I’ve just been reading up on it a lot, but this one is serious.

I share your aversion to sensationalism. I guess that is what sells on tv .. I don’t watch so can avoid all that. But ... Like the bread and milk buying hysteria when a blizzard is forecast, I just tried three stores and they were sold out of t.p. Why, I don’t know.

Morticia's picture
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My writing group canceled this month’s meeting. (We’re all of a certain age.)

 Folks we’re emailing back and forth which stores have canned and frozen foods. Apparently the shelves are empty in some stores.

i guess we’ll be eating those canned sardines I get for Gomez as gag gifts.

seashanty's picture
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Just got the call tonight. One of my last remaining elderly relatives lives in a nursing home and two of the residents have the virus. These are weak and frail people. The outlook is not good. All the other residents, employees, visitors, even random contacts have all been exposed and could be carriers. including the elderly husband of one of the sick residents ... he does not live there. They might have a mild case of this flu and then recover, or might not .... and they might have carried it to someone who can’t fight it off. My cousin went to visit his mother in that home, and may have carried it to his brother who is on dialysis.

You see the problem?

Where I used to live, the town has postponed the St Patrick’s Day Parade and some people are furious. It was postponed a few years ago due to heavy snow and we all had a great time when it was finally held. No amount of explanation will help the angry ones understand. 

I work for small venues that host coffeehouses. It looks like we will have to cancel. At least four. I am hoping we can reschedule some. It’s a lot of lost revenue. For us and for the groups scheduled to perform.

Someone is considering rescheduling a celebration of life .... after so much planning. It looks like air travel for some of the family coming in from Ireland will be restricted ... and they want to be there.

A young woman I know works in food service for a college. All the students are being sent home early for spring break. And then they are going to resume classes online. She is worried about lost wages.

My hands are raw from hand sanitizer (they don’t like it at all) ... I would shake hands, grab a little hand sanitizer. Repeat. I’m switching back to soap and water. 

We are all in for a rough ride, I fear. 
Hold tight, my friends.

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heart

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I'm in a college town (35,000 students). Students told that all instruction has been moved online and all University-related travel has been cancelled. Our cancellations are coming in fast and furious. We're about to get shellacked. 

The economy of the entire town lives and breathes off the students. This is going to have a massive impact to the area. 

Morticia's picture
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More news from the road - dinner last night the host seated every table next to each other, no space. At breakfast this morning we were the only guests. Then 3 other rooms showed up. Where did they sit? Right next to us! Whole  dining room available and one group actually changed tables to sit right next to us! This is a situation where if I backed up my chair to stand up I was in kissing distance of the person at the next table.

 My take on this is that until they get sick, no one is changing their habits.

Arks's picture
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Morticia wrote:

My take on this is that until they get sick, no one is changing their habits.

I'm at least THINKING about it a lot more. When I went to the drive through bank yesterday, it was the first time I'd ever considered how many people had already touched/sneezed on that tube capsule thing. I'll be getting more paranoid every day for the duration of this Sad

Morticia's picture
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Interesting that I’m getting slack seeing all the patent disregard all around me. 

 Some friends are in Italy. They are a couple traveling together. They were seated at separate tables last night for dinner. That makes no sense at all!

 And while thinking about that tube, how about the money itself?

A local college has told students to not return to campus after spring break. No idea what they are all supposed to do with many students unable to pay their way home who were planning to stay on campus. We’re now wondering if the college will cancel the graduation ceremony. That’s generally a 3-day weekend booking for us.

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WV has 0 (ZERO) confirmed cases. The 2 BIG universities gave told students to vacate by the end of the week ANDto not return after Spring Break.  Classes will be online from for classes after the return from Break. The "Dance" playoffs will happen - without fans in the stands. WVU plays Thursday.

Boston,Chicago, & New York have cancelled St Pat's Parades,  Illinois has 25 confirmed cases in the ENTIRE State!!! It is now officially a pandemic. WHY????

The most people - other than those who already had one foot on the proverbial banana peel - who had it recovered with no problems. Total panic has been generated. Chicken Little lives. This whole thing is disgusting. Wish in a way that I would be here in 50 years to hear the truth come out about this.

Oh, the County Board of Ed just cancelled ALL out-of-State school trips - our high school band was leaving for Disney next week.

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gillumhouse wrote:

It is now officially a pandemic. WHY????

We'll know in a few months. We're only in the early weeks of this.

I was headed to a Cher concert in Little Rock Saturday night. I've decided to contribute my ticket to Cher and stay home. She's old and needs the money. I'm not joining 50,000 people at a concert Saturday. If I'm foolish and too conservative, so be it!

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I am not saying do not use common sense. I would not cram in with 50,000 people either. It just seems so silly to call a pandemic and get the crap scared out of everyone when so few are involved. SeaShanty, I DO sympathize with the nursing home people, they are limiting visitation at nursing homes here. THAT makes sense to protect the frail. I wonder how much has actually been spread due to the PANIC created sending everyone to the stores enmass when they would have most likely stayed home but raced to the store for supplies.

I honestly do not think it would have turned into any big deal had people not been worked up into a frenzy. It is a flu and as with most cases of flu, you have it and get over it.

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You are worried about the tube? Did you not notice that China disinfected and replaced their money in Wuhan. Thankfully, no one touches our CC here, we just tap and pay most of the time... how many people have used those terminals.

And did you read the instructions for those commercial cleaners... you have to leave the surface wet for 4 minutes (which is a good reason to use bleach as a disinfectant... 4 tsp to 1 litre of water) Can you imagine having to keep every surface WET for 4 minutes?

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gillumhouse's picture
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They had not actually booked yet, but I got an e-mail today from the grandson of my Gillums who was talking about coming in April or May. They are cancelling their trip due to the virus. They are over 60 so such is life. Not a hit to my revenue as I never charge them - he spent a lot of time here with his grandparents so for him it is coming home. His kids DO pay.

PhineasSwann's picture
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Our reservation calls dried up this week. 

Right now our April & May, which are certainly not super-busy, are almost completely empty. 

Morticia's picture
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PhineasSwann wrote:

Our reservation calls dried up this week. 

Right now our April & May, which are certainly not super-busy, are almost completely empty. 

 

 Well, our market is the aarp crowd and they are being told to stay home. I almost, but not quite, feel guilty for being out on the road.

 At a restaurant tonight the locals were commenting on ‘good crowd for a Tuesday.’ The bar was busy and there were 6 tables taken on the restaurant side.

 But, yes, April is dead for us as well. May is about usual. 

Hillbilly's picture
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Our town is normally thriving right now and it’s dead! Hardly any reservations coming in at all. This isn’t good!

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Much of this remind me of a tale Maxine tells from her childhood. One of her brothers was sick with a childhood illness, all the neighbor kids ignored the illness and came and played except one whose family kept them home to be safe, yet of all the kids, the child who didn’t come to play was the only one to catch the illness.

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I found a little pen-shaped pump bottle (clips on my shirt pocket) of hand sanitizer I picked up at the county fair a few years ago. I never used it, of course. Now I've poured out the old sanitizer and filled it from my bottle of 90% rubbing alcohol. So I'm now carrying it to spay down those door knobs, salt shakers, coins, etc. I run across when I'm out around town.

Still haven't decided if I'm going to spray the currency I receive back as change. Oh, why not!

I'm kind of making this a challenge game. If I end up avoiding getting sick, that's a bonus!

I also looked up how much alcohol you'd have to drink for your blood alcohol level to kill germs. Sadly, it seems if you drink enough to kill the germs, it will also kill you. Life is hard Sad

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Dambed it.  I recommended cheap vodka to a man at the pharmacy.  He said moonshine is too expensive.

Experts are saying 60% alcohol hand sanitizers.  Does that mean you could dilute the vodka and still work.

I have long read that vodka is excellent as a cleaner as well.  Well, not for the housekeeper though.smiley

 

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Tom
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Vodka is 80 proof which is 40% alcohol so even straight, it's not concentrated enough to act as sanitizer.  Apparently 60% alcohol is minimum for a quick kill of a susceptible virus on a non-porous surface. 

Morticia's picture
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The view from the road - I have not seen any extra precautions being taken anywhere since we left home. We are traveling with a sanitizing kit in the car. Washing hands somewhat obsessively. 

But, even tho we heard that some national coffee shops are not allowing you to bring your own mug, and are supposedly cleaning every high-contact surface every 8 minutes, we have not seen even simple cleaning taking place in fast food joints.

 We’re avoiding crowds. Kind of easy given we don’t like crowds! I should have brought make up wipes with me. Hotels don’t have them.

Morticia's picture
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Day 5 on the road and we’ve seen zero cleaning of public spaces. Most hotel parking lots are 50-75% full so people are traveling. (Old people mostly! Or maybe we go to old people places. Ha ha.)

We’re traveling along I-81 for those wondering. We are still washing every time we exit the car and whenever we get back in. Also after going outside and coming back in as we have to touch all those door knobs! (Am definitely using my sleeve to open doors.)

 If I do see any cleaning I’ll let you know. I’ve heard maybe 2 people actually mention the virus out in public.

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Smart moves on your part which hopefully will enable you to have fun and be safe at the same time!  I think awareness has a lot to do with whether or not the virus has been detected at all in the areas you are visiting.  Realistically, there may be undetected or unreported virus present.  It's really difficult trying to get updated numbers of those tested/confirmed from the CDC so local authorities may not have data to report to their citizens, especially in those states without an established plan.  

Keep us posted!  I am remaining optimistic that our guests scheduled for June will come!  Really, what better place to visit than a National Park when you are trying to get outside and enjoy life!

 

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Lost my first reservation. Just two rooms/one night but they were travelling healthcare workers coming in from out of province. Thankfully, they called back to say that their assignments have just moved back two months so they rebooked for the beginning of May. Here's to a shot of optimism!

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We had a brief meeting with our team to remind them that our current practices should keep them and our guests safe (hand-washing, cleaning every table after a party leaves, using the sterilize setting on the washers, not touching their faces). I agree if it gets dire, we'll be like Mort, pushing the fact that we're not where it's crowded, there's no fingers-in-the-buffet breakfasts, etc.

Some of the cleanliness details we emphasized:

  • Don't just wipe down tables, wipe down the chairs, especially the backs of them that people pull out when they get up or down. Most places ignore these.
  • If there's someone in the party sneezing or coughing, discretely do a detailed clean with a bleach solution of the area. 
  • ABC - Always Be Cleaning.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more. Many people say to sing "Happy Birthday" twice to time yourself. As a Southerner, I tell them to sing the refrain from "Jolene." laugh
  • Wear gloves at all times when doing rooms, whether you like them or not.
  • Don't touch your face. If you do, re-wash your hands. 
  • Open the windows to air out the rooms when cleaning, even if it's 30 degrees out. Close them when you're done.

As of now, our cancellation/refund policy has not been altered. Should the situation get worse, we'll reevaluate. 

On a person note, my SO and I are scheduled to fly to Europe in late April to drive around in an RV for three weeks. We're watching the airline situation and country alerts very carefully. 

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PhineasSwann wrote:

  • Don't touch your face.

Yes! They say that's the main way it spreads, by people picking up the virus on their hands then touching eyes, nose, or mouth. Unbroken skin is amazingly impenetrable, but eyes, nose, and mouth are how viruses can get in.

Those cheap masks people are wearing won't do much to stop something as tiny as a virus, but they can serve as an excellent reminder to keep your hands away from your face!

Morticia's picture
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Damn! I am now going to hum ‘Jolene’ all day!

Tom
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If a major event, such as Olympic team trials, cancels and eliminates a reason someone booked here, I'd be inclined to cancel or to rebate most of fees.  I take a "do unto others" approach, DW, not so much.  Hopefully it will shake out by May and become yet another flu bug we'll be dealing with.

That said, if someone wants to cancel because they have the flu, I'm all for it.  When we planned to open, I was concerned that guest traffic would increase our own risk of colds and flu -- it hasn't -- neither of us in 10 years.  Partly as pointed out, we are trained to clean, wash hands, disinfect.  Partly, the space and privacy of a high-end B&B naturally prevent a lot of contact that is unavoidable in a chain motel. 

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Not Covid19 but my brother and SIL decided this year’s school vacation was the time to take a Disney cruise. By the time they flew from VT to FtLauderdale the 3yo granddaughter had a fever. The ship’s doctor came down and with a test kit diagnosed influenza. So the 3 yr old was banned, but the others were “welcomed” to go aboard. Long and short, not even their trip cancellation insurance will pay since only one was sick. They ended up renting a car and driving to Kissimmee and going to Disney World. 
 

So the moral of the story is to read the fine print. 

Morticia's picture
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I have been reading some travel blogs this morning and it seems airlines are allowing flight changes without penalty IF the destination airport or the destination country has closed its borders to flights or major events have been canceled.

 Obviously we do not have that kind of money. However, what options do we have? I think that’s what you were asking at the outset.

  • Allowing guests to reschedule without penalty
  • Refusing to allow any changes 
  • Keeping deposits but not charging the balance for last minute cancellations
  •  Stating we are taking the lead of our local government

 On another front we could also be sure to have sanitizing hand cleaners at the door, be sure to wash our own hands immediately after check in, clean rooms thoroughly because the last thing we want is to help the virus get stronger.

I don’t shake hands, but if you do, stop. No one should expect hand shaking if this gets crazy.

I hate to use this as a way to push smaller properties, but... you can open the windows here, it’s not recycled air blowing on you while you sleep; it’s not a buffet where a hundred other unhygienic guests have handled everything before you got there; we actually clean the rooms with clean cloths and disinfectant, not the same rag from room to room.

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We just got our first cancellation for a week in the cottage at the end of March from a returning guest from the UK.  Our agreement was for full, non-refundable payment 30 days in advance and she canceled before the deposit was due.  We are happy she canceled since she travels internationally regularly for work and, although we miss the revenue, we all agree that she would be better off coming again once the landscape for this virus is more understood.  

I think she will book again at a later date simply because she has returned a couple of times over the last two years and loves it here.  And so it goes.

We are in a different situation than most of you here...winding down and both in our 70's with a few health issues that would definitely pose a problem with any kind of respiratory infection whether it be flu or Covid-19. 

Arks's picture
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Morticia wrote:

I don’t shake hands, but if you do, stop.

Yes! George Washington reportedly so disdained physical contact with crowds that, rather than a handshake, he used a formal bow to keep visitors at arm’s length. I generally use a smile and a nod. And if a hand is held out to you, there's nothing wrong with saying, I've given up handshaking for the duration of Corona. People should appreciate it!

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You have some great points and ideas! 

Arks's picture
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It's just getting started and nobody knows where we'll end up. I spent the weekend in the New Orleans French Quarter and business was booming. But that will start to change for everybody as things develop. It's just too early to say, but people are likely to start staying home and avoiding travels for a while. I think they'll take those trips eventually, but might postpone for a while.

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B.con has been gettting a LOT of discussion on BedPosts on this. These are from 2 innkeepers but the general thought is no refunds unless their location becomes a hotspot.

 

https://partner.booking.com/en-gb/help/legal-security/important-information-regarding-coronavirus

Forced Circumstances declared by B.com This MAY get complicated.

As someone said, travel insurance firms will not pay unless the government of the country has advised against travel to a location, however I would question the legal right of booking.com (and others eg agoda) to unilaterally overrule advice from national governments.

If anyone knows the legality of BDC statement(s) we'd be very interested to hear it - seems awfully like a charter for all those lovely people who booked through BDC 2 years ago thanks to their "Free Cancellation" (small print) "on most bookings" advertising, to re-raise their unwanted bookings.

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Guess I’m just an old grump, but if there wasn’t bad news of some sort, the news media would be out of business, they like pushing the bad things in life.

i figure people are still going out to work and buy food so why is travel different other than media hype? Most of us here aren’t the large convention type properties that expose masses of people.

Put the other way, are we ready to close up and hide so as not to be exposed to our visitors? I hope most people are logical 

Morticia's picture
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Total tourist area here as well. If my area suddenly makes the news as a hot spot for germs, of course I’ll refund and allow cancellations. 

I don’t think there’s much prep work we can do in advance. It is not clear to me if trip insurance covers this, it appears not. And I’m still treating this, personally, the way I would if it was cold and flu season. 

I’m guessing places that will be hit hard are big event venues where a lot of people are jammed together. (Conventions, arenas, things like that.) Obviously, media hype will not help. I feel really badly right now for the family of the ‘first person to die!!!’

If a guest is the kind of person who would use this as a reason to cancel something they changed their mind about, they’d find something else if this wasn’t going on. If they are really sick, I’d appreciate them staying home. If it’s my location that’s an issue I’ll have to deal with it.

BTW, booking has already sent an email saying the virus should be taken into consideration if a guest wants to cancel. They know it’s a thing already. And not every part of the vacation chain is refunding. Friends cannot get several thousand dollars back from their planned vacation because the airline is still flying to their destination even tho much of the city is closed. (Hotels all refunded, airline refuses.)

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