After 125 days closed due to the global pandemic, Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center re-opened on July 19. That first day was filled with both nervous-energy and joy! As a ministry, our staff truly enjoys serving others and we lamented our inability to do that while we were closed. Re-opening meant we would get some semblance of normal back in our lives, we would have routine, and comradery with one another and our guests. But we also worried about the significant responsibility of keeping everyone safe and healthy.
Before we even knew our official re-opening date, we diligently planned for it. A COVID-19 task force was formed, and they kept up to date with CDC guidelines for cleanliness, and federal, state, and county recommendations for businesses to re-open. Spreadsheets were drafted, protocols were designed, updated staff training took place. We discussed the need to be nimble and expect adjustments to be made as we became busier over time.
As we have reopened, we have worked together to determine best practices: meeting spaces were reduced to 50% occupancy allowing ample room for social distancing; our usual buffet-style meals are served by the Food Service Team; lodging rooms are not refreshed during a guest’s stay which allows Housekeeping time to sanitize hi-touch points throughout the building all day.
Our guests are notified prior to arrival of what they can expect from us during their stay. We also, however, notify them of our expectations of them: wearing a mask while in the building (and outside if social distancing is not possible), washing hands regularly, and maintaining social distancing. Upon arrival, their temperatures are taken and if they refuse to comply with the expectations, they are not allowed in the building (this hasn’t occurred, thankfully!). Overwhelmingly, our modifications, protocols, and requirements have been met with warm reception!
We feel truly blessed to be serving our guests again, especially as so many have been isolated during recent months. There is freshness in the air as guests move through the building again and the joy is palpable.
For more information on how we re-opened, see how Response to COVID-19: