April 3, 2020
MESSAGE ABOUT COVID-19 FROM MEMBERS OF CAMDEN PREMIER INNS
Posted by: Ted Weiss
Greetings from beautiful, gradually warming, and altogether too quiet Camden.
We, the 14 inns comprising the Camden Premier Inns, want to reach out to you – our past, present and future guests – to update you on life in Camden and our inns as we all cope with the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
First and foremost, our hearts and prayers go out to everyone everywhere who has been impacted by COVID-19. The human tragedy brought on by the pandemic is as unspeakable as it was unforeseen. In difficult times such as the present, we are reminded of our shared humanity. It doesn’t matter whether you are from Wuhan or Worcester, from Italy or Ithaca, or from New York or New Delhi. We are all in this together, and our empathy and actions should, indeed must, and hopefully, do and always will reflect our common bonds as human beings.
Here in Camden, as well as the rest of Maine, we so far have been spared the crushing toll that COVID 19 has imposed on more populated areas. Nonetheless, our citizens are well aware of the health risks of the pandemic and are taking necessary and appropriate precautions to stem its spread. Schools and many businesses are operating remotely. Most retail stores are closed, with grocery stores and pharmacies being thankful exceptions. Dine-in restaurants are closed, though some have pivoted to provide food take-out and delivery services. Families are hunkered down in their homes, practicing self-isolation and social distancing.
Belying the quiet exterior, people in town are staying connected, thanks primarily to television, social media, and Zoom. Some traditional forms of social interaction and entertainment are even making a comeback, including watching movies (thank you, Netflix), playing board and card games, working jigsaw puzzles, and engaging in live conversations involving two or more persons who are present in the same room. Life is going on, in ways that are unfamiliar and would have been unthinkable just a couple weeks ago.
Like everything else, the inns in Camden are quiet. There are few visitors to Camden these days, which is due as much to the time of year (i.e., mud season) as it is to COVID-19. But, make no mistake about it, the pandemic is having a profound effect on our business. The Governor of Maine has issued an executive order requiring all hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and short-term rentals to cease substantially all of their lodging operations from April 5 through at least April 30. Further, there have been many cancellations of reservations for stays in the spring, and reservations for summer and fall visits are coming in slowly. People are being cautious about traveling, which is understandable and laudable. There is no way to sugarcoat it: Camden’s inns are facing tremendous challenges.
Despite the falloff in occupancy, Camden’s inns have not been sitting still. Every one of us is taking action to address the effects of COVID-19. Housekeeping and cleaning practices – always a strong suit of Camden’s inns – are being emphasized with even more fervor. Food preparation and meal service routines have been adjusted to allow for proper social distancing. Reservation cancellation policies are being made more flexible and guest-friendly to take into account the uncertainty of future travel. Some inns have enhanced the value of their gift certificates to encourage planning for future travel. And more than a few inns have taken the opportunity to close temporarily in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while also undertaking normal maintenance and repair projects.
Camden’s inns, like our guests, are waiting for the day, hopefully coming soon, when public health officials and governmental leaders will signal that it is OK for people to resume their prior levels of social interaction. When traveling is deemed safe again, the members of Camden Premier Inns will be ready to greet and serve our guests with the genuine warmth and hospitality that have been our hallmarks for generations. In the meantime, we hope and pray for everyone’s health and safety.