Ocean Shores hotels have seen some cancellations related to the coronavirus outbreak, but it hasn’t been a dramatic drop and major events are still going on as planned.
The Canterbury Inn has had seven out of 24 reservations since March 1 canceled due to either sickness or concerns about the coronavirus, according to Manager Shannon Rubin. The Quinault Beach Resort and Casino had a number of cancellations early last week, but those vacancies are being filled with other guests and there have been fewer cancellations this week, said Don Kajans, Quinault Beach General Manager and CEO.
“The businesses that are going to get hit hardest are in the travel industry, hotels and all the small businesses in Ocean Shores that depend on tourism,” Rubin said.
Kajans was more optimistic about how the hotels would fare during an outbreak. “People want to get out of the city. I know I would if I lived in Seattle. I’d want to come out to the country. You walk on the beaches, get all that fresh air coming off the ocean. We had some cancellations because of it, but we have others who are filling in. We had a great weekend last weekend,” Kajans said.
“We, as a company, started preparing for (coronavirus) to impact us about two and half weeks ago,” Rubin said.
One of the first steps she took, before the first case in the United States was reported, was to consider the supplies, furnishings and amenities the hotel imports from China and to place orders to stock up.
Kajans said the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino has increased the frequency of cleaning throughout the day.
“As far as I know, we’re the only casino that said we’re going to increase the cleaning throughout the day, and we’re going to close down at night and completely disinfect and cleanse the entire property,” he added.
After hearing reports of the virus in Washington, Rubin started to think about her employees and what they should plan to do if their kids were out of school for extended absences. Rubin said she ordered more cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and set up new hand sanitizing stations in common areas.
“We also started sending out letters explaining to our customers any time they book, … that we take our employee health and guest health very seriously, and we ask that if they’ve been sick or if they are sick that they please cancel their reservation,” she said.
Rubin said she’s asked the City of Ocean Shores why they are still holding public meetings and events.
Events that will draw people to the beach are scheduled at the Convention Center the next three weekends, with Clean & Free bringing 1,000 guests March 12-15, the Razor Clam Festival, which is promoted by the city on March 20-22 and will draw several thousand, and an EMS regional conference bringing 1,200 or so March 27-29.
“I think most people don’t think it’s a big deal,” Rubin said.
“No one wants to lose revenue, but I would rather lose revenue in the early spring time in March and April than I would in June and July, so not really knowing what the virus is or what it’s doing, if you could stop the spread, that would probably be a wise idea, so we’re erring more on the side of caution,” she added.
“We’re down some compared to last year. … There will be some impact. We encourage people if they feel like they’re getting sick or exposed to stay home,” said Kajans.
Rubin said she would urge everyone to practice social distancing now to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“If you don’t really need to travel, then don’t travel right now. We would rather see people really healthy in the summer,” Rubin said.
“I think that we should all take a very serious look at this, we should be calm, cautious and take good care of ourselves and I think we’ll be OK on the other end,” Kajans said.
A number of local events have been canceled or postponed due to coronavirus concerns including:
March 12: The Daily World Coffee with the Editor in Ocean Shores
March 14: Grays Harbor Hawks Celebrity Basketball Game
March 14: North Beach Senior Center St. Patrick’s Day Event
March 19: Grays Harbor Community Hospital Healing Gallery opening
If you know about a local event that’s been canceled, email firstname.lastname@example.org.