Time to Reopen – Harris Rosen

Time to Reopen
Photo credit: Isaac Arjonilla

According to Harris Rosen, president/COO, Rosen Hotels & Resorts, it is time to reopen the country to meetings and incentives and it is not very complicated.

“Maybe I have a tendency to oversimplify things,” he said in explaining why he feels it is time to reopen. “But it’s simple. Screen inside, screen outside, and get everyone back to work.”

His company, Rosen Hotels & Resorts, which consists of eight hotels in Orlando, has created a COVID-19 task force that will work in conjunction with its RosenCare program that was established in 1991. Rosen started it as his own self-funded associate healthcare program in response to rising healthcare insurance premiums for employers.  The program includes the 12,000-sq.-ft. on-site Rosen Medical Center, with a 60-member staff including full-time doctors and nurses and various ancillary specialists to service the more than 6,000 associates and dependents on the plan.

“Our economy is absolutely devastated. We have to get everyone opened up,” he adds.

Rosen is in a more advantageous position then most as he has zero debt. His foray into the hotel industry was a motel that he bought for $20,000, his entire life savings at the time, and grew his company into what it is today.

He continues to pay his associates most of their salaries, spending $6 million a month with seven of his hotels closed.

Right now, he eyes a reopening date of June 10. “Leisure will come back first,” he said.

A new paradigm must be created to make meeting attendees feel safe, he explained. “Screening is important, and it will give attendees a sense of security. It’s going to be all about screening, screening, screening, and sanitizing, sanitizing, sanitizing,” he exuded.

He predicts some small groups will start meeting in June and July, but that it will take six months before things get close to normal. The physical attributes of meetings will change, as well. “Initially, distancing will be required, and people are going to be seated further away from each other,” commented Rosen.

New procedures will be implemented at all eight properties and feature enhanced processes such as the cleaning of guest-centric public and “back-of-the-house” private areas with quick-acting hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectants considered effective by the CDC.  Additional new hotel processes include, but are not limited to:

Adjusting to ensure social distancing between associates and guests and to limit cross-contact of common items.  This includes putting in place space capacity limits, furniture rearrangements, queuing floor decals, and other procedures to promote social distancing among guests.

Posting the CDC’s guidelines on handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes as reminders to guests and associates, while increasing the number of hand sanitizer dispensers that are available and easily accessible throughout the hotels.

Placing clear protective barriers at the front desk to separate guests and front desk associates.

Using hospital-grade disinfectants designed to kill viruses when thoroughly sanitizing each guestroom with electrostatic sprayers and to ensure touchpoints and commonly handled items throughout the hotels and guestrooms are more frequently disinfected throughout the day.

Bed and bath linens are cleaned at the company-owned, computer-controlled, and monitored on-site laundry facility in water temperatures hot enough to kill viruses. The laundering process also uses steam, which further disinfects linens, while virus-eliminating detergents are used. Carts transporting linens from the company’s laundry facility to each hotel will be sanitized with fast-acting disinfectants.

Screening associates to include temperature checks before each shift.  All ill associates will be instructed to remain at home. Associates also have been trained and are frequently reminded on how to assess for symptoms and how to notify management for assistance and guidance.

Key management will be continuously apprised on the latest developments.  Rosen associates, who play an integral part in the efforts, will be regularly briefed on the need for proper and consistent hygiene practices.

To view a video message from Harris Rosen about COVID-19 and why it is now time to reopen, click here.

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