Update: as of June 15, 2021, the “sector guidance” for all sectors, including lodging, has been lifted. This means that we have no more formal restrictions. We do still have some additional measures in place.
We are both fully vaccinated as of May 5.
This means we no longer leave a gap night and we are now able to do things like leave out extra linens for guests. However, we do and will comply with any guidance from public health officials as things evolve.
If you’re not worried about the safety aspect, you can skip to the section on downsides, which highlights a few minor (we hope) inconveniences that result from all this.
Planning and Communicating
We have in the past really enjoyed welcoming guests and poring over maps in over the dining table shoulder to shoulder to help plan their outings. We now try to keep a safe distance and meet with our guests only outdoors unless everyone in the group is fully vaccinated. We appreciate it if guests let us know their vaccination status.
Cleaning between Guests
In addition, we have a number of measures in place to enhance safety for us and our guests. Of course, we cannot guarantee safety from Covid-19, but we are taking precautions to reduce the chance of spread. Some of these measures, sadly, make the experience a little less “homey,” but that is the reality we live in until state and local health departments lift current rules, though many of these rules we now think of as prudent practice even in the absence of Covid.
- In nice weather, we ask guests to open a few windows before leaving and to turn on the bathroom fan to help turn air over and we typically open all the windows during cleaning to get as much air flow as possible. In hot weather, we close the windows when done cleaning and turn on the air conditioning. In cold weather when we cannot open the windows, we have an Austin Air Healthmate, medical-grade HEPA filter that we ask guests to turn on before leaving and that we run during cleaning and leave on for the next guest.
- High-filtration filters in the heating system with a MERV rating of over 13 or higher (Filtrete MPR of 1900 or higher; MPR 2800 filters if obtainable). There are many standards, but this is roughly speaking a HEPA filter. See the New York Times article on The Best Furnace Filters 2020 (opens in new tab) for more information.
- We use the safest disinfectants we could find approved for Covid-19. We have settled on hydrogen peroxide, which breaks down into water and oxygen, and Vital Oxide. Vital Oxide is approved for food-contact surfaces without rinsing and breaks down into a salt.
- Keyless entry so no key handoff required. This is not contactless entry as you do have to enter the code on the keypad, but we disinfect the keypad between guests.
- Provide alcohol-based sanitizer for us and our guests.
- HEPA filter on the vacuum cleaner.
- Keurig coffee maker with individual-use K-Cups. This was a tough one for us, but county public health officials were emphatic about not leaving open food bags, so we can no longer provide bulk coffee. If you dislike the waste or simply prefer a different coffee experience, just let us know.
There is a huge upside to all this — most summers, people encounter traffic jams and crowding. In 2020, even on Fourth of July and Memorial Day it was pleasant being out and about.
There are a few downsides to all this. We try to provide enough of everything to keep our guests comfy, but given the new cleaning protocols, we are providing fewer of some things and have stopped providing some things altogether:
With respect to our accommodations:
- Fewer spices. We recommend guests bring their own.
- No bulk foods like cooking oil, coffee, flour, sauces, and condiments.
- Fewer spare linens (more available upon request).
- Fewer dishes (again, more available upon request – we want people to be comfy, but try to keep it to three dishwasher loads per changeover).
- Fewer throw pillows, decorative blankets and such.
- We do still have a closed shelf of DVDs and guidebooks. We generally do a very light, quick spray of that shelf and close the doors. We leave it up to our guests whether or not they are comfortable with using those items or not.
With respect to the park in general
- The shuttle system is not running in 2021. For the most part, this is not too bad, but there are a couple of places where it adds significantly to your walk:
- Mariposa Grove. It is now a two-mile walk from the parking lot to the first giant trees. This road is, however, open for biking this year (normally it is not). If you can bring bikes, they could be handy.
- Mirror Lake. Normally you can shuttle to the trailhead, but now you would have to walk from trailhead parking, Curry Village or the Ahwahnee Hotel. There may also be parking at the Stables near North Pines campground.
- Any route that doesn’t end where it started. For example, up the Four Mile Trail and down the Panorama Trail. In the past you could shuttle from one trailhead to the other, but now you will need to walk it.
- Limited food service. The restaurant offerings are limited. Stock up on lunchable picnic items and, for the most part, plan to cook at home.
So there you have it. I think we’re being responsible, though with some regret that we can’t, as we did before, supply many extra sets of dishes and towels and all that. Research has shown that Covid does not spread through surface contact, but we are trying to stay compliant with all local and state regulations, even if they have, perhaps, not adapted to what we know a year into this.
We do want you to be comfortable, so if you are short on anything, let us know.