A few of the ways that Opal employees and partners responded, connected, and lent a hand during the COVID-19 pandemic, and why we are so thankful to have them at the helm of our operations and at the heart of our communities.
Opal team members have always been the heart and soul of our hospitality – and nothing has ever showcased this more than the team’s effort and sacrifice during this unprecedented past year. Not only did these brave individuals keep our resorts running with limited resources while ensuring enhanced cleaning and safety protocols, they did it with a smile. The result? Ensuring that our resorts still served as a haven and place of relaxation. We hope that as you – our guests – return to your favorite resorts this year, you will help us in thanking all our team members who made it possible to keep the places we love ready and welcome for your return.
Feeding Friends & Family
Sarasota & Naples, FL
After having to make the tough decision to furlough some staff in spring of 2020 – like many businesses had to do – Opal’s Gulf Coast resorts of Lido Beach Resort and Edgewater Beach Hotel got creative with how they could help during this trying time. Edgewater Beach Hotel branched into offering takeout from their on-site restaurant, Coast, to local residents, but then used the money from food sales to buy all the necessities to make multiple feasts (baked ziti dinners, ribs, and more) for their temporarily unemployed colleagues and their families. Similarly, Lido Beach Resort set up a food bank on the property, where their employees – many waiting for their unemployment benefits to kick in – were able to come and pick up essentials like milk, eggs, vegetables, meat, poultry, and fish to feed their families during the interim.
Making Smiley Masks for Many
Bar Harbor, ME
When PPE was hard to come by at the start of the pandemic, Kali Liimatainen, the general manager for Bar Harbor’s Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina, didn’t just take it upon herself to kick-start a mask-making effort, she made sure it came with a smile. We mean that quite literally: The 250 masks she enlisted her sewing star of a stepmother to hand make for employees of both Harborside and West Street hotels actually featured smiles on the front. “It was so that guests could still see a smile as a warm greeting, even though our faces are covered,” says Liimatainen, who also had excess masks shipped and distributed to staff at fellow Opal Collection property, Samoset Resort, in Rockport. “Some guests even offered to buy them from us,” adds Liimatainen with a laugh. “I kept a small stash in my office for those instances.”
Hotels Stepping Up to Serve as Vaccination Centers
What do you do when your resort is closed for the winter season? Why not volunteer those large, empty spaces to serve as vaccination distribution centers? That’s precisely what Maine’s Samoset Resort in Rockport did in early spring of 2021 in conjunction with their local hospital. Using the lobby for appointment check-in and screenings and function spaces to administer vaccinations, Samoset Resort was able to churn out 500-plus vaccinations a day.
Shopping for Our Most Vulnerable Population
Starting in spring of 2020, Catherine Shane – a longtime content manager for Opal Magazine – worked with the housing authority in her New Hampshire Seacoast town to spearhead a free grocery shopping service for the town’s low-income elderly residents. Between the months of June and October, Shane took grocery orders for up to 20 residents a week, made as many as three trips a week to the grocery store and food pantries, then delivered the orders to their doorsteps, so they didn’t have to risk going out in public. During one particular grocery trip in August, she filled five shopping carts with $455.44 worth of items on behalf of 11 different households.