You’re up at 2 in the morning, with your thoughts racing. You’re short with your kids, and ready to cry. You find yourself procrastinating on the big project at work. And a couple of little projects, too.
You know you need a vacation.
Now can be a scary time to travel–is it safe to fly? If you’re driving, what will you do if you have to go to the bathroom during the trip? What if the restaurants aren’t open once you get to your destination? What if you don’t feel comfortable going to restaurants at all?
Take a deep breath. It is possible to enjoy a getaway to St. Augustine during Covid-19. Here are our suggestions for a stress-free trip:
Deciding Where to Go
Know the county you’re traveling to. Florida data is reported by county. There is a world of difference (and over 300 miles) between Miami-Dade County and other counties. St. Augustine is in St. Johns county. You can see daily information on infections and hospitalizations here.
- Drive to your destination. We love flying, but lots of people feel safer in their cars than they do in a plane right now. We get that. Outfit your car with extra masks, antiseptic wipes, and hand sanitizer. You will need these if you stop for a bite to eat, or to use a restroom.
- Stay at a small property. Whether you want to stay at a private home or a small bed and breakfast, this equation works: less guests + less common areas = less risk.
- Once you’ve chosen a location, do a little research on state and local ordinances. In St. Augustine city, as well as St. Augustine Beach, masks are required indoors. If you are staying outside the city, the county highly encourages masks, but does not mandate them right now. All of the Bayfront Marin House properties are in the city, so you should wear a mask in public indoor spaces. We have masks you can use if you do not have one. You should also check how many people are allowed in groups, and if there are any restrictions or curfews. In St. Augustine, there is no curfew, and the only restriction is a state wide restriction on bars and breweries.
Where to Stay
Part of choosing your location is choosing your property. Make sure that the property you’re going to is using EPA approved disinfectants, and that they are following the directions to ensure that the surfaces are disinfected, and not just sanitized.
Ask your hotel what they’re doing to make sure the location is safe. If the hotel can’t list a bunch of enhanced cleaning techniques, and disinfectant protocols, you may want to look elsewhere. At the Bayfront Marin House, we’ve documented our entire cleaning process. Here are some of the highlights:
All rooms are given a chance to “settle” between guests, and air out. We wait a minimum of 75 minutes before entering any room (unfortunately, that oftentimes means no late check out or early check ins). Our cleaners wear face masks and gloves, changing their gloves from one room to the next. All linens are washed and disinfected between every guest. We use a three step cleaning process–first, we clean all surfaces with soap and water. Next, we use EPA approved disinfectants, allowing them to dry on the surfaces. Finally, we wipe down all high touch surfaces a third time with disinfectant wipes.
Our employees take their temperature before each shift. We offer paid sick leave so that employees are not motivated to come to work when they’re not feeling well. We have also spaced out our work stations so that our innkeepers can maintain some distances between themselves throughout the day.
We’ve closed our dining room, and realigned our outdoor tables to have at least 6 feet between each of them. We deliver breakfast and happy hour to our guests’ rooms. Guests can eat in their rooms, or outside on the deck or patio. We’ve added additional outdoor tables next to each room so everyone can eat outside (weather permitting).
Except in an emergency, we do not come into your room during your stay. If you need any additional amenities, you can call the front desk or text us and we will deliver them. If you’d like your trash removed, you can put it outside your door and we will dispose of it. We also have sanitation stations set up around the property so you can squirt sanitizer on your hands at any time. We have one at the front sidewalk, one at the soda machine, and one at the entrance to the office.
Contact-Free and Easy:
We have added a lot of improvements to the property to help keep your visit as contact-free as possible. We utilize a texting program, which lets you know when your room is ready (once you’ve checked in, we also use it to tell you what we’re making for breakfast). All of our rooms have keyless locks, and we program them to a code chosen especially for you. If it’s your first time staying with us, we also have property maps (at our downtown location) showing you where the different rooms are (if you’re staying at our cottages, there are directions to your unit on your confirmation letter). Of course, you can always call or text us…we are in the office and happy to help!
Once you’ve chosen a place where you can feel comfortable, your next step is making sure that you enjoy your stay. See the second part of our series, Traveling Safely in St Augustine: Where to Eat and What to Do, for details on that!