BASS LAKE — It’s no secret the hospitality industry has been hit extremely hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Direct health concerns as well strict restrictions and directives from health officials, including social distancing, sheltering in place and closing the area’s main attraction – Yosemite National Park — has resulted in a significant drop in all tourism-related business.
In just the last few weeks, The Pines Resort in Bass Lake has received almost a thousand of cancellations, all international tours have been cancelled and two months’ worth of group retreats, family reunions and weddings were rescheduled or lost completely.
The Choe family, owners of the Pines Resort, have also been forced to close the Pines Bar, cancel all public events and close their dining rooms at Ducey’s on the Lake.
“At The Pines Resort and Ducey’s on the Lake, our highest priority is the health and safety of our patrons and staff, therefore we didn’t hesitate to make some tough decisions in order to keep everyone safe and do our part in stopping the spread of this virus,” said Mark Choe, general manager at The Pines.
As one of the biggest employers in the area, Choe said The Pines management team didn’t want to wait the situation out. So they decided to re-invent their operations in order to provide their employees with ongoing employment — and keep their popular business afloat.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow, we have adjusted our operations to ensure the well being of all,” Choe said this week. “We were determined to stay open, provide our employees with work while promoting social distancing and keeping everyone healthy.”
While the Pines Resort’s cabins and suites remain open, the Choes decided to operate them on a limited capacity so that the same room is used no sooner than three to five days after a guest leaves. That gives the housekeeping staff extra time before they enter the room, as well as allows the rooms to be deep cleaned and fully sanitized after each stay, according to Choe.
Individual, semi-private cabins also allow for a full social distancing, as rooms are spread throughout the property and there are no immediate neighbors, Choe explained. In addition, guests can now check in via a window without entering the building — and check outs can be processed over the phone.
Room entry is touch-less and keys are one-time use only.
There were even more changes at the restaurants. While Ducey’s on the Lake and The Pines Bar & Grill are closed for dining in, the business has quickly released to-go menus, as well as introduced affordable family meals. Those family meals are offered in four “themes” and Choe said that at $40, the meals provide enough servings for a family of four to five people.
Food can be picked up in the restaurant or delivered to the car. “For locals, Ducey’s will now deliver to your door,” Choe said. “At this time, due to safety concerns, we only accept debit and credit cards as a payment.”
“We want to thank everyone for your support,” Choe added.
“We are so happy to hear such positive responses to our adjusted operations. We have already sold over 150 meals and we hope to keep this momentum going, so we can continue operating in this new reality,” said Tony Diaz, restaurant manager at the resort.
Choe said The Pines Market remains open and most items are in stock. Depending on demand, hours might be adjusted and in support of social distancing, only a limited number of people will be allowed in the store at the same time.
Please note that all the open to the public events for the month of March and April were cancelled, including Craft Fair, Easter Brunch, Easter Egg Hunt, Brewmaster’s Dinner planned for mid-April.
Following CDC recommendations, all staff at the resort has been instructed to maintain proper hygiene and increase their frequency of hand washing and sanitizing. Special efforts will be put to sanitize the equipment and work space frequently. Extra precautions also include screening employees before the start of their shift. All staff has been also asked to limit interactions with patrons, unless necessary.
“During these unprecedented times profits are no longer the essence of our operation,” Choe said. “Now, our main goal is to survive. We plan to accomplish that by providing services for the community, offering shelter, food and a consistent employment to our hard-working team.”
Those looking for ways to support the Pines Resort from afar can consider purchasing a gift card for their business.
“If you would normally vacation at Bass Lake this time of the year or dine in their restaurants, you can still get a gift card and use it in the future,” Choe said. The Pines is offering 20% off their gift cards — with $80 purchasing $100 value and $40 buying $50 in value. Gift Cards do not expire and can be used towards lodging, dining (exception family meals) and purchases at the market. Orders can be placed online and will be shipped to you within 1-2 weeks: https://bit.ly/PinesGiftCards.