Virginia’s mandate for single-use menus sparked some ingenuity by the staff at the Charlottesville, Va. club, which found quick and universal acceptance from over 100 patrons for using scanned menus, rather than paper. Also in today’s report: The USGA cancels qualifiers for the U.S. Open and other events; venerable courses in New Orleans and Albany, N.Y. stay closed because of financial issues; and the use of services that monitor remote workers’ productivity (or lack of it) has spiked threefold during the pandemic.
Here is C+RB‘s latest roundup and summary of club-related developments surrounding the pandemic that have recently been reported. Please send updates on what your property is doing that you would like to share with the C+RBcommunity to [email protected].
All of C+RB’s daily updates on the coronavirus situation can be found at https://clubandresortbusiness.com/category/covid-19/.
“Care to Scan Our Menu?”
A mandate by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam for single-use menus, as part of allowing venues in the state to reopen but only operate at 50% capacity for outside service, sparked some ingenuity and the use of quick-recognition (QR) technology at Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Va.
“Ultimately the Governor’s mandate of single-use menus made the team get creative, so we wouldn’t waste a lot of paper,” reports Farmington’s Chief Executive Officer & General Manager, Joe Krenn, CCM, CCE. The Farmington staff decided to instead look into turning its menus into QR codes that could be included on signage for members to scan.
“There are a lot of websites out there that will let you create codes,” Krenn reports. “The one we used, https://www.flowcode.com, allows the first five to be free, and then there is a subscription service.”
Currently limited to only providing beverage service on its terrace, Farmington created a QR code for the beverage menu offered in its Blue Ridge Room and included it on laminated signs that were put near tables and chairs, to encourage members to scan the code to access the menu. Servers also carried the code on paper for members to scan, and it could also be downloaded from the club’s website or through e-mails and social-media posts sent to the membership.
“Our first night, we had over 100 patrons spread out practicing social distancing, and we did not have to hand out any of the backup paper menus,” Krenn reports. “Our members were very impressed and didn’t mind at all. We had to walk a few members through how to use [the code], but most got it right away.
“Once we start offering food, this will be a tool we will use for all of our menus,” Krenn adds.
The event was scheduled to kick off with the Kalkreuth Vendor Invitational (KVI) on July 24, The Times Leader of Martins Ferry, Ohio reported. The KVI draws more than 200 vendors from across the country to golf, shop, and enjoy the scenery at Oglebay Resort. The KAGC golf tournament was then scheduled to be played on the weekend of July 25-26.
Since 2011, The Times Leader reported, a portion of proceeds from the event have gone to benefit Easterseals, which provides assistance to children and adults with disabilities.
New Orleans and Albany, N.Y. Keep Longtime Courses Closed
Audubon Park Golf Course in New Orleans, one of the city’s oldest, will remain closed amid coronavirus concerns, WDSU NBC 6 reported.
Officials with the golf course made the announcement on May 18th by issuing this statement:
“During this challenging time, Audubon is happy that the community is able to utilize the course space to safely enjoy the outdoors. Audubon has closed the golf course during COVID-19 outbreak for the safety and welfare of our employees and our community.
“We will reopen the golf course in the coming weeks when we have sufficient staff to do so safely,” the statement continued. “Reopening will require course maintenance and crowd management.
“We are not in a position right now to make long-term decisions about the golf course. Audubon is facing a devastating financial outlook due to closures of its facilities, and has had to furlough or lay off hundreds of our employees, including 53 full- and part-time staff from the golf course and golf clubhouse.
“Audubon Golf Course has been a part of the Audubon Park experience since 1898, when the course was opened,” the statement said. “Nearly 30,000 rounds of golf are enjoyed annually, bringing in revenue that supports the upkeep and maintenance of the course and other areas in Audubon Park.
“As we have seen in the last several months, there is increased community interest in more open park space as well as maintaining the golf course,” the statement continued. “Because Audubon Park is a community park, the Audubon Commission would hold public engagement sessions and receive feedback from all park users before any change in use was considered. We appreciate all feedback from the community, and we will widely announce any planning meetings in the future concerning the golf course.”
Businesses in New Orleans started slowly reopening on Saturday as the city moved into a restricted phase-one plan, WDSU reported.
WDSU’s video report on Audubon GC can be viewed at https://www.wdsu.com/article/audubon-golf-course-remaining-closed-until-further-notice/32581251
Another city-owned course, the 18-hole Capital Hills at Albany facility that has an 88-year history and is now owned by New York state’s capital city, is also not yet available to golfers, the Albany Times Union reported. And it doesn’t appear ready to open any time soon, despite the state’s easing of restrictions that have been in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resumption of golf at other courses throughout the state.
The Capital Hills at Albany property has been open to joggers and walkers, many accompanied by dogs, the Times Union reported. But despite the updated guidance from the Empire State Development authority that was issued on May 16th to allow for single-person carts to now be rented and pro shops to be open, the Capital Hills course remains closed.
“There’s a big misconception out there that the golf course generates money,” Sergio Panunzio, commissioner of the city’s Department of General Services (DGS), told the Times Union on May 18th. “It costs us more to operate the golf course, [even] in our best year, including events and including championships. We don’t make any money. So even opening the golf course, whatever money we generate, would not suffice to sustain the operation of the course.”
For the past 17 years, Capital Hills has played host to a Symetra Tour event for women professional golfers, the Times Union reported. This year’s tournament, the CDPHP Open, was scheduled for May 29-31 but was postponed out of coronavirus concerns. It could still be played in September.
DGS employees normally at the golf course have been used in other capacities, the Times Union reported. A skeleton crew has been kept on to maintain the course.
“One of the things we’ve done here at DGS is rotated our employees and we were able to skate away from having anyone contracting COVID,” Panunzio said. “We furloughed for two weeks, then we had people alternate for two weeks. Those employees should be finishing their rotation by the end of the month.
“I don’t know if we can open the golf course because we don’t know what our budget situation is going to be,” he added. “We know we’re in a $17-$20 million deficit, and we might need to make some cuts. Everything’s on the table, including the golf course being a source of saving people’s jobs.”
Panunzio said it would take 7 to 10 days to get the course ready for play, but the clock hasn’t started on that process, the Times Union reported. That means no golf at Capital Hills over Memorial Day weekend, traditionally one of the busiest times for a golf operation.
“This year we were going to raise the fees to get some compensation,” he said. “Unfortunately, because of COVID, we weren’t able to do that. The misconception that the golf course makes money and that we could start tomorrow, first of all, we would have a tough time getting people to come in on short notice. Second of all, whatever money we make would not suffice to balance the budget on the golf course.
“We hope to maintain the golf course,” he added. “We hope to open it as soon as we possibly can, just like we want to open the basketball courts, the pools and everything else. But until now, we don’t know.”
Checking Up on Remote Employees Has Its Cost
While every employer likes to believe employees who have had to work remotely from home during the pandemic will continue to put in a full day’s work, the use of monitoring programs tied to checking on workers’ degree, and content, of computer usage has spiked during the outbreak. Demand for staff monitoring services has increased three times since the beginning of quarantine, the founder and the chief executive of Hubstaff, a well-known tracking software company, reported.
A basic monitoring package includes automatic time tracking, screen capturing, or a productivity score calculation based on factors such as how often an employee moves a computer mouse or types something in. Some of the more elaborate services also provide reports on social media usage or “abusive behavior” analyses.
Other features offered by the various provides of employee monitoring systems include tracking search histories, USB and file-transfer detection, and enabling managers to automatically capture screenshots of an employee’s screen.
A recent study conducted by Atlas VPN compared various available monitoring services and found that the average cost of monitoring a single employee working remotely was $7 a day, with the cost of “starter packages” ranging from under $5/day to $13/day.
Rachel Welsh, COO of Atlas VPN, expressed her concern and skepticism towards employee monitoring applications:
“Managers should look for better ways to ensure their employees are productive while maintaining respect for their privacy,” Welsh said. “Some of the features these services include, such as keystroke monitoring, are too invasive. Not to mention, results from these systems show are not always accurate – employers should never fully rely on automatically generated reports.”
To see the full report, go to https://atlasvpn.com/blog/it-costs-7-for-your-boss-to-monitor-you-working-remotely/