Chatham Bars Inn, Other Area Inns Close Due To Virus

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Business , COVID-19

Chatham Bars Inn is pausing operations through April 30 in response to the COVID-19 crisis.  TIM WOOD PHOTO


CHATHAM – Chatham Bars Inn, the town's largest private employer, is instituting a “pause in operations” through April 30.

The announcement came prior to guidance issued by the state department of public health Tuesday limiting the use of hotels, inns and short-term rentals to healthcare workers and those on the front line of the coronavirus response (see "Concerns Arise About Out Of State Visitors").

While occupancy was “strong” in early March, General Manager Gary Thulander said changes in federal and state travel guidelines had obviously changed things, resulting in the inn closing March 22.

Most other area inns are also closed, including the Wayside Inn. The Wequassett Inn and Resort pushed its usual opening date from April 1 to May 1 in response to the coronavirus emergency. Many of the region's smaller inns have yet to open for the season.

The Captain's House Inn remains open. An email from management said that interactions between staff and guests were being limited as much as possible for safety. According to a statement on its website, the inn has instituted a no-contact check-in policy, replaced sit-down breakfast with room service, and will have a 24-hour period between room occupancy to allow deep cleaning.

The Carriage House Inn isn't scheduled to reopen until May 15, but co-owner Brian O'Connor said when that happens, assuming the situation allows, there will be some changes in the way the Old Harbor Road facility operates. No meals will be served in the dining room and there will be no gatherings in common areas to honor social distancing; there will be a “touchless” check-in and check-out process; breakfast and tea will be “to-go” only; and stringent cleaning and disinfecting practices are being put in place.

A statement on Chatham Bars Inn's website said “pausing” operations was a difficult decision, “yet our first responsibility is to support the health and well-being of our team” and its guests.

With 217 rooms, Chatham Bars Inn is the town's largest accommodations facility. It is open year round, although it closes several days a week during the off season.

Much of the inn's staff is on temporary leave of absence, Thulander said, while a core group remains working, including the reservation team.

Thulander said several conferences and weddings were being rescheduled, most within the calendar year and a few for next year.

While the inn is scheduled to begin operations again May 1, Thulander said management will be “constantly reassessing” based on guidance from the governor, state agencies and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.