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Bandon Dunes Golf Resort reopened this week, but it wasn’t back to normal because so much is new as the resort, like other businesses across the country, adjusts to the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff members are wearing face masks and encouraging guests to do the same. Plexiglass shields separate customers from workers at counters. There are limits to how many people can be in the golf shops at any given time.

But after being closed for well over a month, resort officials are grateful to be back in business and guests are excited to be back at the famed golf destination.

“People are ecstatic to be here,” said General Manager Don Crowe.

The resort reopened Monday and while the traffic was still a little light early this week, it will pick up by this weekend and especially into the summer.

“We’re going to get into some bigger numbers starting June 1,” Crowe said. “We have a solid summer ahead of us.”

That includes the U.S. Amateur in August, which the resort has been planning for several years. And before that, the highly anticipated opening of Sheep Ranch, the resort’s fifth 18-hole course, on June 1.

“We’re fortunate to have Sheep Ranch opening this year,” said Michael Chupka, the resort’s director of communications.

A limited number of golfers are getting a sneak peek at the new course the next few weeks — 32 guests a day — and are excited by what they see.

“Even today, when the weather isn’t good, they are through the moon (with their comments),” said Nick Bonander, the head pro at the new course, on a windy and rainy Tuesday afternoon.

The best review so far, he said, came from an 8-year-old golfer the other day who called the course “triple awesome.”

Resort officials spent the past several weeks preparing to reopen this week.

That included implementing numerous safety measures.

People planning to visit have been able to get updates on all the various measures through the resort’s website.

“We’re super proud of that,” Crowe said of the website and its multi-page document with all the measures in place.

The entry booths on both roads into the resort are being staffed as well, with a greeter to make sure guests know safety precautions at the resort.

In addition, safety signs have been posted on all the doors heading into the lodge and various shops and other buildings on site.

Hand washing stations have been put up in many areas as well and, as much as possible given the sometimes challenging weather, doors are being kept propped open.

“We are trying to limit as many touch places as possible,” Chupka said.

Bandon Dunes officials also are in the process of having all of the hundreds of staff members go through formal training, including watching a video a few employees at a time.

Crowe said the staff has been receptive to the changes and the need for the safety measures. And the changes are many.

“Especially the food and beverage service,” Crowe said.

Like other restaurants around the state, there is no sit-down dining at the resort, so all the food is on a take-out basis.

Chupka said the chefs have simplified the menus, with food currently available only at the lodge and at McKee’s pub. Guests need to eat the food in their rooms.

By the time the big rush of golfers hits this summer, all the resort’s restaurants will have to be serving food again, Crowe said.

To that end, resort officials also staying up to date with what is happening around the state and watching closely Coos County’s request to be able to enter the first phase of reopening, which would allow dining in restaurants, with a limited number of guests at a time.

And the staff is talking with the visitors.

“We are listening to the guests and their questions — what is important to the guests,” Chupka said.

It’s all part of the process of reopening in what will become the new normal.

“We’re just living and learning every day,” Chupka said.


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