Gaylord officials in Donelson responded to the COVID-19 threat by suspending operations at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, as well as four other hotels in its convention network.

Officials made the announcement March 24 and it took effect March 26 as Ryman Hospitality Properties made moves to slow the virus’ impact on its businesses. Several customers cancelled their events.

Colin Reed is chairman and executive officer of the company. 

“In addition to the previously announced actions we have taken to mitigate the operating and financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working with our management company, Marriott, to temporarily suspend operations at our five hotels that comprise the Gaylord hotels convention network,” Reed said in a statement. “After taking into account the recommendations of local health authorities and expected demand levels over the upcoming weeks, we have determined that a temporary suspension of operations is in the best interest of the employees in our hotel properties, the local communities in which our hotels operate and our shareholders.”

The company plans to assess hotel demand levels in April.

“In consultation with local health authorities, [we will] determine an appropriate reopening date for the facilities,” Reed said. 

State health officials didn’t mandate closing, but the group said it believed the proactive measure was necessary to protect its guests, workers and the communities surrounding its hotels. Employees will continue to have access to medical benefits while the businesses are closed, but they will not be paid. 

Employees will, however, have access to both disaster pay and unemployment benefits provided by the state and federal government. The company said employees will also be first in line for rehire when the pandemic ends and the hotels reopen.

Two Gaylord properties in the area will remain open for the immediate future. They are the Inn at Opryland and the Gaylord Springs Golf Links, both in Donelson. The company said they will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s stringent COVID-19 sanitation guidelines while the businesses are still in operation. 

Ryman Hospitality Properties convention center resorts operate under the Gaylord Hotels brand and are managed by Marriott International. They also own two adjacent ancillary hotels and other attractions for 10,110 rooms and more than 2.7 million square feet of total indoor and outdoor meeting space. 

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