Greetings from Elkhorn. We very much hope that you are safe and secure and tucked away in a good spot during this crazy stretch of being human. I could write many pages about how we are doing here at Elkhorn. Instead, I’ll keep it brief and say that it has been challenging ~ but we are healthy and coping well. As you might imagine, we’ve had massive cancellations. But we have enjoyed the extraordinarily positive company of a handful of guests and committed crew who found themselves here as the crisis peaked and have sheltered here at Elkhorn. We stocked up on TP early, have lots of soap and sanitizer scattered about, and have instituted some changes in the dining room. We’ve been rolling over deposits to next season for all the cancellations. We feel very fortunate to be in a sparsely populated rural setting.
On numerous occasions the past week or so, we have begun to think about providing some sort of update, only to find that the situation has changed faster than we could respond. We seem to be in a comparatively calm spot between spikes of change, and so it feels right to reach out with some news.
Elkhorn has not closed, for two reasons. First, we have had guests in residence as the crisis spiked; and we and they responded to our country’s leadership request that people stay in place. Second, closing would mean letting our crew go; and we decided that it was similarly appropriate for them to be able to shelter at their winter season “home”. Also, we reaffirmed a commitment to keep our crew employed through April to honor their seasonal commitment to us, regardless of the amount of business. We look forward to working together on ranch maintenance projects, horse training, and the like as time allows.
So while we are open, there is a cloud over us related to Pima County’s decision to close restaurants from Thursday March 19, 2020 at 8 pm through March 31st. We are a unique type of operation, and are not totally clear on how this applies to us; but we are erring on the side of caution, and are not accepting new guests until this ban lifts. Thus, the very few guest reservations that we still have that arrive on March 29th, 2020 have been cancelled.
We still have some reservations late in April, as well as a handful of people seeking new reservations. We don’t feel that we can provide good information about whether we can honor these reservations until we know whether Pima County will extend its ban into April. Over the next week or so, we will be watching the news and evaluating next steps ~ like so many businesses. We are fielding calls from people individually and trust that you will contact us at a time appropriate for you to discuss your particular reservation.
We will continue to do our part to enable our crew and guests who found themselves in Arizona when this crisis peaked to shelter in place, as public health experts have requested. We find ourselves also juggling this critical mandate with the need for business and life to keep moving. Wherever possible, we are striving to safely work with our business partners and suppliers to continue economic productivity. For example, the Tucson School of Horseshoeing students are here this week to help us shoe ~ but we’ll deliver cookies to the barnyard instead of inviting them to lunch this week.
It is interesting to watch all of humanity respond to this global crisis. Perhaps we can apply learning from this situation to other critical issues we face? So many people and businesses are doing the right thing for public health, and seeking ways to be creative, generous and flexible. We sincerely hope that this spirit continues as we move through this crisis. Next year will be Elkhorn Ranch’s 75th Anniversary Jubilee season and we hope to see many of you here. It will be all the sweeter having missed you this season. Be on the lookout for a postcard inviting you to send photos and stories to help us celebrate.
Take care and be healthy! With love,
All the Miller family and Elkhorn crew