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Staff at a Yosemite hotel feared for their safety after hundreds of maskless guests went to a buffet

Staffers at a Yosemite National Park hotel have revealed that they feared for their safety after hundreds of maskless guests dined indoors at a $103-per-person touchless buffet for Thanksgiving

Despite the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) issuing guidance for holiday travel and gatherings, the buffet took place anyway at the Ahwahnee Hotel.

Hotel employees told SFGate that the buffet was fully booked all week and hundreds of guests showed up for the dinner’s multiple indoor seatings between 2-8pm. 

The meal cost $103 per adult and $52 per child between the ages of 6 and 12. 

Employees said that face coverings were required but there was no real enforcement and many guests went without them. 

Staffers at a Yosemite National Park hotel have revealed that they feared for their safety after hundreds of maskless guests dined indoors at a $103 per person touchless buffet for Thanksgiving

Staffers at a Yosemite National Park hotel have revealed that they feared for their safety after hundreds of maskless guests dined indoors at a $103 per person touchless buffet for Thanksgiving

Staffers at a Yosemite National Park hotel have revealed that they feared for their safety after hundreds of maskless guests dined indoors at a $103 per person touchless buffet for Thanksgiving

Despite the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) issuing guidance for holiday travel and gatherings, the buffet menu pictured) took place anyway at the Ahwahnee Hotel

Despite the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) issuing guidance for holiday travel and gatherings, the buffet menu pictured) took place anyway at the Ahwahnee Hotel

Despite the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) issuing guidance for holiday travel and gatherings, the buffet menu pictured) took place anyway at the Ahwahnee Hotel

Roomskeeper, Lianne Saylor, told the news site: ‘Thanksgiving was a f**king sh*t show.’

‘It was awful … every bellman, bartender, server and roomskeeper … all were very concerned about possibly being exposed [to the virus],’ she added. 

Saylor continued: ‘Basically, everyone just did whatever they wanted, as if there was no pandemic.’

According to an ad for the event on the Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau website, guests were invited to ‘be delighted with a Thanksgiving feast set in the historic Ahwahnee dining room’.

‘Located in Yosemite Valley, the high ceiling and chandeliers create the perfect backdrop for a special occasion,’ the ad reads. 

Menu items included cider brined diestel turkey and a dijon-herbed filet of wild salmon. 

According to the ad there was ‘limited seating capacity’ and a touchless component to prevent the spread of the virus. 

And while those options were in place to keep guests socially distanced, employees said the bar area got extremely crowded.

‘Basically, everyone just did whatever they wanted, as if there was no pandemic,’ Saylor said. 

Another worker, who didn’t want to be identified, told SFGate that the incident prompted her to call ‘the health department in Mariposa’.

Another worker, who didn't want to be identified, claimed that the incident prompted her to call 'the health department in Mariposa'. According to the worker, management had her make preparations for 300 to 400 guests (file image) for the Thanksgiving event

Another worker, who didn't want to be identified, claimed that the incident prompted her to call 'the health department in Mariposa'. According to the worker, management had her make preparations for 300 to 400 guests (file image) for the Thanksgiving event

Another worker, who didn’t want to be identified, claimed that the incident prompted her to call ‘the health department in Mariposa’. According to the worker, management had her make preparations for 300 to 400 guests (file image) for the Thanksgiving event 

According to the worker, management had her make preparations for 300 to 400 guests for the Thanksgiving event.  

The workers are employed by Yosemite Hospitality, which is a subsidiary of Aramark Management Services. 

Aramark’s vice president of corporate communications, David Freireich, told SFGate that while he didn’t have the exact seating information, he knew the company was ‘below the mandates for reduced seating/capacity restrictions that were in place at the time’.

‘The dinner itself was a touchless buffet, where staff, working behind plexiglass, plated the food for guests and handed it to them at the end of the line,’ Freireich said. 

‘For the health and wellbeing of everyone, we strongly encourage hotel guests to wear their masks and we provide social cues inside the hotels about the importance of wearing masks. To best of my knowledge, guests have been very respectful and wearing masks while inside,’ he said. 

‘We require, but cannot enforce mask wearing among guests,’ Freireich added.

The San Joaquin Valley region, where the park is located, is under lockdown orders after ICU capacity fell below 15 per cent. 

Over the weekend the ICU capacity in the area dropped to zero. 

However, if the ICU capacity increases above 15 per cent, hotel accommodations and indoor dining could be reinstated. 

California as a whole has set new records for COVID-19 cases and deaths. 

California as a whole has set new records for COVID-19 cases and deaths and put a strain on hospitals and healthcare workers (pictured in Los Angeles)

California as a whole has set new records for COVID-19 cases and deaths and put a strain on hospitals and healthcare workers (pictured in Los Angeles)

California as a whole has set new records for COVID-19 cases and deaths and put a strain on hospitals and healthcare workers (pictured in Los Angeles) 

Hospitals administered the first Pfizer vaccines to health care workers (pictured on Wednesday) this week as a pair of state advisory committees started making potential life-and-death decisions over who is next in line for the scarce inoculations

Hospitals administered the first Pfizer vaccines to health care workers (pictured on Wednesday) this week as a pair of state advisory committees started making potential life-and-death decisions over who is next in line for the scarce inoculations

Hospitals administered the first Pfizer vaccines to health care workers (pictured on Wednesday) this week as a pair of state advisory committees started making potential life-and-death decisions over who is next in line for the scarce inoculations

Most California residents are under a stay-at-home order because of dwindling intensive care unit capacity where they live. 

Los Angeles County, home to 10 million people, has 2,500 ICU beds but within a month could easily need far more, said Dr Christina Ghaly, the county’s health services director.

‘Hospitals are under siege and our models show no end in sight,’ she said.

Southern California and the Central Valley — regions that together include 23 counties — had exhausted their regular supply of intensive care beds and many medical centers were tapping into their ‘surge’ capacity.

California is averaging more than 35,000 newly reported coronavirus cases a day. Health officials estimate 12 per cent of them — 4,200 — end up in hospitals. Records were set Wednesday, with 53,711 new cases and 293 deaths statewide.

The massive rise in infections began in October and is being blamed largely on people ignoring safety measures and socializing with others. 

More recently, health officials said they’ve seen cases stemming from gatherings during the Thanksgiving holiday and have pleaded with residents to avoid getting together with people from other households over Christmas and New Year’s. 

In Orange County, UCI Health is planning to add a 50-bed mobile field unit by Christmas.

On Wednesday, California announced the San Francisco Bay Area would join three of the state’s five regions already under a state-mandated stay-at-home order as ICU available beds dropped below 15 per cent. 

The regions of greater Sacramento, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California are already under Gov Gavin Newsom’s order, which closes businesses including hair and nail salons and movie theaters and severely limits retail operations.

The Northern California region, which includes Humboldt, Lake and Mendocino counties, is not affected for now.

Many of the Bay Area’s counties had already applied the order as a precaution and those that hadn’t must now do so on Thursday.

In Santa Clara County, which had already applied the shutdown rules, reported infections are topping 1,000 per day, compared with 300 in July, said Dr Marty Fenstersheib, the county’s testing director.

‘We’re not anywhere out of the woods yet,’ he said.

Barbara Ferrer, the public health director for Los Angeles County, the state’s most populous, said the transmission of the virus is rampant and noted two people are dying every hour in the county.

‘We’re experiencing an explosive and very deadly surge,’ Ferrer said. 

Hospitals administered the first Pfizer vaccines to health care workers this week as a pair of state advisory committees started making potential life-and-death decisions over who is next in line for the scarce inoculations. 

The committees are considering whether groups like teachers, farmworkers, grocery workers, ride-hailing drivers and news reporters should be among them.

Source: Daily Mail Royals

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