Today Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc., announced the selection of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) as its official wellness advisor during the company’s phased reopening of its businesses. VUMC will provide support to the Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc., as it implements operating procedures, plans and training materials as part of a multi-phase health safety operations strategy for its entertainment assets and its Gaylord Hotels network.
"We could have our security people [checking temperatures], but I think it sends a strong signal that we’re really serious about it when we have one of the nation’s leading hospitals doing this for us," Chairman and CEO Colin Reed told the Nashville Business Journal in a May 22 article.
Ryman Hospitality Properties will consult with VUMC and local health officials as it moves between phases. A panel of VUMC clinical subject matter experts specializing in infectious disease control will provide counsel for on-site preparations and advise on the development of training and educational materials for employees. The panel will also oversee re-opening activities and a review of safety standards similar to the model VUMC is implementing in its own hospitals and clinics today.
“In the early stages of this crisis, we sought the advice of local health experts as we made proactive decisions to temporarily suspend operations at most of our businesses,” Reed said. “Safety continues to be our top priority as we prepare to reopen our assets, and that is why we have elected to formalize our partnership with Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
"We want to make certain our teams have direct access to the nation’s foremost experts on infectious disease control so our stakeholders can feel confident that our approach to health and safety is best-in-class during this rapidly evolving situation," he continued.
In addition to the subject matter expert panel, VUMC and Ryman will establish a joint steering committee made up of VUMC’s senior administrative and clinical leaders and the Ryman’s key executives and leaders. The committee will oversee the collaboration and recommend modifications to policies, procedures and protocols affecting employee and guest safety based on the latest available research.
“Ryman Hospitality Properties is one of the most well-regarded and innovative brands in the hospitality and entertainment industry," said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “This agreement, which allows our experts to work alongside their teams to incorporate best practices in infection prevention from the healthcare industry into Ryman’s daily operations, demonstrates their commitment to the safety and well-being of their employees and clientele. We believe this relationship will set the standard for wellness initiatives among our industries as we adopt new ways to support business in the COVID-19 era.”
Ryman Hospitality Properties began a phased reopening of its entertainment assets in mid-May and expects to reopen its Gaylord Hotels assets in stages beginning in mid-to-late June.
"As we begin our phased approach to reopening, we believe this relationship with VUMC will provide an added layer to our already stringent standards that will allow us the flexibility to tailor our plans to meet the unique needs of each of our businesses during this time,” Reed said. “We are examining every step of our guest and employee experience to ensure we have the proper protocols in place as guests return to our businesses.”