Hotel Zed offers local First Nations a safe place to isolate

Tofino, BC

As B.C.’s top doctor urges British Columbians to avoid all non-essential travel, many hotels and resorts in Tofino have closed their doors to leisure visitors.

Hotel Zed is among them. But as the newly established hotel continues construction, it has remained open to accommodate the tradesmen building its restaurant. Sitting otherwise empty, general manager and Tofino councillor Britt Chalmers said that they wanted “to do something to help out the community.”

By offering its rooms to members from Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht who need a safe place to isolate at no cost, Chalmers said that she hopes it can alleviate some of the pressure local communities are undergoing.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced today that an additional 2,020 people have been infected with COVID-19 in B.C. over the last three days, bringing the total amount of people who have been diagnosed with the virus to 38,152.

There are currently 9,380 active cases in the province, with 12 reported cases in Ahousaht.

While Henry said that the restrictive measures introduced two weeks ago are starting to work, “all around us, in every community, the virus continues to circulate,” she said.

Tla-o-qui-aht Emergency Operations Centre chair, Elmer Frank, said that Hotel Zed’s offer is a big help.

With multiple generations living together, the ability to separate families to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 is “certainly a benefit,” he said.

The hotel, which participates in the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation’s Tribal Parks Allies Program, has a touchless check-in system that allows guests to maintain distance. After a guest checks out, a disinfectant fog is sprayed and left to settle before any staff are authorized to enter the room.

Chalmers said that no one has taken Hotel Zed up on its offer as of yet and hopes that no one needs to.

“If [they] don’t need to, it means that things are going well,” she said. “But we’re available if it reaches that point.”

Working with Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Best Western Tin Wis is offering around six rooms at a 20 per cent discounted rate, said general manager Jared Deaton, which are being paid for by Island Health. The hotel’s agreement was made to assist local residents who need to isolate.  

Solely in charge of making bookings, Deaton said the rooms are being monitored and managed through Island Health staff.

With the death toll surpassing 500, Henry announced today that B.C.’s social restrictions are extending through Christmas and New Year’s to Jan. 8, 2021.

Chalmers said that Hotel Zed wants to be available to First Nations elders, or essential services workers during this “difficult” time.

“We are quite remote from the rest of the island,” she said. “I think this town always has supported each other and the more we can do for each other, the better.”

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