When life throws you a pandemic…

Things get weird.

Your entire perspective on your personal and professional life changes. Plan B’s, C’s, and L,M,N,O,P’s…quickly get put into place. And it’s both exhausting and energizing all at the same time (if that’s even possible?).

After reflecting on the past two weeks, I decided to put fingers to keyboard in the hope that I could provide some quick answers, share some crazy, but cool, operational happenings, and maybe kick start a conversation about the future.

YES! Our doors are open

We’re battling the impact of this virus with all we’ve got. We remain open and are ready and excited to welcome guests.

However, like other local businesses, we have had to lay off some of our dedicated team members in response to the economic impact of COVID-19. I can’t describe the emotional toll this has had – first and foremost on these team members and their families. In turn, this has also been very difficult for the family that is ‘Team Parkside’. For us, it’s not  just the seasonal holiday party that brings #teamparkside together. We have fun when we’re rolling up our sleeves to clean up our community or just getting together for a night of volleyball. And let’s not forget the true synchronicity of our staff, as witnessed in our Reservation Team’s award-winning office chair dance performance. Our hope is that we’ll be able to bring our team back to full strength as soon as possible.

We’re trying to care for our community as much as we can

Our efforts to give back are limited as we deal with the financial and practical realities of adapting to the to the ever-changing health and safety mandates issued daily at municipal, provincial, and federal levels. 

Right now we are able to offer a Community Rate of $70 / Night + Taxes to all Essential Services Workers, and individuals and families seeking alternate accommodations in British Columbia.

We hope we can provide a calm, comfortable space to stay for those who may not want or are unable, due to the location, duties, and requirements of their job or changes in their current accommodations, to return to their families or shared residences.

Self-isolation IS possible at The Parkside.

Staying open has meant massive change

In the past two weeks we’ve: 

  • Temporarily closed facilities including; The Parkside Spa, meeting and event spaces, the pool, hot tub, and fitness centre
  • Temporarily halted all banquet and in-room dining services
  • Limited daily services (now provided periodically as required)
  • Moved almost all guests into our Tower B 
  • Turned off electricity and heat to 4 floors of our Tower A 
  • Postponed or rescheduled almost all our events and group bookings
  • Altered entrance and exit routes into and out of the hotel 

It hasn’t been pretty. But we’ve adjusted and we continue to move forward to provide the home-like comfort our returning guests expect of us, and to ensure new visitors can settle in with ease for their first stay with us.

What you need to know as our guest right now

In addition to the large number of new requirements and responsibilities for our team, there are new guest expectations to be reviewed before coming to stay with us. We created a full outline of guest expectations and, like many other organizations, we’ve outlined what we are currently doing from an operational standpoint in response to COVID-19.

For guests looking to self-isolate

Guests are expected to comply with all federal and provincial public health leader recommendations. This includes self-isolation for 14 days for all travelers from outside of Canada. Complying with these recommendations is critical to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

Upon arrival to Canada:

  • Self-isolate for 14 days after your return from travel outside of Canada. Some provinces and territories may have specific recommendations for certain groups such as health care workers
  • Monitor your health for fever, cough or difficulty breathing
  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds and cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing

If you develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days:

  • Continue to isolate yourself from others

Immediately call a health care professional by dialing 811 and: 

  • Describe your symptoms and travel history
  • Follow their instructions carefully

Social distancing:

  • All guests must practice social distancing during their stay and remain 6 feet (2m) from others

Guest Services

For guests in self-isolation, we are unable to enter the room to provide cleaning or other services. Dirty linens or garbage are to be put in the hallway, and our Guest Services team will be retrieving them on a regular basis. Additional items or requests can be provided on a case-by-case basis by contacting Guest Services (250.940.1200).

Our dedicated partner Truffles Catering has created a full menu of options for Ready Made Meals available for delivery. 

So, When will this be over? To be honest, never

The line between our pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 worlds is being drawn. Accepting that our lives will likely never be quite the same is our next challenge.

How we learn, consume, move, and connect with each other has already shifted, and we can’t continue with the notion of ‘resuming’ a life that was. Being prepared to be changed will be our project in the months and years to come. 

I am hopeful Team Parkside can at some point offer solutions to the challenges that lie ahead for hotels, travelers, and the tourism sector, but we have only just begun writing that new playbook. 

I aim to work with others to create the most positive ways forward through this “pandemic pause” and I urge our team members, community partners, industry professionals and associations to make the same commitment to collaboration.

Please add your comments below or feel free to connect with me directly to collaborate on hotel operations, ways to support Victoria, or just to chat about the road ahead. 

And if this wasn’t TL;DR – thanks for taking the time to give this a read!

Trina White, General Manager
The Parkside Hotel & Spa