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COVID-19: Hotel Zed Tofino offers free rooms to local First Nations and frontline workers to self-isolate

“It’s about being good neighbours.”
Hotel Zed Tofino is offering free rooms to First Nations members and frontline workers wanting to self-isolate due to COVID-19. (Westerly file photo)

Hotel Zed Tofino is offering free rooms to local First Nations members and frontline workers wanting to self-isolate due to COVID-19.

Marketing and communications manager Nikisa Dastmalchian told the Westerly News that the hotel is not accepting non-essential travellers as per provincial health orders, but remains open to tradespeople working on the second phase of the hotel, including the construction of a restaurant and additional rooms.

“We do have a lot of tradespeople staying with us as they work on our hotel and we realized that puts us in a bit of a unique position, some of the other hotels in the area have had to close because of the restrictions,” Dastmalchian said. “We are open, we are keeping a lot of our staff employed and safe and, in talking to some of our friends in the community, we realized there was a need and a bit of a fear around First Nations Elders and frontline workers in general right now. We decided that, because we’re open and we have rooms available, we could be a solution in the community.”

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She said discussions around making rooms available began due to concerns around Elders in the neighbouring Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations communities and the initiative grew to include Tofino’s frontline workers as well.

“We’ve reached out to Healthcare workers and Co-op employees for example and we’ve said, ‘If you’re worried about going to work and dealing with the public and then coming home to your family and putting your family at risk, let us know. We’ve got rooms available and you can come stay with us for free right now,’” Dastmalchian said. “We really care about our community and it’s important to us to be good neighbours and good members of our community, so that’s what this is about. It’s about being good neighbours. We’re in a position to be able to do the right thing, so we can…Hotel Zed can step in and we can be a safe place for them to isolate.”

She added that the hotel has strict procedures and protocols in place to ensure the safety of its guests and staff, including the use of electrostatic defoggers in each room immediately after a guest checks out before a room is cleaned and then again after it is cleaned.

“It’s a low touch method, but it’s extremely effective at disinfecting all surfaces in a room,” she said.

The hotel is not receiving funding from Island Health to provide rooms for free and there is no timeline for how long the opportunity will be available.

“We will follow the need. The order has been extended now until the first week of January, so that’s what we’re looking at,” she said. “We’ve looked in the crystal ball in the ‘Psychic’s Den’ and we’re not quite sure how long things are going to last or shake out for, so we’ll just follow the need in the community.”

She added no one was self-isolating at the hotel as of Dec. 8.

“No one’s taking us up on the offer yet, which is great news,” she said. “If people don’t feel like they need it, that’s wonderful news, but the offer’s on the table if you do need it.”

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Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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