Tofino Resort and Marina has temporarily shut its doors after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19.
“They are doing well and we wish them a speedy recovery,” wrote the resort’s marketing manager Kristina Lee in an email to the Westerly News.
Lee said the resort is working closely with Island Health and contact tracing is underway.
“Our voluntary closure of the resort and restaurant will help us further develop and implement stringent protocols and guidelines that exceed the public health order requirements, ensuring that when we reopen, we can do so with complete confidence in our safety measures. The health and well being of our staff, our guests and our community remain our first priority,” she wrote.
Prior to the confirmed COVID-19 cases, the resort had apologized for its role in Tofino residents accessing Hesquiaht First Nation territory, which is closed to visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lee explained that on Feb. 14, a vessel that had been rented from the resort was used to deliver campers from Tofino to Hesquiaht territory.
“We do not condone this trip and had we been made aware of the trip details we would not have permitted the vessel to leave our docks,” she wrote.
The resort has sent a written apology to the Hesquiaht First Nation.
“We are privileged to live and work on the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, we have always been committed to forging strong and deeply respectful relationships with our region’s indigenous communities and with our surroundings. We very much regret the intrusion onto territory that has been declared closed to visitors due to the pandemic,” Lee wrote.
She added that new protocols have been put in place to prevent the resort from inadvertently facilitating access to closed First Nations territories.
“As a result of this incident, we have taken extra measures and precautions to further / better educate and equip our adventure team moving forward, to convey the essential compliance with First Nations orders and boundaries to our guests. There will be consequences for those who do not adhere,” she wrote. “We fully support and respect our ongoing work with the First Nations, which includes being vigilant and an ally in ensuring the protection of the health and safety of all communities in Tofino.”
The resort plans to reopen on March 8 with strict protocols in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We remain vigilant and thorough with our staff training. Our teams are closely monitored and will continue to operate within the requirements of the BC Public health order and to exceed these requirements on many levels,” Lee wrote. “A professional cleaning service is brought in nightly to ensure the entire space is disinfected in a manner in line with CDC recommendations.”