Hollyhock Garden Tree Spring

COVID-19: What you need to know

Updated on May 19th

Hollyhock is working to implement a safe, proactive, and appropriately scaled response to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Keeping our guests, presenters, island community, and team members safe is our top priority. Our team is monitoring the outbreak and will be providing regular updates on this page.

The World Health Organization formally declared a pandemic on March 11th as the impact of COVID-19 was felt significantly around the world. In mid May, the provincial government of British Columbia declared that gatherings will be restricted to 50 people or less until a vaccine has been found. 

We are deeply aware that the repercussions of social isolation and disruption will be felt long after the pandemic is over, and are doing our best to stay strong through this so that we may be of service to our communities. We are currently offering virtual gatherings and we are reimagining what Hollyhock must become in order to continue supporting a deep connection with ourselves, each other, and the natural world. You can support us in this work here.

As we all navigate the complexity of this time, we offer friendship, open hearts, and clean hands towards collective resiliency. We are in this together. 


COVID-19 Updates & Musings

Purple Onion Flowers

The Path We Choose in Uncertain Times

“Relax, everything is out of control” – Dr. Gabor Mate shared these words, quoting a Buddhist teacher, in a recent interview. As the world reacts to the novel coronavirus outbreak, it is becoming clear that the social and economic aftershocks will be vast. The road ahead will not be easy. But perhaps we are being called to something deeper. Read more.

Optimism, Generosity, Community

A month ago, we were gearing up for our 2020 season, using the tag line “Make 2020 Your Year.” Now, we have laid off 85% of our staff and postponed our opening day until June 7th. This is not the year we thought it would be. Despite the challenges, we are striving to show up in our values. Where there is pessimism and despair, we choose optimism; where there is hoarding and scarcity, we choose generosity; where there is social isolation and disconnection, we choose community. Read More.

Practice in Grace

A couple weeks ago, I tuned in to listen to a conversation with beloved Hollyhock presenter Thomas Atum O’Kane. Among the many poignant insights he shared, Atum spoke about the need to practice grace as we live through these times. I’ll be honest, it’s been challenging for me.  Fortunately, despite the grief for what “might have been” of our season at Hollyhock, the employment loss for many of our friends and team members, and the resulting reshuffling of roles on our remaining team, there are others around me who have stepped forward and who are showing me what it means to lead with grace. Read More.

Keeping the Garden Gates Open

Hollyhock may be closed for at least another month, but our garden is staying open! We are keeping the food production in our garden growing strong so we can feed our staff affected with unemployment and our community members who do not have the means. We’ll also be sharing regular gardens tips over the coming months to get out of your home and into the dirt. Read More.

Season Launch Dates

We will be postponing the launch of our season from April 14th to June 29th. 

Programs during this time may be held as virtual gatherings, rescheduled to another date in 2020, or postponed until 2021. Thank you for your patience while we work out the details with each program presenter. You will have the option of keeping your credit with us or requesting a full refund.

We will be making decisions about our season and programs on a rolling, one month forecast, based on the best available data with guidance of the WHO, BC Centre for Disease Control, and Health Canada. Our goal is to make decisions at least 30 days in advance.

Safety on Campus 

We are enhancing our safety measures weekly based on the latest available on the virus. Here are some of the measures we are taking:

  • Daily sanitation of doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly-touched surfaces, and moving from green cleaners to more powerful anti-viral cleaners, including alcohol and bleach, for the immediate future.
  • Providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer at the front of the buffet line and encouraging all people to sanitize before serving food. Sneeze guards will also be installed to protect the food. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also offered at the welcome table, in the staff office, and by the hosts in the lodge.
  • Posting BCCDC hygiene tips in all bathrooms, offering advice on hand washing and other ways to stay safe. 
  • Each person coming to Hollyhock is navigating unique concerns. We are working with our program presenters to make sure that if folks are at high risk or are concerned that they may be sick, they feel supported in staying home.  
  • For our Vancouver programs, we will work with our venue partners to provide safe & clean spaces to gather, including providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer to all participants.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

We understand that many people are concerned about their physical, emotional, and financial well-being during this time, and that every person’s situation will be unique. We have made some changes to our cancellation policy and will review it every 2 weeks or as needed, making adjustments as the situation evolves.

  • If you are registered for a program that is postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19 (currently all registrations before June 29th), we are happy to provide you with a full refund. Your business is really important to us, especially in this moment of uncertainty. If you are willing and able to turn your reservation into a credit that can be used for any of our services anytime in the next two years, we would be very grateful for your support. Deciding to hold a credit now does not preclude you from asking for a full refund later on.
  • If you have a booking before July 15th, and any of the following applies to you, we will provide a full refund:
    • Currently feeling ill
    • Are an at-risk population (older adult; have a medical condition such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, a chronic respiratory disease, cancer; or have a compromised immune system from a medical treatment such as chemotherapy)
    • Have had your travel or accommodations plans cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak

For all other bookings: The COVID-19 crisis is unfolding day-by-day and thus it is challenging to make accurate predictions of what will happen in future months. If you are willing and financially able to stick through this with us, we hope that you will keep your registration until we have more information for programs after June 29th. This will allow us to use these funds to offset the costs incurred by the impact of COVID-19. If your ability to wait is affected by other extenuating circumstances, such as immediate financial need, please reach out to us at [email protected] 

Facts about COVID-19  

British Columbia is currently in a state of emergency to support access to essential good and services. The BC Government announced in early May that social distancing restrictions will be slowly eased to allow for small gatherings of 2-6 people and the reopening of certain spaces. Learn more here.

You can help stop COVID-19 by knowing the signs and symptoms. 

The symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. This self-assessment tool, developed with the BC Ministry of Health, will help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19: https://covid19.thrive.health/

The BC Ministry of Health strongly urges anyone who has symptoms – including a fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat, or difficulty breathing – to self-isolate for 14 days. To protect yourself while out in public, wash your hands frequently and maintain a distance of about 2 metres from others. For more information on COVID-19, refer to HealthLink BC’s COVID-19 website.

There are simple things you can do to help keep yourself and others healthy.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Social distancing – keeping physical distance from others – has proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak. Minimize close contact with others by avoiding common greetings, such as handshakes; avoiding crowded places; limiting contact with people at higher risk like older adults and those in poor health; and keeping a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from others as much as possible.

For up-to-date information, visit Health Canada’s coronavirus disease resource page: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

Additional facts about COVID-19: 

  • Elders and people with existing health concerns are at the greatest risk from COVID-19. We must ensure that our collective response includes care for the most vulnerable members of our community. 
  • Asians and people of Asian descent have been targeted in xenophobic attacks as a result of widespread fear and misinformation about this virus, which originated in Wuhan, China but which attacks people of all races and nationalities without discrimination. A healthy response to COVID-19 must include caring for all community members and dispelling myths that perpetuate racism. 
  • There are multiple reasons someone may cough, sneeze, or choose to wear a mask—including seasonal allergies and non-contagious health concerns.
  • Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 appears to occur mainly by respiratory transmission. Good hygiene practices can help prevent transmission.  
  • There are increased health risks for Canadian travellers abroad. Because of these risks, the Government of Canada advises Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. It is important for all travellers to self-isolate for 14 days after your return from travel outside of Canada, monitor your health for fever, cough or difficulty breathing, and wash your hands often for 20 seconds and cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing.

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