Magnolia Tree

COVID-19 Response

Updated on June 30th

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.

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.

While most of our in-person programs are cancelled, we recognize that some people will be seeking peaceful respite on the land and in nature at this time. This is why we are also doing a very limited opening of our Cortes Island campus for staycations.

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


COVID-19 Updates & Musings


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

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

Beloved Hollyhock presenter Thomas Atum O’Kane spoke about the need to practice grace as we live through these times. Fortunately, despite the grief for what “might have been” of our season at Hollyhock and the employment loss for many of our friends and team members, 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. Read More.

Leadership in These Times

The pace of change through this pandemic is startling. The hardest part of our work right now is to hold the truth of the uncertainty for ourselves and our greater community. This is the greatest leadership challenge in my lifetime.  Read More.

Discovering the Capacity for Resilience

The deep and multi-layered grief surrounding the immensity of systemic racism, climate change, and the pandemic can be crippling. Yet there is meaningful opportunity in this time. Can we challenge ourselves to embrace the discomfort long enough for real change to arise? Read More.

Season Opening

We are doing a limited opening on July 5th. 

The majority of our programs will be cancelled, held as virtual gatherings, or rescheduled to 2021. Please check each individual program page for details. If you are registered you will get an e-mail with your options for moving forward, including keeping your credit with us, requesting a full refund, or donating your deposit to support us through this time.

We have heard that some people may be still interested in visiting Hollyhock this year to get some tranquil respite in nature. This is why we will do a small opening of our campus for “staycations,” so you can connect with the land and beauty of Cortes Island at Hollyhock. This will include tent sites, a few limited accommodations with kitchens, contactless take-out dinners 3 days a week, our retail store, and some bodywork with health and safety protocols in place. The hot tubs and lodge will remained closed, but the garden is open and abundant. We hope you will be able to join and take a breath in the peace and quiet of our island home with us. A minimum of four nights is required, see here for details.

Safety on Campus 

We have enhanced safety measures based on the latest available data on the COVID-19 virus. Here are some of the measures we are taking:
  • Appointed a Health & Safety Representative as a part-time paid position for our 2020 season
  • Safety acknowledgements for staff and guests to ensure no one visits the campus with symptoms of illness and everyone adheres to physical distancing and hand hygiene protocols
  • Daily sanitation of all frequent touch areas including gates, handles, light switches, fence posts, tables, and countertops using cleaners approved by Health Canada.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer provided throughout all campus areas where hand washing is not accessible
  • BCCDC hygiene tips posted in all bathrooms, offering advice on hand washing and other ways to stay safe
  • Distanced decals and posters promoting physical distancing
  • PPE education for all staff
  • Contactless take out meals provided with BCCDC food service guidelines followed
  • Each person coming to Hollyhock on our remote Cortes Island is navigating unique concerns. If folks are at high risk or are concerned that they may be sick, they are supported in staying home.

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:

If you are registered for a program that is postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19, 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.  This will allow us to use these funds to offset the costs incurred by the impact of COVID-19. Deciding to hold a credit now does not preclude you from asking for a full refund later on.

If you have a booking for a program that we are still running, 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

Facts about COVID-19  

British Columbia is 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.

Physical 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.

Additional resources: