Over the last week, the impact of the COVID-19 virus has been felt more and more significantly around the world. The World Health Organization has now formally declared a pandemic and the virus threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of people.
At Hollyhock, we are heartbroken for the families around the world who have already lost loved ones to this virus. We are also deeply concerned for those who are at high risk for complications from the virus and those who are feeling anxious or fearful. The health, social, and economic costs of this pandemic are devastating.
Our team has been monitoring the outbreak for the past month. We have been in close communication with our colleagues across the world (the Holistic Centers Network, other retreat centres like Esalen, Kirpalu, Omega and other gathering convenors) and our neighbours on Cortes. On top of the mitigation strategies our team has been working on, we have decided to postpone the launch of our season from April 14th to May 15th. If you were registered for a program during this time, a member of our Guest Services team will be in touch with you this week.
This is not a decision that we took lightly. We understand the economic hardship this will cause for our staff, our presenters, and our island community. At the same time, we are trying to balance the economic costs with the public health risks that COVID-19 has created. Although the majority of our guests come from Canada (85%), we believe that it is important to work to “flatten the curve” of this virus and prioritize the health and safety of our community.
We will be making decisions about our season and programs on a rolling, one month forecast, based on the best available data, as this global crisis continues to unfold. We continue to rely on the guidance of the WHO, BC Centre for Disease Control, and Health Canada. Our goal is to make decisions at least 30 days in advance. On April 15, we will have an update about our season.
Thank you for your generosity and support through this time. It feels more important than ever to approach this moment with love, transparency, and resilience – some of the very traits we aim to foster through Hollyhock’s programming.
– Peter Wrinch, CEO and Mike Rowlands, Board Chair