Deitre and Paphada Gerhard, owners of the Birds of a Feather Victoria Ocean Lagoon B&B, are offering free stays to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Birds of a Feather Victoria Ocean Lagoon B&B)

Deitre and Paphada Gerhard, owners of the Birds of a Feather Victoria Ocean Lagoon B&B, are offering free stays to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Birds of a Feather Victoria Ocean Lagoon B&B)

COVID-19: West Shore B&B offers free suites to frontline workers needing to self-isolate, destress

‘This is just the right thing to do,’ co-owner says

A bed and breakfast on the West Shore is offering free stays for healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deitre Gerhard and his wife, Paphada, own the Birds of a Feather Victoria Ocean Lagoon B&B located in Colwood. On March 23, the couple said goodbye to their final regular guests who were heading home due to the pandemic situation.

READ ALSO: Accent Inns, United Way team up to cover hotel costs for Greater Victoria essential service workers

The Gerhards were inspired by the acts of kindness in the community and, as they had already begun getting requests from people looking for space to self-isolate, decided to offer their suites free of charge to health care workers.

Birds of a Feather opened in 1997 but was rebuilt in 2006, Gerhard said. He and his wife live on the main floor and offer the three self-contained upstairs suites to vacationers. Each suite has a kitchen and a private entrance with wifi, parking and utilities included. Breakfast service, however, has been cancelled until further notice.

The Gerhards normally rent the suites for up to $245 per night but decided to make them available for free for frontline workers needing a space to relax or to self-isolate during the pandemic.

READ ALSO: ‘This is no joke’: B.C. woman in Alberta hospital asks people to stay home during COVID-19

“This is not the time to worry about making money,” Gerhard said. “This is just the right thing to do.”

After posting on Facebook about the free suites, he said, they received several offers from people hoping to sponsor the guests and pay for their rooms. Gerhard turned them down because even with the added utility costs from the guests, having people stay for free “won’t break the bank” for them. He asked the kindhearted sponsors to redirect their funds to hotels hosting frontline workers and homeless folks during the health crisis.

Currently, two nurses and one police officer are staying at the bed and breakfast, Gerhard said. They received nearly 50 applications but chose to offer the suites to those most in need – one of the nurses, for example, was staying in their car to avoid infecting their family. Hearing people’s stories made Gerhard and Paphada glad they’d offered the free suites when they did.

READ ALSO: Victoria car dealership helps fill shelves at the Mustard Seed Food Bank

Guests will be booked on a weekly basis and can renew their stay unless an applicant with a more dire situation comes forward, Gerhard said. There is a one occupant per suite limit and no visitors are permitted. Guests must also agree to practice social distancing on the property, sanitize public surfaces and let the hosts know if they become ill. Gerhard emphasized that guests won’t be kicked out if they get COVID-19 but that they’ll take extra precautions to protect everyone else on the property if the situation arises.

Gerhard is hopeful that others who see what he and his wife are doing will be inspired to lend a hand in any way they can.

Any frontline workers interested in requesting a stay can email victoria@birdsofafeather.ca with an explanation of their circumstances, proof of employment and photo ID. The Gerhards will choose new guests from the applicant pool when suites become available.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

ColwoodCoronavirusesquimalt lagoon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A report by investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond found “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in a report released Monday.
Peninsula hospital one where ‘significant work underway’

Investigation finds ‘widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people’ in provincial health care

Victoria police issued tickets to two Victoria party hosts Saturday night, according to VicPD Chief Del Manak. (Unsplash)
Victoria partiers hid in closets, bedrooms in an attempt to avoid fines

Police gave out COVID-19 tickets to two separate parties

(Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Second driver facing impaired charges after View Royal traffic stop leads to loaded firearms

West Shore RCMP stop swerving motorist and Saanich woman who came to pick her up

Sig
Highway 14 down to one-lane near Jordan River

Traffic on Highway 14, six kilometres east of Jordan River, is reduced… Continue reading

Classes are cancelled at Royal Bay Secondary School and other schools Nov. 30 due to power outages. (Black Press Media file photo)
Classes cancelled across the West Shore, Sooke due to power outages

Students can be picked up but facilities remain open

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Fatty Legs co-author responds to Abbotsford class assignment on residential schools

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Harbour seals rest on log booms at Flavelle Mill in Port Hardy. With recent announcements the mill will be getting rid of the log booms, Dr. David Rosen sees an opportunity to study how the disappearance of this highly-frequented refuge for the seals will alter their behaviour in Burrard Inlet. (Photo supplied by David Rosen)
What the heck is going on with marine mamals in Vancouver waterways?

UBC researcher asks why they’re returning, and what role we’re playing

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Most Read