Oak Bay Beach Hotel executive chef Kreg Graham with a box of groceries. The hotel is now delivering meals and groceries through their online shop, a temporary program to support the community and retain staff during the COVID-19 crisis. (Anneke Feuermann photo)

Oak Bay Beach Hotel now delivers groceries, meals

Checking in with Oak Bay’s only hotel and guest house

The impact of the novel coronavirus and subsequent shutdown on Victoria’s tourism industry has reached Oak Bay as the landmark Oak Bay Beach Hotel and nearby Oak Bay Guest House bed-and-breakfast have cut most services.

To adjust, both businesses are still accepting guests though the hotel is not taking reservations and stays at the Guest House are self check-in and without breakfast.

This week the Oak Bay Beach Hotel launched a home delivery service of meals and groceries to support staying-in-place.

“We looked at our resources and realized that this is something we could offer which could make a difference and allow us to stay connected to the community until the time comes where we can welcome everyone back,” said Madone Pelan, the hotel’s recently promoted general manager.

READ MORE: Woman comes home to entirely different Victoria after cruise ship, military base quarantine

The hotel had already made a number of concessions such as closing the spa and seaside pools, The Snug Pub and The Dining Room restaurant, and isn’t booking guests until at least May 1, though that date is flexible pending the ongoing pandemic.

Guests who were already booked can check in as long as they are not exhibiting symptoms of illness (fever, trouble breathing, coughing, sore throat, fatigue) and have not traveled outside the country or were in the exposure of someone who has, within the last 14 days (prospective visitors check the oakbaybeachhotel.com website for daily updates).

Likewise, Duncan Murphy of the Oak Bay Guest House, said they are doing their best to stay open and may look at some innovative options should the shutdown period continue.

Instead of ramping up for travel season they are staring at a down season, Murphy said.

“Normally we would be at 50 to 60 per cent capacity at this time but there are very few bookings,” Murphy said. “We moved quickly through various stages of self check in and to self-help breakfast to no breakfasts,” Murphy said. “If it was November it wouldn’t be critical but it’s the beginning of tourist season.

“The bookings are disappearing from the calendar the closer we get,” Murphy added.

If needed, the owner says they are looking at other options, such as making the building available to health professionals who need a safe place to stay between shifts, and away from partners and family. However, that would require dedicating the entire building and closing it to the public which is difficult as just two of the units have kitchenettes.

“On the positive side, I think it will turn around again, eventually,” Murphy said. “Oak Bay has an advantage because it’s not downtown, there is space here.”

For those interested in the Oak Bay Beach Hotel’s delivery service, it is run through their online shop or by phone, and offers prepared food, fresh grocery items, dry goods and beverages.

READ ALSO: Hospitality workers hit first and hit hardest, says union seeking more support

“The Oak Bay Beach Hotel has been at the heart of this community and a place of gathering for over 90 years, so it has been especially difficult to know that so many of our neighbors have voiced their challenges accessing grocery delivery,” Pelan said. “We are encouraging everyone to be safe, stay home and practice social distancing as much as possible, therefore we knew we had to find another way to continue to support and serve our community during this time of need.”

Customers can order through shop.oakbaybeachhotel.com or call 1-250-598-4556. Orders made before 4 p.m. will be delivered next day between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The hotel is currently delivering to Oak Bay and nearby neighbourhoods of Uplands, Oaklands, Fernwood, James Bay, downtown Victoria, Fairfield and Rockland.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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