1. We’re exceeding the BC Ministry of Health’s stated requirements for sanitation and social distancing in hotels.
Needless to say, hand sanitizer is available throughout the property, and all guests are actively encouraged to use it. Locations include the front desk, The Living Room, The Rooftop Patio, every suite, and of course in all our back-of-house areas.
There are also floor markers and, where appropriate, one-way traffic paths in order to keep guests and staff at a safe and comfortable distance from each other. The seating plan in The Living Room, our on-site cafe/bar, has also been rearranged to keep guests (or private groups of guests) at a minimum 2-metre (6-foot) distance. You can read more about the steps we’re taking in our cafe and bar here.
2. We’re taking temperature tests in order to prevent access to guests/staff who may have virus symptoms.
Yes, you read that correctly. We’re testing every guest on arrival, and anyone with a temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or greater will – with great regret (but with the knowledge that it’s ultimately necessary to minimise the risk to other guests) – be refused access to the hotel.
Turning away individuals is something we never imagined having to do. But rather than seeing us as simply being ‘mean’, we hope you’ll view this as a sign of how determined we are to protect and reassure all our guests.
And in case you were wondering about our staff, they too are being temperature checked before commencing every shift.
3. We’re leaving our pods empty for 72 hours after they are vacated whenever possible.
That’s right. Despite the obvious costs to our business of implementing such a measure, we’re effectively quarantining our pods for three full days after occupants leave them. This is because 72 hours is widely considered the maximum amount of time a virus can live on any surface (see study from the New England Journal of Medicine, widely considered to be the world’s leading medical journal). After the 72 hours have elapsed, the pod will be thoroughly cleaned/disinfected for good measure.
And on that subject, one of the advantages we have over traditional hotels – particularly in the post-COVID era – is that we’re able to clean and disinfect literally every square inch of our pods, which is unlikely, if not impossible, in a hotel room.
4. We’re limiting pod and suite occupancy to keep guests distanced.
Pangea’s pods are arranged into suites, with each suite housing between 6 and 18 pods. These suites have their own internal bathrooms (read more about our unique bathroom configuration here), which are only accessible to the guests staying in them.
Although by design our pods tend to keep people ‘socially distant’, we’re limiting suite occupancy in order to extend this distance, to reduce the number of people using the bathrooms, and to ensure social distancing measures can be maintained in common areas of the hotel. This also means we can clean pods, suites, showers, washrooms and common areas more often.
5. We’re increasing cleaning frequency and intensity.
Even before the onset of COVID-19, we used hospital-grade cleaning materials to clean and disinfect all pods and common areas. We’ve since increased the frequency of our cleaning of common spaces and bathrooms, while also paying extra special attention to high touch areas such as light switches, door handles and handrails. Menus, tabletops and chairs in our cafe are being cleaned with disinfectant after each use, as are our check-in kiosks.
To deal with this additional workload, and to protect our housekeeping team, we’re asking all of our guests to vacate their suites from 1 – 4 PM daily (Whistler has plenty enough to keep you entertained for three hours… and much longer!).
The same increased frequency and intensity of cleaning is taking place in back-of-house areas, including the kitchen and bar.
6. We’re eliminating physical contact between guests and staff wherever possible.
We recognize the potential for staff-to-guest transmission and vice versa, which is why we’re taking steps to eliminate all physical contact. So if our staff members don’t assist you with your luggage, or refuse to take cash and insist on card/contactless payment (for obvious reasons), please don’t be offended, complain to a manager or leave us a bad review (we know you wouldn’t, but we have to put it out there) – our team are simply trying to keep you safe.
Our staff are also wearing face masks and will be serving you wherever possible from behind plexiglass screens as a purely precautionary measure — not because they are unwell (if they were, they wouldn’t be at work). Staff, like guests, are using hand sanitizer at every opportunity.
It’s worth noting that, even under normal circumstances, Pangea is a relatively ‘contactless’ hotel – this is because we utilise a range of contact-limiting technologies, such as self check-in kiosks, electronic wristband key-cards (which also double as a payment method), and an in-house guest-messaging platform that removes the need for you to ever wait in line to ask a question at reception.
7. We’re investing (heavily) in technologies to improve airflow.
We don’t just mean spending a little extra on a special kind of disinfectant (although we’re doing that too!). We’re investing literally thousands of dollars into airflow machinery that breaks down molecules — including viruses — with ultraviolet (UV) light. This is despite Pangea being one of the airiest properties in Whistler. To complement this, our windows will remain open as much as possible throughout the hotel to ensure a constant supply of fresh, mountain air.
8. We’re asking our guests and staff to be vigilant at all times.
While most of the measures we’re taking to protect Pangea People are within our power to enact, we’ll of course be asking our hotel guests to self-monitor their own health, abide by social distancing rules, and respect their fellow guests. We’re doing this using various forms of communication, including SMS messages directly to your phone and large, conspicuous signage throughout the hotel.
This also means that if you feel uncomfortable by the actions of another guest (specifically the disregard of measures designed to keep everyone safe), we want you to feel confident in respectfully asking them to stop what they are doing, because we’ll most certainly have your back. We’re sure it won’t come to that, but it’s reassuring to know we’ll absolutely enforce the rules.
9. We’re taking immediate action if a guest becomes unwell during their stay.
It remains very unlikely that guests will become unwell during their stay at Pangea – especially given that we’ll be checking temperatures on arrival and refusing access to those with fever-like symptoms (see point 2, above). However, it’s good to know we have the procedures and protocols in place should this happen.
If a guest shows symptoms of having a fever – any kind of fever – all other guests occupying the suite will be relocated to another one (we’ll have several empty suites on standby). The symptomatic guest will then be asked to remain in the original suite until arrangements can be made for their departure from the hotel. Once the guest has departed the suite will be quarantined for 72 hours and thoroughly disinfected.
10. We’re actively monitoring the latest updates with regards to COVID-19, and will take appropriate additional steps to protect our guests should they be required.
We said in point 1 that we’re adhering to the BC Ministry of Health’s requirements for sanitation and social distancing in hotels in the light of COVID-19. It goes without saying that we’re also actively monitoring this advice (as well as the global, national and local situation in general), and we’ll respond quickly to any changes as they happen.
We want you to feel reassured that this health crisis is not something we take lightly, and that we’re taking every possible step we can to protect your health and wellbeing during your stay at Pangea.