Good afternoon hospitality community.
I am reaching out with an important update on meetings as they pertain to the Public Health Order (PHO). Over the past few days, we have heard from you, our industry. Many of you have brought attention to the conflicting information on the PHO website and landing page.
Over the past 4 months, we were assured that meetings in purpose-built hotels were not considered 'events', and that they were exempt from the most recent PHO that restricted all events, with some exclusions.
I have just had confirmation directly from Public Health that hotel meetings are now included in the event restriction order. They are therefore banned until Dec. 7th at which time an update on the PHO will occur. We anticipate these restrictions will be extended at this time.
Upon further consult, Public Health did recognize that hotels are considered to be safe spaces, and that meetings themselves are not the risk; instead, the social behaviours of people before and/or after a meeting is where the potential risk lies. This is the reason that meetings have been restricted at this time.
I understand that since the verbal PHO was announced, many of your meeting business on the books evaporated entirely. This of course poses further devastation when hotel rooms occupied per night are in the single digits, and any small meetings on the books were already few and far between.
It is our hope, that you (our industry) and we (your advocate) can continue to educate our government to understand the high degree of responsibility we have and continue to uphold. Over the past 10 months, there has been a very obvious lack of COVID-19 transmissions on-site at hotels or as a result of meetings at purpose-built hotels – a direct result of the dedication and commitment shown by each of you. Our industry has led the way in development and implementation of Best Practices and Protocols. We continue to evolve this to keep employees, guests and the public safe.
This message to you is a difficult one to deliver – but it is of critical importance that we comply with the PHO to ensure we regain our ability to once again host visitors from across the world in our beautiful hotels around the province.