The Fairmont Empress Hotel at the Inner Harbour in downtown Victoria. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Victoria’s Fairmont Empress, Grand Pacific hotels close due to COVID-19

The iconic hotels and their services are closing to limit the risk of exposure to the coronavirus

Two of Victoria’s largest hotels have temporarily closed down due to COVID-19.

Vancouver Island’s hotel icon, the Fairmont Empress Hotel, closed on March 24. The hotel, famous for being the residence of royals during official visits and for its elegant high tea service, would usually be heading into its high season as spring and summer begin, but instead the doors have shut.

ALSO READ: Many businesses can still carry on, B.C. COVID-19 doctor says

“Every day brings new developments related to COVID-19, and as we navigate through these uncertain times and challenging circumstances we do so with the safety of our loyal and valued guests and employees as our highest priority,” said Tracey Drake, director of marketing and public relations in a statement. “In response, and to do our part in halting the spread of this virus, we have made the difficult decision to suspend hotel operations at Fairmont Empress and temporarily close effective Tuesday March 24, 2020. We are currently planning to reevaluate in the coming weeks and will provide updates on a reopening date as information becomes available.”

Suspension includes all hotel operations: guest services, overnight stays, the Willow Stream Spa, the health club and pool and all food and beverage services including at the Q at the Empress and high tea.

ALSO READ: Port Renfrew, Pacheedaht Nation close communities to visitors amidst COVID-19 fears

A handful of employees will remain on the property to maintain emergency services, Drake said.

“This is a challenging time for Victoria and beyond, and our hearts go out to all who have been impacted. We will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation and stay in close communication with our loyal guests and dedicated employees to ensure that our community is informed, connected and supported through these trying times.”

The last time the Fairmont Empress closed was in 1989, when it closed for several months due to renovations.

As of March 26 the Hotel Grand Pacific will also be shutting its doors.

“It is unfathomable what is going on in the world with the Coronavirus. Our health and our businesses are being threatened leaving us feeling helpless and concerned for our futures,” said Reid James, general manager in a statement. ” In the interest of the well being of our guests, clients, colleagues, and suppliers, we have made a very difficult decision to enact a temporary suspension of Hotel operations effective Thursday, March 26.”

The Hotel Grand Pacific will reassess the situation on April 30.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

CoronavirusHotels

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

Just Posted

Oak Bay Police Chief Const. Andy Brinton passes the torch this summer

Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties to take over position in September

Victoria Police see new trends in calls due to COVID-19

Police link jump in domestic, mental health calls to pandemic

VIDEO: Musician stays physically distant in courtyard show for Langford retirees

Bob Nelson found a way to continue to play for retirement community residents

COVID-19: Health care workers seek alternative housing options to prevent families from getting sick

Volunteers, residents and businesses step up to provide frontline workers with alternative housing

BC Parks Foundation organizes virtual picnic for the province

Join a B.C.-wide picnic online Saturday, March 28

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Nanaimo RCMP ask for help locating 17-year-old girl believed to be with 36-year-old man

Mary Cyprich, missing since Thurday, might be in company of Force Forsythe

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Most Read