BY: CLAIRE SIERRA Oh dear, dear, dear~ In these uncertain and worrisome times, we wanted to reach out to you about what we’re doing here at the Balch to support you and your travel plans. As the situation around Corona Virus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, we are committed to being responsive, doing everything we can to ensure your travel safety and provide maximum flexibility. Rest assured, we’ve increased our already-thorough cleaning protocols throughout the hotel, taking extra steps to disinfect high-touch areas such as tables and chairs, handrails, doorknobs, and keys. We’re also providing hand sanitizer and anti-viral wipes in several locations throughout the hotel, with hand-washing reminders in the public restrooms. As always, the safety and security of our guests (YOU!) and our team members is our highest priority. We take great pride in maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene. In response to this health emergency, we have taken additional measures make our cleaning and hygiene practices even more rigorous. Here’s what we are doing: * We’ve enhanced protocols with increased the frequency of cleaning our public areas (including lobbies, elevators, door handles, public bathrooms, guest keys, etc.) with continued use of high-grade disinfectant. * We’ve made hand sanitizer, wipes and spritzers available to you in public areas, so you can do double duty and soothe any worries. * We adjust food and beverage service in accordance with current food safety recommendations, including bigger personal boundaries for waitstaff and guests. * Staff has paid sick leave and knows to stay home if any kind of sickness develops. * We’re cancelling weekend programs as needed, on a limited basis, mindful that gathering is not currently advised and yet not wanting to be reactive and panic-based. See our events page for updated information about upcoming events. * We are prepared to act swiftly should we be alerted to a case of Coronavirus at the hotel. Your travel plans: * Use common sense. If you are exhibiting signs of the illness (fever, cough, breathing problems, and/or have been exposed to the virus) or have a compromised immune system, please stay home! * Don’t let fear rule you. Be careful, wash your hands and live your life. Go places. We are still open and taking reservations. * While we understand the urge to stay home, know that this widespread change in travel means a loss of business that is devastating for us and other small businesses. That will ripple through our nation and have more impactful consequences, if we aren’t careful. * We are offering a Discounted Gift Certificate so that you can travel later at reduced fee. This helps us by replacing lost cash flow and helps YOU with a getaway at a reduced cost. Purchase between $75 and $500 in value (good for bistro, lodging and spa) and get 20% off. Use Coupon Code: GorgeLove Reservations made directly with us: If you need to adjust reservations, please contact us at 541.467.2277. We understand this is a unique situation and are prepared to be flexible and waive our cancellation policy. Reservations made thru a third-party website: If you need to adjust reservations made through an online booking agent or travel site, please contact them for assistance. Remember We’re Here Now We know that in challenging times like these that the power of care, connection, tranquility and wide open nature — the hallmarks of the Balch experience—is needed most of all. Whether you’re traveling now or in the future, we’re here and ready to welcome you with the world class Balch hospitality that you’ve come to expect. Help Us with Gorge Love At the risk of being vulnerable, we could use your help. If you’re in a place to plan ahead, we both win. Purchase a Discounted Gift Certificate and travel later at reduced cost. This helps us by replacing funds lost through cancellations due to this health situation. Receive $300 in value for $240. Or $75 for $60 (the more you buy the more you save.) Click here and use Coupon Code GorgeLove to receive this 20% discount. OR: go to website, click Book Now, and then go to the Gift Certificate tab. Choose an amount from $75 to $500. (These are transferable and unused amounts can roll over to another visit.) Good for lodging, food and spa services. Available now through end of March. We will continue to maintain a clean and safe environment, and help you enjoy a safe and healthy getaway. We look forward to seeing you soon. The magic is (STILL) closer than you think! Claire Sierra, MA, LFT Owner & Spa/Wellness Priestess at the Balch Hotel — Rated #1 Travel Destination in the Columbia Gorge. Soul Arts Therapist, Licensed Esthetician and Author of The Magdalene Path.