James and Nicole Mitchell are providing a safe haven for pandemic-weary travellers.
Their Lookout Inn has become a 14-day stopping-off spot for families who are returning to P.E.I. but have no place to self-isolate.
“With people having a really hard time finding a place to stay when they’re coming home … we were brainstorming what can we do to help people and to help ourselves,” said James, who usually works as a subcontractor but is currently out of work due to the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain).
With the outbreak, many summer reservations at the inn have been cancelled. Still, Nicole, who runs the Inn, and James feel blessed with their modest success – last summer was their best to date – and wanted to help others.
Four units at the Lookout were already suitable for self-isolation with private baths as well as private entrances.
The Mitchells added a hotplate and some pots and dishes so guests can stay inside comfortably for 14 days.
“They can still go outside, because each room has their own little private deck. So they don’t have to feel like they’re in jail,” said James.
And the Mitchells are ready to help them stay in self-isolation by providing grocery runs and laundry service.
All four units are booked at the moment.
“I know we’re taking a bit of a risk taking in people who were travelling, but we have everything put in place to be perfectly safe. We can’t save everyone, but we can help a few.”
Emily Terry is one of the travellers staying at The Lookout.
She’s the assistant squash coach for the men’s and women’s teams and a master’s student at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.,
She made the dash north on Friday.
“When the university finally announced that we would be closing campus for the rest of the semester, I decided to pack up and come back to the East Coast to live with my sister and brother-in-law in Desable, P.E.I.” she said by text message from The Lookout.
We are offering a king room for self quarantine / isolation. One bedroom with private bathroom and a private entrance....Posted by The Lookout Inn on Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Terry is originally from Nova Scotia, but none of her relatives there could take her in for the self-isolation. With her sister working from home these days, Terry will be able to help care for her niece.
She has been following New York’s quarantine requirements and has been in self-isolation since March 14 in Canton.
“The next two weeks shouldn’t be anything new for me!”
Friday morning at 5:30, Terry left for the Island, stopping just once for gas in Bangor, Me., before she hit the border.
“It was the first time I have never seen another passenger car at either of the borders,” she said.
Upon entering Canada, Terry received information about the mandatory self-isolation and was warned that non-compliance could be punished with three years in prison and a fine up to $1,000,000.
At the check stop at the Confederation Bridge, she was asked if she felt ill and if P.E.I. was her final destination.
She’s grateful to the Mitchells for offering their accommodations to people in her situation.
James said he struggled with what to charge for the stay but knew he wanted it to be affordable.
“I know we’re taking a bit of a risk taking in people who were travelling, but we have everything put in place to be perfectly safe,” said James. “We can’t save everyone, but we can help a few.”
Terry is very happy in her king suite with wifi, TV and kitchen supplies.
“They offered a weekly rate of $225, and I see it as a true act of kindness during such a difficult time,” said Terry.
“I would never have dreamed of being able to afford this type of accommodation for 14 days, so what this family is doing for people like me is wonderful.”