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Not enough being done to keep COVID-19 out of Whistler, says longtime resident

Last Updated Feb 1, 2021 at 1:52 pm PDT

FILE - A ski instructor is seen walking along the base of Whistler Mountain in Whistler, B.C. Sunday, March 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Whistler hotel worker who tested positive for COVID-19 says it isn't hard to check who's driving into the area

Longtime Whistler resident wonders why outdoor sporting crowds not allowed, but crowds for gondolas are

Nearly 300 cases recorded in Whistler between Jan. 1 and Jan. 26

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A hotel worker in Whistler who tested positive for COVID-19 last week says he’s angry more isn’t being done to keep the virus from spreading in the town he’s called home for 15 years.

Philip Johnson feels the virus is so widespread, the resort is now a threat to people from Vancouver — even if they’re just heading up to ski on a day trip.

“You can’t have a crowd at an outdoor sporting event, but you can have hundreds of people standing in line to get on a gondola?” he asked.

Related article: B.C. marks one year of COVID-19 but rule breakers, vaccine struggles remain

Johnson feels hotels have “no problem” letting people from places like Ontario and Quebec stay in Whistler.

He argues that since there’s basically only one road from Vancouver to Whistler, it shouldn’t be hard to check in on people heading into the area.

“When you have a place like Ontario that gets the U.K. variant — allowing them to fly out here, it’s not something that B.C. needs … when it’s something that’s 100 per cent avoidable.”

Johnson supports rapid testing as a faster way to identify carriers who may be asymptomatic, given inter-provincial travel has not been banned.

“You could essentially test people coming into Whistler if they want to stay here. It’s not happening,” he said.

The 35-year-old says he has no idea how he was exposed, but he and his five roommates — including one who goes to school on Vancouver Island — are isolating together.

Last week, Vancouver Coastal Health reported nearly 300 cases were recorded in Whistler between Jan. 1 and 26.

Related article: B.C.’s top doctor says COVID-19 clusters mean everyone needs to stay close to home

Johnson doesn’t believe the mountain does a good job at ensuring people are practicing physical distancing.

“Also, you have a very young crowd here who doesn’t care about this. They are the ones going out to parties. They are the ones who live in households of 10-plus. One of them gets it, they all get it.”