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B.C. ski resorts developing action plan with province to limit spread of COVID

Last Updated Feb 9, 2021 at 9:27 pm PST

(iStock Photo)

WHISTLER (NEWS 1130) — Ski resorts across B.C. are stepping up enforcement to keep COVID-19 numbers from continuing to surge in places like Whistler, by working with Victoria to help keep resort communities safe.

Christopher Nicolson, the President of the Canada West Ski Areas Association, says the provincial health officer has identified three areas of key concern, including too many apres-ski social gatherings by staff in shared housing, and visitors in short-term rentals, which are now being addressed.

“Campaigns are now in the market around following the protocols to communicate to stakeholders in the community and also employee groups on resources available, health protocols and so forth,” he explains.

Nicolson says it’s part of an overall strategy to help keep things safe.

“Does it contain incremental activity in terms of both messaging, as well as helping health authorities? Absolutely,” he says. “The increased enforcement that we’ve seen within communities, that’s a benefit, so it’s all part of a community mobilization from government, municipalities and the stakeholders within our communities.”

Nicolson says the Canada West Ski Areas Association has already been working with various levels of government and community stakeholders on this, including Health Minister Adrian Dix, calling it a “collaborative effort.”

He says the messaging is clear for people to follow public safety orders because so much is at stake if this industry is forced to shut down.

Documents put together by Nicolson’s group show the industry is worth more than two billion dollars to BC’s economy and shutting down ski hills would lead to massive layoffs.

However, the plan does not mention Big White Ski Resort, which is responsible for more than 200 COVID-19 cases.

Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 2, 547 cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Whistler alone; We’re currently waiting for updated numbers from the Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.