Big White Resort announces COVID-19 prompted closure; follows lead of other B.C. ski resorts - InfoNews

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Big White Resort announces COVID-19 prompted closure; follows lead of other B.C. ski resorts

Easy Street run on Big White.
Image Credit: Contributed: Big White
March 16, 2020 - 3:52 PM

Big White Ski Resort will close down most of its operations as of 3:30 p.m. today, following the lead of other ski resorts around the province.

"After careful consideration and discussions with our senior leadership team, the Ministry of Health, Interior Health, the Kelowna International Airport, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, local doctors, health professionals, colleagues in the industry and the Canada West Ski Areas Association, the last six hours have made it clear that no matter what procedures we put in place, we cannot guarantee the safety of our staff, guests and residents while adhering to the mandatory reduction of group gatherings recommended by the B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic," Big White president and CEO Peter Plimmer said in a press release.

READ MORE: COVID-19 stories from across the Interior

That means as of 3:30 p.m. today, March 16, Big White Ski Resort will cease operations for the remainder of the 2019/2020 ski season; ski lift operations, Elevation Spa, Big White Ski & Board School, The Kids Centre, The Black Forest Day Lodge, The Westridge Warming Hut and other operations by Big White Ski Resort Ltd. will all be shuttered.

Some independent food and beverage establishments including the Market, are scheduled to remain open for the time being.

"The well-being of our guests, staff and residents is my family’s top priority," Plimmer said. 

"This concern extends beyond the boundaries of the home we call Big White Ski Resort and into the greater Okanagan region. As a Canadian family owned and operated resort, we feel it is our duty to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 among the families and staff who share the mountain we all love. While risk level remains low for many, we want to protect those most vulnerable in these uncertain times. The most effective way we can do this, and help flatten the curve in Canada is to close our doors for the remainder of the season."

More than 6,000 people currently residing in the resort, so it will take some time and incredible effort to organize the systematic departure from the resort, Plimmer said.

Rental Shop returns will be accepted until Tuesday, March 17, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Woods 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. concession window only, Clocktower Coffee 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Happy Valley Cafeteria 11a.m. to 5 p.m., Village Shuttle normal operating hours until Friday, Gondola 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Big White's room and property divisions will remain open to service the guests we have in-resort with existing reservations. They expect heavy call volume over the coming days as we work to accommodate travel changes.

The reservation teams can be reached at 250-765-8888.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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