Big White Ski Resort takes hard stance on mask compliance | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Big White Ski Resort takes hard stance on mask compliance

Image Credit: PEXELS
November 24, 2020 - 6:30 PM

Three season's pass holders won’t be hitting the slopes at Big White Ski Resort after their passes were temporarily revoked because they refused to wear masks.

During the first few days of opening, getting people to follow the new mandated mask-wearing rules was “tough,” but since the new order came into effect, most people have been compliant, said Michael Ballingall, senior vice president.

The resort already had COVID-19 restrictions in place, including requiring mask or face coverings while in lineups, loading and unloading from the ski lifts and while using indoor facilities and the gondola.

The provincial health officer’s order requiring masks in all indoor public spaces came into effect Nov. 19 at midnight. Big White opened to season’s pass holders the same day.

READ MORE: With new B.C. travel restrictions, Big White 'just became Kelowna's mountain'

“We actually suspended three passes on Saturday… they just weren’t playing by the rules so we asked them to go away. Sunday we really didn’t have a problem,” Ballingall said. With a few expectations, people are compliant as they want to be there, he said.

“And some people forget… it’s as soon as people get in line, that’s really the hard one because people are arriving out of breath… and we get that, we have no problem (reminding people), it’s just when people don’t do it, they’re not going to be allowed to ride and they’re going to lose their pass.”

While the individuals have had their passes suspended, Ballingall said the bans are on a case-by-case basis.

“We just have no tolerance. If you don’t have a mask, you don’t ride the lifts. If you don’t have a mask, you don’t come in the building,” he said. “It depends on how polite or how rude, how forgiving (they are), it’s all on the individuals. If we have to get involved, meaning senior management, they haven’t been listening to people down the line and that is just disrespect and we will not tolerate that.”

“These are rules to keep us alive, to keep us from catching COVID-19 and you paid to be here. If you don’t want to play by the rules, then go away.”

At Sun Peaks Mountain Resort, if someone refuses to wear a mask the resort reserves the right to refuse access to any of their facilities and asks the person to leave the property, communications director Rob McCloskey said.

Currently, Sun Peaks has not decided to revoke season's passes for non-compliance, mostly because the issue has yet to come up.

"At this point we've been very fortunate, everyone's been very understanding and grateful to be back on snow," McCloskey said.

The ski hill opened for the season Nov. 21 and their mask policies are no surprise to guests.

"We've actually had them in place in quite a few facilities at Sun Peaks for most of the summer," he said. "So we've kind of built up that expectation here, that people have to be respectful of each other and the safety of other guests."

The resort also rolled out an educational campaign over the past month, explaining mask use and what the expectations would be once the season began.

Masks are required while waiting in line for the lift, while riding it, and in all public indoor spaces at the resort. 

Silver Star Ski Resort opens for Nordic skiing on Nov. 28 and Alpine skiing Dec.4. Apex Mountain Resort opens for the season Dec. 5.


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