Whistler Blackcomb. (Brigitte Werner/Pixabay)

Whistler Blackcomb. (Brigitte Werner/Pixabay)

Whistler Blackcomb to suspend operations for a week due to COVID-19 pandemic

Village of Pemberton confirms two local cases of coronavirus

Whistler Blackcomb Resort will suspend operations for seven days beginning tomorrow, due to growing concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Vail Resorts, the parent company of Whistler Mountain announced Saturday it will not be taking any new reservations at any of its 37 resort locations in North America.

Meanwhile, those already staying at the various lodges and anyone who had already made a reservation prior to Saturday are allowed to remain at the various resorts, but all on-mountain dining and retail stores will be closed until March 22.

The news comes as the Village of Pemberton confirms two of its residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Pemberton is a 30-minute drive outside of Whistler.

ALSO READ: COVID-19 Canadian cases, by province

Vail Resort staff will be using the week to “reassess our approach for the rest of the season,” CEO Rob Katz said in a statement.

“It gives everyone the time to assess the situation, respond to ever-changing developments, and evaluate the approach for the rest of season, if we believe it is advisable or feasible to re-open,” Katz said. “This was not an easy decision to make, as we deeply considered the impact it will have on our guests, employees, and the people and businesses in our communities.”

All scheduled employees will still be paid without using vacation or sick time, and staff within the corporate office will work from home.

Katz said that lift tickets, ski school, equipment rentals will be fully refunded, while other credit information can be found on the Vail Resorts website. The company will be reviewing its refund policies for seasons passes.

Later Saturday, SilverStar Mountain Resort also suspended operations until March 22.

All other ski hills in B.C., including Mount Washington, Big White and Grouse Mountain, are remaining open at this time, but many are taking precautionary measures such as limiting the number of people on a single chair lift and cancelling larger events.

READ MORE: Big White taking COVID-19 precautions but no shut down yet in sight for Kelowna slopes


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