Big White Ski Resort, BC, has fired a number of employees after 60 covid-19 cases were traced back to parties in employee shared housing.
The employees were let go ‘for breaking a social responsibility contract’ that includes clauses such as reporting symptoms of illness to managers and following public health orders around social gatherings. All employees are expected to adhere to the rules and sign a health declaration at the beginning of each shift, reports CBC.
“Big White Ski Resort Ltd has a zero-tolerance policy with any employees who are found to be in breach of these documents. To that end, we have had to let go some of our employees.”
– Resort statement
A statement made by Interior Health earlier this week revealed a cluster of 60 covid-19 cases has been identified at Big White Ski Resort, BC.
“Our investigation reveals 60 cases of COVID-19 related to Big White; mostly from transmission related to shared housing.”
– Interior Health press release
Some cases were first acknowledged on Monday, and a testing team was sent to the ski hill to “expedite testing.” At the time, Interior Health did not reveal how many cases had been detected.
The cases occurred mostly from transmission related to shared housing. Michael Ballingall, vice president at Big White, told CBC that the tests are in response to a number of well-attended parties hosted by resort staff earlier in the month. All affected are now required to self-isolate. Interior Health officials say there is a low risk to anyone who chooses to visit Big White, as long as they stick to safety guidelines.
Big White responded by saying they “are taking this matter incredibly seriously and will act quickly and decisively to address the living conditions of our staff residing outside of our managed residences.”
“We are not aware of any transmission in our company’s workplaces, this includes transmissions between employees at work and transmissions between employees and guests. Our main priority is protecting the health of our staff and all those that visit and use Big White Ski Resort.”
– Big White Ski Resort
The ski resort is working with community members, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, and RCMP to mitigate the risk and eliminate any further spread. The positive cases have ‘scared’ some of the younger employees.
“These young people have had a wake-up call that yes, they can get it too, their friends might have gotten it and even if you don’t have it or haven’t tested positive if you’re in close contact and have been contacted by Interior Health through contract tracing, you have to isolate.”
– Michael Ballingall, vice president of Big White
Canada has had 485,577 covid-19 cases and 13,815 deaths with covid. British Columbia has seen 44,103 cases and 692 deaths. The border between the US and Canada remains closed.