Whistler Blackcomb, BC Ordered to Close For 3-Weeks Due To COVID-19 Outbreak

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Whistler Blackcomb trail map

Whistler Blackcomb ski resort in British Columbia (BC), Canada, was ordered to temporarily close at midnight last night due to a spike in COVID-19 in the local community. The resort will remain closed until April 19th.

We were just informed today by the Province of British Columbia that Whistler Blackcomb has been ordered to close as of midnight tonight. We would like to thank all of our guests and employees for their willingness to adapt to our COVID safety protocols and dedication to upholding the rigorous standards we put in place for our 2020-21 season. We are committed to protecting the health of our community and our province in this difficult moment.”

– Whistler Blackcomb, 3/29/21

Health officials are referring to a “worrisome cluster” of the Brazilian (P.1) coronavirus variant, which is more easily transmissible and may be more resistant to COVID-19 antibodies.

The Brazilian (P.1) coronavirus variant is currently causing havoc in Brazil, with their healthcare system on the verge of collapse and their country seeing 3,650 COVID-19 deaths in just one day – last Friday.

Geoff Buchheister, chief operating officer of Whistler Blackcomb, said the announcement came as a surprise. 

“Throughout the season, Whistler Blackcomb has prioritized the health and safety of our guests and employees. Today’s order from the Province of British Columbia to close Whistler Blackcomb came as a surprise and we respect the decision and are taking immediate steps to comply.”

– Geoff Buchheister

Whistler was scheduled to close on April 18th, with Blackcomb staying open until May 24th. The resort has yet to comment on whether the mountain will re-open after April 19th.

Other restrictions in effect until April 19 include:

  • indoor dining at all food and liquor-serving premises (takeout and delivery still allowed)
  • indoor adult group fitness activities of any kind at gyms, fitness centers, or studios
  • indoor worship services
  • travel will also be limited between communities to essential travel for work or medical reasons only.

BC health officials are saying that there has been a surge in Coronavirus transmission tied to people traveling in BC.

  • BC reported 2,518 COVID-19 infections of the weekend, as well as a new single-day record of 936 COVID-19 cases recorded on Friday
  • BCs rolling weekly average for new cases increased to 803 cases per day which is the 2nd highest of the pandemic
  • BCs active caseload reached 6,902 this weekend

Whistler, B.C. photo: snowbrains
Whistler, B.C. Photo: SnowBrains

“We’ve also seen transmission directly connected in travel between communities, and remind everybody, now more than ever, that travel is now limited to essential travel for work and medical reasons only. We need to pay attention to this now.”

“We have seen increasing cases related to travel over the past few weeks. We know that people have taken advantage of the weather and the March break to go places with their family, and what has meant is we’ve seen a rapid rise in cases of people returning to their home communities.”

“We know people have taken advantage of the weather and the March break to go places with their families, and what that has meant is we’ve seen a rapid rise in cases as people have returned to their home communities.”

“A circuit breaker is now required to break the chains of transmissions in our province, and allow us to safely move forward through this next phase,” she said.

“Gathering indoors is what is the greatest risk to all of us right now.”

– BC health official Dr. Bonnie Henry

How many new cases have emerged in the Whistler area was not revealed by health officials.

Whistler’s mayor Jack Crompton referred to the restrictions in Whistler as “devastating.”

“For businesses, for the community at large, it’s going to take some thought about how we move forward and what that closure of three weeks means to our ski season. This is an enormous challenge.”

– Whistler mayor Jack Crompton

Vail Resorts, who owns Whistler Blackcomb, recently reported a 28.4% decline in net income due to the pandemic.  Whistler Blackcomb was hit hard by the pandemic due to the border being closed.

Destination visitation declined by 15%.

Skier visits across all Vail Resorts dropped by 8.2% this season as of March 7, 2021.

“Covid-19 continues to create challenges for people and businesses throughout B.C., and we are grateful for the sacrifices people continue to make to keep one another safe.  We know that the idea of more restrictions is not welcome news, but we are asking people to rise to the challenge with the confidence that vaccines mean better days are ahead. We are not out of the woods yet, but the provincial health officer’s orders, combined with our vaccines, give us the tools we need to move out of this pandemic together.”

– British Columbia Premier John Horgan

Whistler, B.C. 2012. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Whistler, B.C. 2012. Photo: Miles Clark/SnowBrains

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