COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for employees at BC's major mountains

Oct 13 2021, 11:10 pm

British Columbia’s major mountains have implemented mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for its employees ahead of the upcoming ski and snowboard season.

Big White Ski Resort, a major destination within the province, says that it will require its staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated — meaning that two weeks will need to have passed since a person’s second dose of an approved vaccine. New and existing employees, as well as volunteers, will need to show a record of this by October 24.

“We have a large volume of season pass holders who are voting on their confidence in us to be able to deliver a safe experience at our resort,” says Michael Ballingall, senior vice president of Big White Ski Resort, in an emailed statement. “With international travel now opening up, our responsibility to all staff, visitors and guests means we need to put our best efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Last winter, Big White dealt with a challenging cluster of COVID-19 cases, the majority of which were attributed to transmission in group housing, social events, and gatherings. Concerns about transmission began after a party that was hosted in late November, and some employees at Big White were let go shortly after.

And while Whistler hasn’t laid out full details of its policy, the popular ski destination says that it will be requiring all employees to have COVID-19 vaccinations.

Whistler Blackcomb also struggled with rising COVID-19 cases in Spring 2021. In late March, there was major concern over cases concerning the area caused by the P1 COVID-19 variant. As a result, the mountain closed early to combat rising transmission. The municipality’s mayor, Jack Crompton, also called on health officials for expedited COVID-19 vaccination for the community.

As for the North Shore, Grouse Mountain says that it has adopted a mandatory COVID-19 staff vaccination policy for the upcoming season. Employees of Grouse Mountain Resorts will need to provide proof of vaccination or a recognized validation of an exemption by November 27, 2021. Individuals who don’t will be temporarily laid off until they are fully vaccinated or the policy is rescinded.

And while Mt. Seymour doesn’t have a vaccine policy in place just yet, a spokesperson from the mountain says that one is currently in the works and will be ready in “the next couple of weeks.”

Similarly, Cypress Mountain says that while there has been some discussion on the matter, “nothing has been finalized at this point.”

Last week, a number of major companies also announced mandatory vaccination requirements for their employees. This included TransLink, BC Hydro, and ICBC.

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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