Whistler Blackcomb is directly affected by the sweeping new measures announced Monday by the provincial government to slow down the rise of COVID-19 case numbers.
During today’s press conference, BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the ski resort is closed from now until April 19, 2021. This is the same period for the shutdown of indoor dining at restaurants, indoor group fitness activities, and indoor church services.
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There has been an increase in the number of cases originating in the Whistler Blackcomb area, especially over the past week and of the P1 Brazil coronavirus variant.
She says there has been much transmission from Whistler to other areas of the province, despite contact tracing and other work to curb the spread. Earlier this month, vaccination was also conducted for employees in Whistler Blackcomb staff housing.
“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,” said Henry.
“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.”
More broadly, Henry says there has been an exponential increase in cases, trending towards the upper triple digits across BC, with more people hospitalized and requiring critical care. There is a growing strain on the hospital system, and there are not enough people vaccinated to make a dent in preventing the spread of transmission.
“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.”