British Columbia

Whistler Blackcomb to close for a week on Sunday over coronavirus

The owner of Whistler Blackcomb — Vail Resorts — will close all 37 of its resorts on Sunday around the world for eight days to reassess its approach to guest and employee safety amid coronavirus.

Owner Vail Resorts says week-long closure will be used to reassess approach for rest of season

The Whistler-Blackcomb resort has more than two million visitors a year. (Simon Charland/CBC)

The owner of Whistler Blackcomb — Vail Resorts — will close all 37 of its resorts around the world for eight days starting Sunday to reassess its approach to guest and employee safety amid coronavirus.

Vail announced the news Saturday through a release on its website. It will cease operations from Sunday, March 15, to Sunday, March 22.

Vail has 37 resorts in 15 states in the U.S. and three countries, including Whistler Blackcomb in B.C.

It says it will use the closure period to come up with a plan on how it may operate for the rest of the season as the world grapples with coronavirus.

Its lodgings will remain open to guests already at the resorts or those with existing reservations. It will not take any new reservations for the upcoming week.

Vail will also close corporate offices and ask most employees to work from home.

Employees to be paid

Vail says all scheduled employees, both seasonal and year-round, will be paid during the eight-day closure.

It says people who have registered in ski schools, bought lift tickets and equipment rentals will be able to get a refund.

"This decision provides a pause for the entire ecosystem of our mountain resort communities," Vail said in the release.

"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. This was not an easy decision to make." 

Vail says it will provide an update about the remainder of the season for its resorts on Friday, March 20.

On Friday, B.C.'s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry advised people looking for activities over the coming days to get outside or go skiing at places like Whistler.

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