Big White Village on Dec. 16.

Big White Village on Dec. 16.

Big White employees fired as resort officials curb COVID-19 cluster

A COVID-19 task force is working to contain the cluster

Following Tuesday’s announcement of a COVID-19 cluster at Big White Ski Resort management has dismissed some of its employees.

The resort responded on Wednesday to Interior Health’s identification of the community cluster, where 60 people have currently tested positive for the virus.

Interior Health is connecting the cases to group housing and social gatherings.

“Large households and social gatherings appear to be responsible for much of the COVID-19 transmission related to this cluster,” stated IH.

Now, the resort’s COVID-19 task force is working to find isolated housing for those who tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to Peter Plimmer, the president of Big White, the COVID-19 task force made up of executives and members of the community, are working with the health authority, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary and the RCMP to contain the cluster.

“The focus of our team and task force is to help all of those that require accommodation to isolate, to transition into this space as soon as possible, and to continue to operate the resort in a safe manner and in accordance to our COVID-19 Safety Plan,” said Pilmmer.

READ MORE: 60 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Big White Ski Resort cluster

Big White employs 55 per cent or 636 employees on the mountain and manages accommodation for 24 per cent or 152 employees of that workforce. A new apartment-style building in the Black Forest area holds a majority of the accommodation for the staff managed by the resort.

Everyone else who works at Big White lives in private residences not managed by the resort.

Plimmer has directed the management team to speak to all staff regarding the community cluster and present to them for the third time the Big White social responsibility contract. A health declaration was presented to staff at the beginning of the season and all employees working at the resort and their offices off-mountain had to sign the agreement before starting work.

Those who were found to be in breach of these documents, were terminated from their positions.

The resort continues to operate and IH confirmed it is confident with the safety plan in place by Big White Ski Resort.

“Outdoor activities at Big White are considered safe for anyone following public health direction such as physical distancing, wearing a face covering, and staying home when sick,” stated the health authority.

Anyone planning on attending the mountain is asked to familiarize themselves with the resort’s COVID-19 Safety Plan.

According to the health authority, the risk is low for families and individuals visiting Big White who stick to their immediate household bubble and avoid socializing and gathering with people outside their immediate bubble.

Interior Health is continuing its COVID-19 testing.

READ MORE: RCMP won’t send additional resources to Big White, despite requests


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jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

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