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Campaign launched to tackle COVID-19 at ski communities

The campaign singles out those living and working in ski communities

A new education campaign to reduce COVID-19 transmission in ski communities has been launched.

The campaign, called “be the reason we all have a ski season” is a collaboration between the relevant provincial ministries, WorkSafeBC, six local governments (including Fernie) and the Canada West Ski Areas Association (CWSAA).

In a release, B.C.’s minister of tourism, Melanie Mark thanked the ski industry and communities that were trying to save the ski season.

“I know most people are doing the right thing to avoid spreading COVID-19,” she said.

“However, those who are mixing households, throwing parties and ignoring the rules are putting jobs, our economy and our health at risk. Now is the time for each of us to step up and do our part so we can continue to enjoy all that ski communities have to offer.”

The community cluster declared in the Fernie local health area was blamed on various social gatherings by Interior Health. 97 cases have been linked to Fernie since the beginning of 2021.

The campaign will include additional advertising, more communication to resort employees and a focus on stopping social gatherings in share housing and short term accommodation.

It will focus on those living and working in ski communities.

The communities collaborating with the campaign are Whistler (where there have been 614 cases since Jan. 1), Sun Peaks, Rossland, Revelstoke (where there was a 50-case cluster last year), Invermere and Fernie.

Each community has had working groups between their respecting ski resorts, municipalities, tourism bodies, chambers of commerce and local health authorities.

Mayor of Whistler, Jack Crompton, said that the famous resort community north of Vancouver “doesn’t have an economy if we do not overcome COVID-19 transmission within our community.”

“Take a COVID-19 rain cheque on après with friends. Let’s stick to our households and socialize virtually.”

In a release, the provincial government credited ski resorts as being vital for the economic recovery of B.C. by generating revenue and employment through winter and year-round.

“Ski resorts play an important role in enhancing the lives of local residents by providing access to safe outdoor activities for mental well-being and maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout the pandemic.”

The ski industry contributes $2 billion annually to the B.C. economy, and provides over 21,000 jobs.

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