Whistler Blackcomb has announced that it will open for summer on June 29th, subject to provincial alignment and progress toward the BC Restart Plan, Phase 3. The resort shared operating plans, as well as its commitment to safety, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It will open with a limited summer footprint focusing on sightseeing and mountain biking. The Whistler Village Gondola, PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola and Blackcomb Gondola will bring hikers and sightseeing guests up the mountains, and the Whistler Mountain Bike Park will open with the Fitz and Garbanzo zones. Grab ‘n’ go food options will also be available at the Rendezvous, Garbanzo Bike and Bean, and the Roundhouse Lodge.
As a part of Vail Resorts’ commitment to safety, the company is establishing certain guidelines across all of its resorts and properties in North America, which include physical distancing protocols, face covering requirements, enhanced cleaning measures, employee health screenings and safety training, cashless transactions, and revisions to regularly offered programs and services. Each resort and property have enacted a unique operating plan that aligns with these guidelines and was developed in consultation with state and local health officials. Similar to the Skier Responsibility Code, Vail Resorts asks guests and employees to take on a new level of personal accountability to ensure the safety of its mountain communities.
“Whistler is a special place for all of British Columbia and we are excited to welcome guests back to our community, to the mountains and lifestyle we are known for around the world,” said Geoff Buchheister, Whistler Blackcomb chief operating officer. “We are lucky this environment lends itself to physical distancing, so we can enjoy a safe, healthy space to recreate, but we also do know we must proceed with caution. This resort is very proud to be a part of a province that has succeeded so thoroughly in flattening its COVID-19 curve. We ask our guests to continue to be vigilant and to ensure the experience is safe for every guest and employee by following all of our new guidelines. As summer progresses, we look forward to being able to safely open more activities on the mountain.”
VAIL RESORTS’ COMMITMENT TO SAFETY
Vail Resorts has reimagined the resort experience to further prioritize the health and safety of its employees and guests in response to COVID-19. In addition to complying with local orders, the Company is enforcing its own safety measures to ensure everyone is able to enjoy the mountains this summer. Safety has always been one of the Company’s core values and the new procedures and protocols being implemented have the safety of employees, guests and communities in mind. Protocols include:
• On mountain, the resorts’ vast outdoor settings make physical distancing easy. But in the base areas, and other locations where it is more difficult to do so, we will have signage and decals to ensure guests remain six feet (two meters) apart.
• Guests will be required to wear face coverings in certain areas. This includes in lines, when loading and unloading chairlifts, when loading and riding in gondolas or bubble chairs, on activities such as an alpine slide or mountain coaster, and in indoor resort facilities.
• Guests are strongly encouraged to bring their own face coverings, but resorts will have them available upon request, subject to availability. Employees will be required to wear face coverings at all times.
• Plexiglass barriers have been installed in areas where physical distancing measures are not possible, including at points of purchase.
• Capacity of lifts and gondolas will be reduced to allow for physical distancing. Guests will only be allowed on lifts and gondolas with travelers in their party.
• Employees may limit the number of guests in any area of the resort to ensure proper physical distancing (e.g. indoor spaces, parking lots, common spaces, etc.).
Employee Protocols & Training:
• All employees are required to wear a face covering and follow the Company’s safety protocols and procedures at all times, including regular hand washing and use of PPG.
• Employees will undergo daily health screenings and receive appropriate training to ensure safety.
• Employees are required to stay home if sick.
• Guests are asked to stay home if they are sick or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
• Guests will be required to wear face coverings in certain areas. This includes in lines, when loading and unloading chairlifts, when loading and riding in gondolas or bubble chairs, on activities such as an alpine slide or mountain coaster, and in indoor resort facilities. Guests are strongly encouraged to bring their own face coverings, but resorts will have them available upon request, subject to availability. Guests who are unwilling to comply with this safety requirement will not be permitted to participate in the experience.
• All guests are expected to comply with physical distancing guidelines outlined by public health as well as resort signage or as directed by resort employees.
Enhanced Cleaning & Sanitization:
• High-touch surfaces will be frequently cleaned and disinfected with EPA-approved products that kill the COVID-19 virus.
• Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting will take place daily in our gondola cabins, frequently throughout the day in our public restrooms and after each use on our alpine slide and mountain coaster carts.
• Hand sanitizing stations will be provided throughout the resort. Frequent handwashing is required of employees.
• All transactions for lift and gondola rides, mountain activities, on-mountain dining as well as at the Company’s lodging, retail and rental outlets will be cashless.
Hospitality & Lodging:
• Guests will be asked to maintain physical distancing guidelines and use face coverings when in common areas.
• One guest per family will be allowed to enter the lobby for check-in/out.
• Credit/debit card transactions will be encouraged.
• Room keys will be cleaned and disinfected before they are placed into guest packets.
• To ensure physical distancing, dining facilities will run at reduced capacity with updated floor plans in common areas. Outdoor seating will be available.
• On-mountain dining will only offer grab ‘n go food and all transactions will be cashless.
Vail Resorts will continue to review and update their policies to adhere to the most up-to-date practices to keep employees and guests safe. Opening dates and activities at Vail Resorts’ other North American resorts can be found by clicking here.