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Whistler Blackcomb closed for the rest of the ski season due to coronavirus

Click to play video: 'Whistler Blackcomb to shut down as Vail Resorts ceases operations due to coronavirus' Whistler Blackcomb to shut down as Vail Resorts ceases operations due to coronavirus
In an unprecedented move over the global COVID-19 pandemic, the owner of Whistler Blackcomb has announced it is closing all of its North American mountain resorts for at least one week starting Sunday. Our Sophie Lui has reaction from Whistler tonight – Mar 14, 2020

Whistler Blackcomb will remain closed for the rest of the ski season.

Vail Resorts announced Tuesday that it is closing all of its North American resorts and retail stores for the remainder of the ski season in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The company says guests can get refunds and credits for anything already purchased. Vail Resorts is leaving the door open to re-opening in late April or early May depending on the coronavirus situation and weather conditions.

The company says its owned and operated lodging properties will close on Friday, March 20, with final check-ins allowed until 3 p.m. PT Tuesday.

Click to play video: 'Whistler Blackcomb to shut down as Vail Resorts ceases operations due to coronavirus' Whistler Blackcomb to shut down as Vail Resorts ceases operations due to coronavirus
Whistler Blackcomb to shut down as Vail Resorts ceases operations due to coronavirus – Mar 14, 2020

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Tuesday’s announcement comes after the company said it would close its resorts from March 15 to March 22.

Employees will be paid during the eight-day period, and will not need to resort to using vacation or sick time, CEO Rob Katz said in a statement.

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“Their commitment to our company and guests during this uncertain time has been unwavering and I am personally grateful beyond words,” he said.

“This was not an easy decision to make, as we deeply considered the impact it will have on our guests, employees, and the people and businesses in our communities.”

Click to play video: 'Dr. Bonnie Henry on ‘essential’ travel and measures announced during coronavirus outbreak' Dr. Bonnie Henry on ‘essential’ travel and measures announced during coronavirus outbreak
Dr. Bonnie Henry on ‘essential’ travel and measures announced during coronavirus outbreak – Mar 13, 2020

On Friday, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged families to spend time together outside and venture to outdoor activities within the province, specifically mentioning Whistler.

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The resort itself had promised it would remain open as late as Saturday morning while advising visitors that social distancing and enhanced health measures were being encouraged and enforced.

Katz said he understood the confusion created by the change in messaging, adding the late notice was due to efforts to minimize “additional issues from operating in further uncertainty.”

“Please know that this has been a fast-moving, constantly developing situation with new information from our communities coming to us by the day, if not by the hour, and we are trying to react as quickly as we can,” he said.

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In addition to Whistler Blackcomb, Vail operates 33 resorts in the U.S., with multiple properties in Colorado, Utah, California, Pennsylvania and Washington state.

Vail said it will also be closing its corporate offices and is asking all staff apart from essential personnel to work from home.

More details for Whistler Blackcomb visitors and pass holders on refunds, cancellations and re-bookings can be found here.

READ MORE: UBC, SFU, UVic moving to online instruction amid coronavirus crisis

Ski hills across the province have closed amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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