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Bill Kelly: Ford’s wrongheaded shutdown will cripple Ontario’s ski industry

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Ontarians will face a strict, new lockdown right after Christmas, as the province aims to get a handle on COVID-19 cases – Dec 21, 2020

There was snow in ski country last weekend and dozens of Ontario ski resorts opened with the hope of salvaging at least a portion of lost income from the ravages of the pandemic.

But those hopes were dashed this week when the Ford government included ski resorts in the provincewide shutdown for the next four weeks.

The big question, that deserves an answer, is why?

All of the resorts had put strict COVID-19 protocols in place; eating areas were off-limits, social distancing in lineups and ski lifts was strictly enforced.

Read more: Canadian ski resorts seeing busy start to season thanks to COVID-19

Skiers themselves, many of whom already wore face shields for skiing, were wearing protective masks as well, yet the government perceived ski resorts to be a threat to spread the virus.

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The president of the Ontario Ski Resorts Association, Kevin Nichol, is perplexed. There have been no outbreaks associated with ski hills in Ontario, and even in the government’s grey zone lockdown rules, ski hills were allowed to operate under restrictive conditions — that is, until this past weekend.

It’s worth noting that under these new lockdown rules, parks, skating rinks, cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails will remain open.

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Coronavirus: Ontario health official says province needs COVID-19 measures that reduce social interactions – Dec 21, 2020

It just doesn’t make sense to exclude and punish ski resort operators.

It’s a tough job running a ski operation. It’s bad enough when the weather doesn’t co-operate during our relatively short ski season.

But when the government slams the door on these operations, with no apparent justification, the repercussions could be devastating, if not fatal.

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Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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