Concern is growing among officials and residents over a huge spike in cases of COVID-19 in Whistler.
From Jan. 1 to Jan. 26, Vancouver Coastal Health said it recorded 288 cases of the virus in the resort community.
This is more than all of the cases identified in 2020, totalling 271 people.
Officials said most of the new cases in January are young people in their 20s and 30s who live, work and socialize together.
None of the cases has resulted in hospitalization or death, the health agency said.
Several popular restaurants in the village have been forced to shut their doors due to exposures, but residents have said that visitors from around B.C. and across Canada are still coming to the area to hit the slopes.
“We’re doing everything we can,” Fergus Foody, who works on the chairlifts, told Global News.
“In the mornings, we do our health screening before coming into work, but there’s not much you can do with so many tourists coming in and out of town. Every weekend is just crazy busy.”
He said he notices an uptick in visitors every weekend, both on the slopes and in the village.
“All the locals are trying really hard to keep the mountain open and everything because we all know if it spreads too much, then jobs and everything will have to be shut down again and everyone has to go back home.”
Mayor Jack Crompton told Global News that now is just not the time for people to travel within the province and again asked everyone to stay home.
Since Dec. 1, Whistler/Pemberton RCMP have issued 15 violation tickets under the COVID Related Measures and Emergency Program Act.
This includes failing to wear a face covering indoors, contravention of the Gathering and Events Order, and organizing or hosting a non-compliant event.
Additionally, on Jan. 18, one person was charged under the Federal Quarantine Act for failure to comply with an order prohibiting or subjecting to any condition the entry into Canada and was issued a ticket for $1,150.
One resident, who lives in staff housing, told Global News everyone is doing their best to keep COVID-19 out of their community.
“All the staff and residents here are doing their absolute best — the best you can do when you have a situation of four people to a room — to keep COVID contained,” the resident, identified only as Dougie, said.
“I think the residents are doing a great job of keeping it together during COVID.”
Dougie said employees in staff housing have been told if they break the rules they could be fired.View link »