No masks, mass gathering and table dancing.
A party atmosphere inside a private restaurant at Big White Ski Resort on Monday evening has resort management at the popular mountain near Kelowna fuming.
Video captured on social media shows scores of young adults having a good time at Charley Victoria’s. The restaurant is not associated with the resort corporation, other than being located at Big White.
“Obviously, from the resort’s point of view, we’re absolutely disgusted and quite, frankly, embarrassed,” Big White Ski Resort’s vice-president, Michael J. Ballingball, told Global News on Tuesday afternoon.
“(Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry) comes down with the provincial health orders and this operator decided to put his alcohol and food on sale. And, obviously, the staff that were laid off yesterday showed up and the party raged until the police showed up on scene.”
Ballingall added the restaurant operator “decided he was going to do his best to sell as much product as he possibly could. Whether it was defiant of the order or not, it was just a blatant disregard for the law, and for the human commonality of what we’re trying to do here with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Global News has reached out to the restaurant operator.
The negative news incident comes on the heels of a positive announcement on Friday which saw Interior Health declare that a lengthy COVID-19 cluster at Big White had finally been contained.
The cluster was first announced in mid-December and quickly rose to 237 cases.
The resort is slated to close on April 11th, but Ballingall said it damaged the resort’s reputation.
“This is not only a terrible, terrible thing for the reputation of Big White Ski Resort, but for the industry in general,” said Ballingall. “This is something that does not need to happen.
“We all know that there’s pressures on everyone, and there’s financial pressures just like emotional pressures. But this operator took it upon himself that he was going to take advantage of the timeline, and take advantage of some staff that had been laid off and they wanted to have a rage, and that’s what they did.”
Ballingall also warned that “unfortunately, for some of the staff who are still employed by us, if we identify them in the video, we’re going to terminate our contracts with them.”
He also said the resort will be calling the restaurant owner into a morning meeting, stating the resort will be looking at its options.
“When the premier asked us to be responsible for our actions, this is the type of thing that you saw live on video, people just blatant disregard for the provincial health officer’s orders,” said Ballingall.
“To not be wearing a mask inside, not to be sitting at their table, no one cared about the others in that room last night. This upsets us tremendously and, really, we’re going to do something about it.”