The Ontario ski industry says the decision to shut down skiing as part of the December 26 province-wide lockdown is devastating the industry. In a release the industry is asking why golf was allowed to continue to operate throughout the pandemic while skiing has been ordered to close during the new shutdown regulations.
The industry release says the shutdown of skiing caught the industry by surprise because they had been in talks with the government on plans to endure the safety of the sport. An industry release reads, “the recent surprise inclusion of ski hills in the Ontario shutdown regulations will cost ski areas over 25% of the normal operating season. Despite the fact that many resorts were already operating with Public Health-approved adapted operations, and favourable snow conditions, Ontarians will not be able to experience their chosen outdoor recreational activity at this time.”
“28 days of closure will cost the ski industry over 84 million dollars and 9,400 jobs” shared Kevin Nicol, President of the Ontario Ski Resorts Association (OSRA), as he implored health officials to reconsider this decision. “Along with the economic toll, there is the immeasurable impact of this closure on the physical and mental health of Ontarians.”
“The ski industry and the Government of Ontario had been engaged in discussions regarding the operation of ski areas up until the announcement of the provincial shutdown. While ski hills had been identified along with other winter sports as Outdoor Recreational Amenities, the new shutdown level specifically excludes only ski hills. Ski areas have asked for clarification and have received a technical briefing from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture representatives, along with a commitment to form a working group to review the situation.”
The ski industry is calling on the Government to form this working group by the week of January 4, 2021. This deadline is critical to provide ski operators with sufficient time to successfully prepare for reopening.