COVID-19

Resort reacts to vaccine passports, new restrictions

Keeping up with the new mandates is like trying to score a goal in soccer, “but the goalposts are on wheels,” Aidan Kelly said about the new provincial health mandate
 | September 1, 2021
The resort and village businesses are preparing for a second winter season under provincial health restrictions. Photo Zuzy Rocka.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, briefed the province on new health measures including a proof of vaccination program and reinstated restrictions on gatherings, events and restaurants for the Interior and a mask mandate last updated Aug. 26.

Now, businesses like Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR) are trying to strategize on how to comply with new rules while remaining operable with the new vaccine passport program that comes into effect on Sept. 13.

“The current guidelines and program direction we’ve seen from the province of B.C., outdoor activities are not lumped in there at this time.” said Aidan Kelly, SPR’s chief marketing officer. “There’s no short-term impact for us in terms of the access for biking or skiing this winter.”

However, things are likely to change.

“The information is relatively new for everybody and we’ll learn more in the coming weeks as the [vaccine passport] programs deploy,” Kelly said. 

“The way that you can continue to be successful is to be able to adjust quickly and efficiently. I think we’ve mostly proven our ability to do that. We and our guests were quite happy with how our operations were executed last summer, last winter, and this summer from a health and safety perspective. But we need to keep in mind the goalposts seem to be on wheels.”

SPR’s primary focus will be to put proof of vaccination programs in place for their indoor food and beverage outlets, any indoor events or gatherings and comply 100 per cent with up-to-date provincial health orders. 

It’s yet to be decided if guests will require proof of vaccination come the winter.

“It’s not like all things indoors require proof of vaccination, like retail for example. Once we get programs in place for food and beverage, that will then bring on more internal conversation for us in terms of, are there any other elements of the business where we feel it is important and do we have the ability to implement it for things? [like warming huts or other indoor areas of the resort].

Another ongoing conversation for SPR, and the province, is whether or not to require employees to prove their vaccination status, which they don’t currently require.

“It turns into a fairly complex scenario with a lot of nuances to it; it’s something we are paying fairly close attention to,” Kelly said.

“I would imagine that things will probably look fairly different come winter compared to what they look like today. What that is is anybody’s guess.”

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