Big White

Skiers stands at the top of Big White ski resort in this Canadian Press file photo.

Big White did not fire any workers who were sickened by COVID-19, resort officials said on Thursday.

Media reports Wednesday suggested or stated that the employees fired by Big White were among the 60 people identified as part of a COVID-19 cluster.

“The people we have let go are not part of the cluster,” resort vice-president Michael Ballingall told The Daily Courier on Thursday.

Those who were fired either violated provincial public health orders regarding such things as not gathering together with strangers at indoor spaces, they breached the terms of employment agreements they signed with Big White, or they didn’t honour stipulations in their accommodation contract, he said.

“We have a zero tolerance policy in these matters, and they all knew that,” he said.

The resort requires workers to sign a Social Responsibility Contract in which they agree to follow all COVID-19-related health and safety protocols and abide by all directives concerning the use of personal protective equipment, Ballingall said.

Big White provides housing for about 150 of its employees, but hundreds of others live in privately owned accommodations scattered across the resort.

Interior Health authorities said there have been as many as 16 or more people living together in some units, with up to four people sharing a bedroom.

Big White remains open for skiing and snowboarding.

“Outdoor activities at Big White are considered safe for anyone following public health direction such as physical distancing, wearing a face covering, and staying home when sick,” IH says.