Big White (File photo).

Hundreds of Big White employees lose jobs due to COVID-19

Resort said some employees have already found other jobs in tourism sector

Big White has terminated hundreds of seasonal contracts early for its employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the majority of employees were scheduled to work until at least April, a recent decision by the resort to shutdown its operations for the rest of the season has left many of them scrambling to get home or find other jobs.

Big White Ski Resort senior vice president Michael Balingall said some of the seasonal staff who want to stay in Canada have already found other employment arrangements.

“Many of our staff have left early to work at other Okanagan wineries and golf courses,” said Balingall.

“Some of the staff have also been forced to take a bit of a holiday and stay in Canada. This is a bit tough for everybody.”

Balingall said transporting some of the staff off the mountain has also been a bit of a challenge.

“We are at the mercy of the airlines. Some of our staff can’t even get out of here until the end of the week,” said Balingall.

“However, we are still remaining hospitable to the remaining guests on the mountain.”

Between 40 to 50 employees have been leaving Big White daily for the past week due to COVID-19, which Balingall said has created some labour shortages at the resort.

Balingall said many employees will also have to go into self-isolation when they return home due to the virus.

“There is not one employee in our system that can’t travel because their country isn’t allowing them in,” said Balingall.

“However, the majority of our employees going to Australia and the U.K know they will have to self-quarantine when they get home for 14 days.”

Balingall estimates at this time (March 18) there are around 400 people remaining up at Big White.

For more information on all the closures at Big White, you can visit the resort’s website.


@connortrembley
connor.trembley@kelownacapnews.com

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