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Ski resorts close in response to COVID-19

Several ski resorts announced they will be closing operations until further notice in response to COVID-19. (FILE PHOTO -Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Some ski resorts announced they will close operations beginning this weekend until further notice. All of this in response to recent outbreaks of COVID-19 in the state, with the first community-spread case being announced Saturday morning.

Among the ski resorts closing, Deer Valley announced on Twitter it would suspend its operations beginning Sunday until further notice.

 

The resort said it’s closing because in the “best interest” of its guests and the local community.

Following close behind, Solitude Mountain Resort announced it would also close operations effective immediately, along with the other 14 locations operated by the Alterra Mountain Company.

 

Dining, lift operations and rent services would also be suspended, the company said in a statement.

“I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this short notice will undoubtedly create,” said Rusty Gregory, the chief executive officer of Alterra Mountain in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming you back to the mountains as circumstances improve.”

Gregory said the resorts will work with customers to issue refunds as needed.

Vail Resorts, which owns 34 resorts across 15 states and three countries, announced Thursday it would also be shutting down operations in an attempt to stifle the spread of the virus. This includes Park City Mountain Resort in Utah.

“Without question, our top priority has been the health and wellbeing of our guests and employees – and to no lesser extent the health and wellbeing of the communities where we operate,” said Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts. “We know each decision we make has a broad impact far beyond our operations.”

The closure will begin Sunday until March 22, when the company will reassess conditions.

In the meantime, Katz said they will be closing all corporate offices and asking all employees who can to work from home.

“This was not an easy decision to make, as we deeply considered the impact it will have on our guests, employees, and the people and businesses in our communities,” Katz said. “We understand this change may be confusing given our communications of operational changes over the past week, and as late as last night.”

Katz said information on cancellations and refunds are available on Vail’s website.

After announcing Friday it would stay open, Snowbird confirmed Saturday it would be suspending operations beginning Sunday until March 22. After that, the resort will make any further decisions.

Alta Ski Area also announced it would be closing the resort Sunday until further notice.

Woodward Park City also announced it will be closing. The park will be closed starting Sunday until March 22.

And Brighton joined the ranks of Utah ski resorts closing.

The closure starts March 15, and lasts for an undetermined amount of time.

“We look forward to re-opening at the earliest opportunity and will keep guests informed when we have a better understanding of the situation,” Brighton Resort General Manager Randy Doyle said in a statement. “We anticipate heavy call volume and appreciate your patience with us as we strive to accommodate guests quickly and seamlessly.”

 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus 

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading: 

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.  
  • Don’t touch your face. 
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet) 
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.) 
  • Get a flu shot. 

Resources for more information: 

LOCAL: 

State of Utah:  https://coronavirus.utah.gov/ 

Utah State Board of Education 

Utah Hospital Association 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707 

National Links 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization 

Cases in the United States