USA Ski Resorts Consider Staff Vaccination Policy


President Biden has ordered all private companies with more than 100 employees to make vaccinations compulsory or ensure non-vaccinated employees are tested each week.  Resorts are also releasing details of Covid-19 rules. NEW

Aspen and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado were amoung the first US ski resorts to announce that all staff would need to be vaccinated.

Vail Resorts have followed suit.

A-Basin Chief Operating Officer Alan Henceroth said in a blog post that all of the ski area’s current, unvaccinated employees will have to receive their final vaccine shot by November 2nd.

The resort usually opens in late October.

“Our intention is to protect the safety and well-being of our employees and guests and to keep our business open, viable and sustainable,” said Henceroth.

“By requiring vaccinations, we will reduce the chance of employees transmitting and contracting the disease as well as reduce the amount of business interruption caused by employee absences related to illness and quarantines.”

90% of staff have already been vaccinated.

The USA has eased entry requirements and it is expected this will lead to greater interest from UK skiers and snowboarders.

Aspen has announced that it will require employees to be vaccinated before the start of the ski season.

“We all value autonomy and freedom of choice in this country,” Aspen Skiing Co. President and CEO Mike Kaplan said in an email sent to employees, according to The Aspen Times.

“However, when our individual choices affect the wellbeing of our fellow employees and community members, as an organization we must look through a broader lens that prioritizes our collective safety and wellbeing.”

Other resorts in Colorado including Steamboat, Winter Park and Loveland are examining their options.

All Vail Resorts employees will be required to have COVID-19 vaccinations “for their safety and protection as well as the safety and protection of guests and resort communities”.

Vail Resorts own and runs 34 ski areas and said it is doing so “in compliance with the recent rules announced under the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.”

Indoor face coverings, enhanced hygiene practices, daily employee health screenings, and other health and safety measures will continue.

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us,” President Biden said to unvaccinated Americans as he announced the Executive Order from the White House this month.

Skiing in the USA

Skiing in the USA. Image © PlanetSKI.

Resorts in the USA are broadly owned and run either by Alterra Mountain Company or Vail Resorts.

“The health and well-being of our guests, employees, and community is our top priority as we deliver enhanced operations to help combat the spread of COVID-19,” said a statement from Alterra.

Here are the details from Alterra:

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Employees are required to wear a face covering, covering nose and mouth, when within six feet of another person and at all times when indoors
  • Guests are asked to wear face coverings when indoors or as posted
  • Face coverings are required in restaurants except when sitting at a table
  • Face coverings are not required, but encouraged outdoors, especially when near others

Cleaning & Sanitizing

  • Hand washing and sanitizing stations are placed throughout the destination
  • Our cleaning staff has implemented new protocols and is utilizing cleaning products effective against viruses, bacteria and other airborne or blood borne pathogens in key areas
  • We are disinfecting high-touch points (railings, bathrooms, door handles, tables, chairs, etc.) and high-trafficked areas (gondolas, ticket windows, elevators, doors, guest rooms, etc.) throughout the destination more frequently

Social Distancing & Limited Capacities

  • Guests are asked to practice social distancing by standing at least six feet away from other individuals not traveling with them throughout the destination
  • Plexiglass has been installed at key transaction centers as additional protection when social distancing is not possible
  • Gondolas and chair lifts will be loaded at a reduced rate with your safety in mind
  • Guests will load the gondola in groups they arrived with, or at a reduced capacity
  • Shuttles will run at reduced capacity
  • Guests are not to tailgate in the parking lots, no congregating is allowed

Dining

  • Restaurant tables and other physical layouts will be arranged to ensure appropriate distancing
  • Outdoor dining will be expanded and used as often as possible
  • All destination properties and retail outlets will comply with local or state mandated occupancy limits
  • No shared food and beverage equipment will be in use such as coffee makers and fountain drink machines

Lodging

  • Check-in with social distancing measures in place
  • Enhanced guest room cleaning will be implemented between stays
  • Face masks will be worn by all employees and encouraged for guests in shared spaces
  • All employees will be provided approved PPE including face coverings which will be worn at all times when indoors. Gloves will be provided to appropriate employees such as housekeeping and maintenance.

Alterra offers skiing on its IKON pass.

Image c/o Ikon Pass

Vail Resorts has also announced how its 34 resorts will operate under Covid-19 restrictions this winter.

  • Lifts and gondolas will be loaded at normal capacity.
  • Face coverings will be required indoors.
  • Reservations won’t be required for skiing and snowboarding.
  • There will be a vaccination requirement for guests 12 and older wanting to eat indoors at cafeteria- style restaurants, but not for full-service restaurants.

When people purchase a pass, the terms & conditions outline that all guests will be required to follow health and safety protocols as a condition of using their pass.

Breckenridge, USA

Breckenridge, USA. Image © PlanetSKI

“We are fortunate that the core of our experience takes place outdoors in vast mountain settings,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.

“However, as we welcome guests from around the world to the indoor experience at our resorts, we feel it’s important to do our part to combat the spread of COVID-19.

“We all need the opportunity to enjoy and experience the great outdoors, and we could not be more excited to welcome guests back to our resorts for the 2021-22 ski and ride season.”

See here for the full details: Covid-19 protocols for the 2021/22 Season

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Image © PlanetSKI



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