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Ski Resorts and Mountains close early to slow the spread of COVID-19

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Mont Ste Marie aims to be defiant and open anyways tomorrow with both Quads (Vanier and Cheval Blanc). The lodge will be closed but washrooms open.

Here is the Facebook post below. I don't agree with this as the whole idea is to keep people home and safe and avoid contact.

They state "SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT OPEN TOMORROW! We are taking extraordinary measures to ensure safety and will open Vanier and Cheval Lifts only and loading 2 per chair. The lodge will be closed except for the lower level only for washrooms and lift tickets. Bring your own food and drink for outside and tailgating."

I'm eager to see in the morning if they actually open. I'm sure extraordinary measures means paying a very big fine or some sort of repercussion for defying the government's orders. The comments on the facebook post are pretty negative. Some range from "Never skiing there again after this" , "Bought a pass, never again", and so forth.

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https://www.facebook.com/MontSteMarie/photos/a.295609143795003/2978959795459911/?type=3&theater

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Kinda crazy. Why wouldn’t they just say the hill is open for touring while everything else is closed. 

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As of today March 16th, Nova Scotia ski areas are now closing. Cape Smokey, Ski Ben Eoin, Ski Martock, and Wentworth have announced their closures for the season.

 

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Just minutes ago, Mount Norquay - Banff has just announced on their Facebook page they are suspending operations. Now the closures are starting out West.

Mont Farlagne in Edmunston, NB has also posted their closure as well today, along with Sugarloaf Provincial Park in Atholville, NB.

Marble Mountain, NL is now also closed.

So friends this is the end of the season as we know it! 

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@Paul @Shane @Gordo all ski areas need to close NOW.

And we should be putting pressure on those who haven't done the right thing to do so immediately for the health and safety of all skiers. Clearly Sudermann didn't get the memo, for example. And to be fair Les Sommets didn't either, although from their social media you can clearly see that many of their customers get it!

As an example of the problem, I heard today that a group of skiers who were on a recent ski trip to Colorado were all diagnosed positive - and went skiing anyways! It is possible they will be charged for disobeying quarantine, apparently. 

I would also like to elaborate about the situation. My background before my current role was in pandemic and infectious disease at PHAC. I have intimate familiarity with Canada's pandemic plan, our stockpile, provincial plans in every province and some First Nations communities, in addition to understanding how the public health system works in every single Province and Territory in Canada and the basics around vaccine development, production and distribution. If any of you guys have questions or need any support or good information in helping other friends or family understand the situation (beyond just the ski hill closures!) feel free to ask me as I've followed this since it was starting to be reported in the media back in January. I'll admit to being oversaturated this week in particular but I have LOTS of information to offer that will help people draw the right conclusions.

So, let's take a look at Ottawa, where a few days ago there were five cases diagnosed. With every diagnoses we know there are likely to be ample more contacts of the infected individual who become infected themselves, and Dr. Vera Etches of Ottawa Public Health estimated there are up to one thousand undiagnosed and/or asymptomatic cases walking around Ottawa right now. Each 2-3 days, that number can double. And by the way, while we are testing, we are having to triage who gets a test and there are lengthy wait times right now so priority cases will be the individuals with more serious symptoms. Looking at Montreal, yesterday we had 11 cases diagnosed, so imagine about 2000 cases walking around town going about their regular business. You see very quickly how this can become a problem even outdoors when people are lining up together and taking chairlifts and gondolas and even just using the restrooms, because transmission is both aerosol (droplets in the air...not the same at all as airborne, and this is being misreported quite a bit) and the virus can live on surfaces for a minimum of three days (according to research that is currently in peer-review process). So you just can't have people socializing - at all.

My advice: Stay Home. 

If your employer has not made arrangements for you to work from home yet and you have the capability, do not wait for permission - beg for forgiveness. Unless your role is an essential service to your employer, you need to protect yourself and your family from exposures. Office exposures are in the top list of how people are becoming infected.

If you need to go out to a store for any reason, try and go during off peak hours, to smaller stores. Stay out of CostCo and Superstore etc.

Do not go to bars and restaurants. Do not even get takeout and especially do not get delivery (it should be obvious that the service industry has always come to work sick because they don't have sick days, and that delivery people interact with a high volume of people).

Definitely do not go to a movie theatre. If they haven't closed in your area do not support them in staying open by not going.

Social distancing unfortunately also means no hanging out with friends. You can't confirm you have never been exposed in your day to day activities, and neither can they. Two weeks isn't a long time to pass not socializing and in two weeks we may succeed in flattening the curve. Do expect however that in the next three weeks following the march breaks, numbers will jump frighteningly high here (hell our current diagnosed cases is frightening to me!), and more so in the US. I do not think we will be keeping the border open to US citizens for very much longer.

We are currently three weeks behind Italy in terms of numbers so this week especially is the most important week to stay home!! 

If you have friends or family who are continuing to go about their lives, educate them and/or shame them until they understand they need to stay home. My friends in San Francisco and Reno began a three week lockdown tonight, and NYC is next. Let's all behave so that our civic leaders don't need to make it to this draconian next step.

Most importantly: don't panic. If you haven't already, quietly prepare (no panic shopping!) and then enjoy a few weeks as a recluse. 

I am going to wait a few weeks for things to calm down and do some local, covert hiking. If you do the same, please do not go to another region to do that. Stay in your region/province. 

I am sad to see the lift-serviced skison go. I still need to figure out how many days I actually skied but it is probably 80 something. I have a huge backlog of trip reports to contribute so will focus on that in my spare time in the coming weeks after I can wean myself off the 24 hours news cycle horror show.

Let's all smother this virus by not giving it a means to spread - so we can all happily whoosh into the next season.

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In case people were wondering, at 10pm Sunday night, Mont Ste Marie said that after confirming with the ASSQ, they would in fact not open after all.

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@Shane yes but read the Alterra closure notice vs the Camp Fortune closure notice (the same one posted to MSM's page) - you can clearly see who gets it and who hasn't come around yet. :/ so I propose we "help" any of the remaining hills make the right choice. 

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As was to be expected, yesterday the ASSQ announced that the ski season in Quebec has officially come to an end for this year. They do mention that barring some exceptional circumstance, all mountains will remain closed until the next season. It is added that summer preparations can start ahead of time to get ready. 

Hopefully the health situation will improve and not ruin the summer months as well.

I just saw in the news that Doug Ford, Ontario premier has ordered all non-essential businesses to close as of 11:59pm Tuesday night. And yesterday, Francois Legault, the Quebec premier, ordered all schools closures extended until May 1st and now all shopping malls to close as of last night.

While the end of the ski season is disappointing, and again I never made it out.... it doesn't bother me too much. More concerned about what is going on in the world. Hoping for the best for everyone.

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So Montreal is a hotspot now, literally the entire area around my neighbourhood, Outremont, Park Ex, Plateau (includes Mile End). Also @Paul Estrie is a hot spot and people are advised now to go neither to Montreal or Estrie. Stay home and stay in your neighbourhood! ❤️

Maybe we'll get lucky and still have some snow in May for some hikes...

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@Ocean @Shane and @Gordo, All is okay for me, started a new job just before this mess really broke out, and now all set up working from home now. It's been a bit stressing getting trained remotely, but the extra sleep in time certainly helps out. It's been a total.......well I'll keep it clean here, mess. Sherbrooke seems to be the hotspot now in the Townships, and no plans on heading out. Heck I don't even have gas for the BBQ! Got caught on that one, should have filled up when it ran out last fall! Stay safe everyone!

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