At least two staff members at B.C.’s Big White ski resort will be fired and a local restaurant’s lease could be in danger, after a raucous party was held there on Monday evening.
Video shared on social media shows a large crowd of young people dancing close together and on top of tables at Charley Victoria’s All Day Après, a restaurant in the resort community near Kelowna.
Michael Ballingall, senior vice-president at Big White, said he became aware of the party shortly after 7 p.m., while it was still underway.
“The entire management team are absolutely disgusted, appalled, embarrassed,” he told CBC News on Tuesday. “This is the exact opposite of what we should all be doing”
He said there was just one security officer working at the resort at the time, so management called the RCMP, who arrived some time after the party had died down.
Big White has identified two employees, so far, who are visible in the video, and Ballingall said they would soon be fired.
“Quite frankly if any part of our staff are involved in this and we can identify them, they won’t be working with us by the end of the day,” he said.
The restaurant is run by a private operator who leases space in a building owned by the resort.
“We haven’t managed to track him down yet,” Ballingall said of the restaurant operator. “We certainly are trying to get ahold of him because there’s a few people in our upper management who want to speak to him.”
Ballingall said the party showed a “blatant disregard for our contract” with the restaurant.
Party came after dozens were laid off
Indoor social gatherings have been banned across the province since November. The party happened just hours after B.C. health officials announced an end to indoor dining at restaurants and pubs in an attempt to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases. The new public health orders take effect at midnight March 30.
Ballingall said between 60 and 70 people who work on the mountain were laid off as a result of that move.
“We had anticipated that something was going to happen,” he said.
He alleged that representatives of the restaurant spread the word in the community that afternoon that they were open and offering deep discounts on food and drinks.
The restaurant’s management did not respond to requests for comment, and no one was answering the phone on Tuesday afternoon.
The Big White community was the site of a large cluster of more than 230 COVID-19 cases late last year. Many of the cases were linked to social gatherings and staff living in shared homes.