The New Year is normally the peak season at Ski Resorts in Ontario, but chairlifts are empty, the sidewalks are empty, and most of the hotel rooms are empty today. The President of Blue Mountain Resort says the lockdown is hitting the whole industry hard.

“On Christmas Day, we laid off more than 1000 people. The industry total the number of seasonal employees laid off is around 9000 for most operators, Christmas is about a third of our business,” Blue Mountain Resort President and COO Dan Skelton said.

Under the provinces COVID recovery framework, ski resorts were allowed to stay open even in grey or lockdown areas, but that changed just days before the lockdown without consultation.

“The sector was taken by surprise because they were working so closely with their local public health units and had conversations with different levels of government assuring they would be able to open,” said Andrew Siegwart with the Blue Mountain Village Association.

“So it took everyone by surprise they had made a lot of investments hired a lot of people to be ready, so it was quite a shock to the sector,” he added.

Resorts in Ontario are pegging losses at 84 million dollars this month alone.

Siegwart says the loss is monumental.

“Add to that restaurants, retail stores, related experiences accommodations and that number in terms of economic and job losses is triples,” Siegwart said.

Ontario Snow resorts association is hoping to meet with provincial ministries of Health and Tourism next week to plan a path forward.

Ontario is the only jurisdiction in North America that shut down ski resorts because of COVID-19.