9,000 jobs lost at Ontario ski resorts amid closures
BARRIE, ONT. -- As the lockdown continues, the number of businesses impacted continues to grow, including Ontario ski resorts, which are losing millions and thousands of jobs have been lost.
CTV's Craig Momney speaks with the Ontario Ski Resort Association president to get the latest on the situation.
Craig Momney: Mr. Nichol, with the lockdown, how are ski resorts managing in our area?
Kevin Nichol: Well, resorts are finding this to be a very difficult time, but I think the message that we want Ontarians to know is that we want to see people back on the snow as soon as possible.
In order to do that, we all have to follow the guidelines the province has laid out and stay in our local communities. Let's get this virus under control so we can get back out on the slopes and enjoy winter.
Craig Momney: But at the same time, there has to be a significant loss right now. In our region alone, how much of a loss are we talking about?
Kevin Nichol: You know, we're part of the hardest hit sector in tourism, but overall we're looking at layoffs of about 9,000 jobs in the province in the ski sector.
That's just resort-specific numbers. That has nothing to do with ancillary businesses that rely on snow sports industries, and we're upwards of $90 million in lost revenue and expenses that we've incurred getting ready to operate during the pandemic.
Craig Momney: Now that the holidays are behind us, which is the busiest season for some ski hills, how can operators survive when each day of winter is critical for survival?
Kevin Nichol: That's a great question. Thirty per cent of our revenue is typically recognized in the Christmas, New Year's season. So that's behind us now.
We recognized long ago that this was going to be an unusual winter for us. We've reduced our capacities, so resorts have been able to, you know, plan for reduced revenues, and that type of thing, so we're focusing now on moving forward and salvaging what's left of our season.
Craig Momney: We're about midway through the recent lockdown? What if that lockdown is extended past its current deadline?
Kevin Nichol: It will be devastating for some of the smaller regional ski operators.
I think they'll be a point in time where there will be a business decision made by each of those ski areas as to whether or not they're just going to close their doors for the season.
I think, you know, we're again part of a large picture of tourism operators and small businesses that will feel the effects of this for years to come. So we're cognizant of that, and we're trying to take the necessary steps to ensure that resorts will stay viable going forward.