Ski resorts feeling the $90 million pinch of the lockdown
BARRIE, ONT. -- Ski resorts feel the pinch, with the lockdown's price tag hitting steep heights.
"Probably close to $90 million just for the 50 resorts in the province," said Ontario Ski Resorts Association's president, Kevin Nichol.
Nichol says that for the first time in 30 years, the industry may have to look to the government for a bailout to survive.
He says 9,000 jobs were lost before Christmas.
"Our protocols were working well, and then all of a sudden the government has decided that they don't want us to operate," Nichol says he feels the ski industry was singled out.
"The fact that we're the only jurisdiction in North America not skiing right now, and we worked side by side with all the other regions and developed all the same procedures... and yet, here we are in Ontario. I don't know why we are being treated differently," he says.
Some resorts are looking at other options to remain open. Snow Valley offers snowshoeing, but even so, owner John Ball says time is running out to recover long-term.
"If we lift the lockout on the 23rd of January, we're looking at having a 70-day season, which is significantly less than we had before, and it will impact the resort going forward," Ball noted.
At Horseshoe Resort, Jonathan Reid says nordic activities are in full swing, but the resort still faces a significant loss.
"We literally invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in everything from [the] lineup to signage, to outdoor rental centres, and it's all been shut down," he says.
Reid adds that the lack of communication has proved the most challenging. "Do we continue to make snow? Do we continue to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to open - to get ready on the 23rd? Or do we not?"
With 600 jobs lost at Horseshoe and little direction on moving forward, concerns continue to mount.
The province-wide lockdown is in place until at least Jan. 23, but with Ontario's COVID-19 cases on the rise, the government could extend the restrictions.