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Winter with COVID-19 - Update


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I hope there is a chance for Ontario's ski associations to push back, given this call is being made without evidence. Honestly though, perhaps it is best if all resorts in Canada close over the holidays, like Europe. That way, vacationing families, and we know there will be many of those, would have to stick to their vacation homes and not shed covid all over the community. 

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From my understanding they did consult with the Ontario government about the process, and obviously it didn't work. They got shut down anyway. My concern is that since ski areas in Ontario are to be closed, I wonder if there will be anyone crossing the border from Eastern Ontario into Quebec to get their skiing fix, especially in the Gatineau and the Laurentians since it is not a horribly long drive to get there. This could potentially mess it up for us if they do? 

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@Paul well people from Ottawa already go to Quebec as the closest Ontario ski is Calabogie which is an hour away. Oh and Pakenham.  Toronto people don't have an lot of options now with the US border still closed.  Tremblant would probably be there go to, a 6 hour drive! 

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@Paul I think any GTA people who want to ski already have plans for their holidays at Tremblant in their condos and that won't change. Most Ottawa people already ski in Gatineau and that won't change either. I'm confident that as long as the mountains are implementing high quality measures, there won't be any issues, since the whole province of Quebec is in red zone status anyways, and the risk areas such as indoor dining, snacking in the lodge and in person instruction are banned for now anyways. The problem, as always, will be families gathering, whether they are multiple households from the same region, or households from different regions. But with store closures, the risk to the residents of our ski communities overall is minimized.

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@Gordo <extreme eyeroll>. It is silly to tell Ottawa people to not go to Gatineau when the whole region is basically one big city with two governing bodies. Like as if I'm not going to go for a twenty-five minute drive to Camp Fortune when I'm in Orleans, geez. Although I didn't today, due to the weather seeming a little unpleasant.

I am not a proponent of the regional barriers (except when it comes to northern and remote communities) but if they expect people to not cross the provincial boundary to ski then they are kind of out to lunch with their thinking. The only guidance that would prevent anyone from going, imo, especially in Ottawa where we all feel the lockdown is ridiculous given our hospital and ICU stats, is an enforced barrier. Which I hope they don't do. 

In general though we should really all be treating the current "lockdown" like an SIP order. I saw WAY too many people wandering around downtown Ottawa today, and I have no idea what these people are even doing, since stores are closed (although some appear open in defiance or are questionably essential). (For my part, I was picking up some dinner). Get delivery from your grocer/drugstore etc. Don't visit people even in outdoor settings. Stay home and make pie, and save your outings for outdoor activities like skiing. 

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Update: Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has opinions. My opinion is that he needs to support the ski industry and work with the Gatineau mayor to acknowledge the NCR as one big city (much like GMA or GTA), and increase covid safety collaboration. Says Jim: "I think it's just good common sense. I recognize they wait a long time to use those new skies and get out on the ski hill, and they buy their ski pass so they have a lot invested, but obviously, if I was still skiing I would wait and hold off."

umm yeah. That's not how that should work.

https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ottawa-s-mayor-urges-skiers-to-avoid-trips-to-quebec-hills-during-covid-19-lockdown-1.5249639

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https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/quebec-headed-for-full-lockdown-curfews-beginning-saturday-report

It appears as though Quebec is realizing that the pandemic is out of control, and will ramp up slightly their response, with curfews at night starting this coming Saturday. The headline says Quebec is headed for full lock-down but it is not clear what that means at this point other than the nightly curfews. The announcement is rumoured to be tomorrow on the new measures.

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@Shane @Gordo yeah I plan to spend the next four days whooshing my days away. I need to make a quick trip to Ottawa to help my dad move a heavy object upstairs (cause he's having back surgery in a week, corona permitting, and no chance I'd let him move it himself!). Plan is to stop at Mont Rigaud on the way there or back, and also pick up my x-country skis so at least I can do some slow whooshing in park Mont-Royal.

I haven't decided yet if the headline is draconian or not. A small edit appeared to note that "essential" businesses would be allowed to operate, currently ski operations are considered "essential" but if the goal is to reduce movements, I don't think it will stick. 

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HOORAY! From today's announcement, it sounds like skiing will be allowed to continue, however team/race activities will no longer be permitted (and lessons are already not permitted in red zones).

Aside from the ridiculous new curfew which will, for one thing, make my local grocery store that typically closes by 11PM a lot more rammed full of people due to reduced hours, not much is changing in this lockdown. Curbside delivery is allowed again (which means more people back at retail and warehousing work), manufacturing and schools remain open - both are an important source of infections. If it's true that many people are visiting their friends and family in the evenings, I guess that will show in a reduction in new infections in about three weeks after the second gen holiday transmissions have happened - we are still in the 14 day period following NYE, so we will likely continue to see an increase for at least the next three weeks before things start to get under control. 

That said, I anticipate the new "lockdown" will be extended until at least late February because it typically takes 6 to 8 weeks to get infections under control and we are starting at a much later time in the cycle than we did in the spring, and we are not shutting down manufacturing, which we also did in the spring.

So, I guess it's aurevoir night skiing. I anticpate that some mountains may opt to do only a day shift ending at 4 or 5pm, since they have a shift change at 3-4pm normally, and eliminating the second shift will result in cost savings (not to mention electricity savings for night lighting and lift operations). I think we'll be lucky if skiing is allowed right up until 7pm, and if it is, some of us are going to have to book it home afterwards. 

I am waiting to see if the ASSQ will post a summary of any changes resulting from the new measures.

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@Ocean I was night skiing last night at Fortune. It was busy. For people in Ottawa its pretty easy to get home by 8pm if leaving even at 7:30 from the hill.  That said they may opt to just cancel night skiing altogether. Real bummer.  Also lots of people are cross country ski in Gatineau park at night, not sure will happen with that. 

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For me, I am just thankful that the season wasn't put on hold like it had been in Ontario. I'm going to take it a step at a time, and keep it between Orford and Mont Bellevue, if I can score a ticket online at Bellevue. I have a pass at Orford so at least I can ski somewhere. Let's see how this latest lockdown plays out, if and when it's over, I have a couple of places I'd like to check out if it's in the cards for late February, early March. I must say though that my hands have consumed more alcohol that I have recently. Stay safe my friends! 

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