Park City’s ski resorts say they are doing their best to enforce mask-wearing, distancing
Bullough: Spread not directly tied to resorts
It’s a common sight for those lucky enough to get a spot on the hill at Park City area ski resorts: people in lift lines without masks, or with a nose hanging out, often standing within 6 feet of each other.
Skiing and snowboarding can offer a brief reprieve from the pandemic, an outdoor activity that feels different — and safer — than many aspects of everyday life.
But officials say the coronavirus can still spread even in the most beautiful settings, and the same mask-wearing and social distancing rules remain in effect at resorts as everywhere else: Guests must wear a mask over their nose and mouth and maintain 6 feet of distance from people who live in different households.
Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough said in an interview that COVID-19 does not appear to be spreading significantly at ski resorts, but that it’s hard to tell definitely because people who contract the disease often visit many area attractions, including the resorts.
“We’re seeing spread in businesses all over, of all types. It’s pretty hard to connect a case to a ski resort,” Bullough said Tuesday. “People go there for a period of time, go dine, go to a bar, do everything else they do.”
Bullough added that the Health Department has a strong relationship with Park City’s resorts and that he has direct lines of communication to their senior leadership.
When a photo circulated of a group of maskless people at Park City Mountain Resort, for example, Bullough said he reached out to the resort’s chief operating officer, who reported that he’d met with the staff that oversees that department to deal with the issue.
Coleen Reardon, Deer Valley Resort’s marketing director, indicated that the resort wanted to “stay safe to stay open.” She said the resort’s policy is that people must wear masks while on Deer Valley property unless actively skiing or eating.
“It’s really tough to please everyone right now,” Reardon said. “We’ve got people thinking we’re way too aggressive in promoting our masking policy, and people like that, taking pictures (of others without masks).”
She said that the vast majority of Deer Valley guests have been compliant.
“Honestly, 99% of people are awesome,” she said.
Jessica Miller, Park City Mountain Resort senior communications manager, said she’s seen the same thing at PCMR.
“While the vast majority of our guests are doing a great job complying with the mask requirement, we need help from everyone,” Miller wrote in an email to The Park Record. “It’s with both the support of our staff — and the personal responsibility of our guests — that we’ll be able to have a successful season.”
A Woodward Park City spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
The officials said staffers at both Deer Valley and PCMR have been diligent in reminding guests to cover their mouths and noses with masks.
“Each and every day on the mountain our team is working hard to remind guests to pull up their masks,” Miller wrote. “They are being as relentless as possible and trying their best at every turn.”
Reardon said Deer Valley has instructed staff members to walk through lift lines and post up at entrances to buildings to remind people to wear masks.
Reardon said the majority of people comply politely when reminded, but that some grow angry. She said when that happens, the guests are told they can either wear a mask or leave.
“That’s the tough thing, right, our staff should not have to be police,” Reardon said. “People should do the right thing during a pandemic.”
Reardon said that, on any given day, there can be around 4,000 people on the mountain at Deer Valley, and that it would be impossible to monitor every guest constantly.
“It can’t all be on us,” she said.
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