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Letter to the Editor: We need your help, Dr. Henry

'Those of us who have taken the trouble to get vaccinated cannot understand why you would take this clearly avoidable risk'
Bonnie Henry January 22
A Whistler local is calling on provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to reconsider the rules around gondolas and the BC Vaccine Card program this winter. "Please don’t let decisions impacting the health of British Columbians be made in a Colorado boardroom," the letter reads.

(This letter was addressed to B.C.’s Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and shared with Pique.)

While I wish you and yours a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, I am deeply concerned about what your current policy on ski gondolas portends for the coming winter.

I beg you to reconsider and to take note of the fact that Vail Resorts, a U.S.-based multinational with only one property in Canada, is playing “Russian Roulette” with the lives of Whistler/Blackcomb (WB) pass holders, day skiers and visitors.

Surely you can see that packing 10 panting strangers, each with their own loose and soggy interpretation of a mask, into a ski gondola for a 25-minute-plus ride is a potential recipe for disaster.

Most of the time, the windows are frozen shut and the lift stops and starts frequently due to mechanical issues or wind. Under Vail Resorts’ current operating plan, none of the passengers will know if the skier or boarder scrunched in beside them is unvaccinated and/or contagious with COVID-19 (“Delta” or otherwise). It seems obvious that this meets the definition of an “indoor space” from a risk- mitigation perspective.

Those of us who have taken the trouble to get vaccinated cannot understand why you would take this clearly avoidable risk. If you simply extend the vaccine passport system to cover the ski lifts, the logistics will be greatly simplified and you can materially reduce the chance of infection.

As you know, Whistler Blackcomb has closed early for both of the last two ski seasons, stranding pass holders and visitors alike, with cancelled plans and worthless tickets.

Please help us avoid this happening again, and please don’t let decisions impacting the health of British Columbians be made in a Colorado boardroom. We are counting on you to once again amend your Provincial Health Order to help keep us safe.

On a personal note, my healthy 32-year- old son who was double-vaccinated caught COVID-19 last month—likely at a wedding or in a restaurant in Whistler.

Happily, he recovered without medical intervention. My wife is immunocompromised and we are both seniors, so I’m not sure I can risk skiing this season under your current policy.

The vaccine is not foolproof but it does give us a fighting chance, particularly if we carefully avoid contact with those who refuse to get vaccinated. Please help us out by requiring the BC Vaccine Card before boarding a WB lift.

Nick Green // Whistler