COVID-19 UPDATE OCTOBER 2020

We hope you and your families are well and staying safe at this time. Further to our communication at the end of August, we wanted to update everyone on the collective efforts by Management, Staff, the Board of Directors and supporting Committee Members to prepare for the upcoming season. These are unusual times which are requiring extraordinary efforts to devise solid working plans to deliver an enjoyable Club experience this coming winter.

With summer now over, the Fall of 2020 has brought about a new set of challenges as it relates to COVID 19: the return to school for our children and grandchildren. As we write this message to you, the Prime Minister and Health Authorities are asking for increased vigilance in the face of increased numbers of cases throughout Canada. Ontario remains one of four provinces with the highest numbers of cases.

So what does this mean for our ski season? As we indicated in the spring, we have been doing risk mitigation reviews and planning for various scenarios. In early summer, we formed a COVID committee comprised of Club Directors, Management and various Committee Members to look at the implications for the delivery of Club services and the cost that will be incurred. This Committee has been working closely with the Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBH) to ensure we have the latest information on a subject that is fluid and ever-changing. Our goal from the very outset was to attempt to deliver as much as possible of our Club’s value proposition in this unusual and challenging environment. Our core outdoor activities of skiing, snowboarding and hiking seem to align well with what we need to accomplish with ample outdoor space and cold fresh air. We are also adding over 40,000 square feet of new indoor capacity at a time when we need it most.

Our main priorities (at this time) for the upcoming season are to maintain the health and safety or our Members, Staff & extended family and to operate with strict adherence to the Public Health Unit's protocols. Our objective will be to provide as much in the way of outdoor recreation as possible as well as to foster a positive Club experience overall.

Despite the complications and interruptions caused by this pandemic, we are very excited to announce that our new lodge is very close to completion. No one could have anticipated a global pandemic as we started down the path of construction. Our sincere gratitude and recognition goes out to all those who have made Project Legacy a reality but with special emphasis to current Board of Director members Raymond Van Groll and Morgan Peat who are managing this project to completion. This is a monumental milestone for the Club and we are all very excited to enjoy this beautiful new space this winter with the required COVID protocols in place.

Here are some more details to help you and your family understand what to expect this coming season:

THE GOOD NEWS: Despite all the considerations we have to plan for, ski areas like Georgian Peaks provide low risk outdoor recreation for all our Members and Visitors from COVID-19. In fact, most of our current outdoor protocols are already in place. As a private ski club, we have a lot of space out on the hill and with our current membership count, there should be lots of room out there! See more from our friends at Ontario Snow Resorts Association here.

LODGES & INDOOR SPACES: The COVID Committee has recommended and the Board of Directors has approved that the old lodge be left open for at least a portion of the upcoming season and utilized for physically distanced seating. This will provide overflow indoor space at a time when we need it most and will ensure we have 4 buildings to accommodate people indoors (including the West lodge and Alpine Centre). These recommendations were based on extensive work by the F&B and House committees in conjunction with Dalton’s architect to review space capacity while adhering to GBH and provincial protocols. The Deck areas will be utilized subject to physical distancing requirements. Our goal is to ensure that all of our Members have safe access to their Club.

COVERING UP & PHYSICAL DISTANCING: Masks will be mandatory inside all buildings (as is the case currently), and face coverings will also be mandatory in lift lines, riding chairlifts and when being attended to by the Ski Patrol. Our Staff will be required to wear approved personal protection equipment (PPE) while working. Plexiglass guards have also been ordered and will be placed to provide protection in high contact areas such as the membership service counters and dining tables throughout the new lodge. Enhanced cleaning will also be ongoing throughout all lodges in operation.

ACTIVE & PASSIVE SCREENING: Your safe journey to the Club will start before you arrive. Active and Passive screening for Member and Staff prior to arrival at the Club is mandated by the Ministry of Health. http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/2019_reference_doc_symptoms.pdf 

Active Screening will be in place likely through electronic means with more details to follow. It will be everyone’s obligation to adhere to Public Health policy. We will all have a collective duty to keep our ski club and community safe. Please do not plan to visit the Club if you are feeling unwell. Signage will also be posted as a means of passive screening to serve as a reminder to physically distance, perform hand hygiene and wear a mask inside any of our buildings, in lift lines and while riding chairlifts (By-Law GBH- July 17, 2020).

GUESTS: The Board and the COVID Committee believe that a conservative start to allowing Guests is prudent. Having Guests is a Member privilege but in the spirit of operating safely we feel we have to define allowable Guests for the start of the season. As we progress through the winter, hopefully there may be an opportunity to open things up. A Guest can be a member of your family- parents, a sibling or an adult child. A Guest can also be someone you would like to ski with who may not be in your “pandemic pod” (defined as a group of 10 that you have regular contact with such as those in your immediate household). To start the upcoming season, we are recommending the following regarding Guest visits to the Club:

Christmas Break, March Break and Family Day weekend: there will be no Guests EXCEPT the children of Members and their significant others and those in your “pandemic pod”. We want to ensure our families are able to enjoy these important family holidays at the Peaks.

Weekend Guest numbers: will be subject to a daily cap and Visitors will need to be pre-booked by Wednesday of that week. No ticket sales will take place in person. All ticket purchases will need to be done online. This is an added level of protection, allows us to contact trace if required and allows us to monitor and cap Guest numbers as required. Guests still have to pick up a lift ticket and wear it while skiing because the liability waiver is on the lift ticket.

Club exchange tickets: All Escarpment Clubs are suspending exchanges for the 2020-21 season.

FOOD & BEVERAGE: The COVID and Food & Beverage Committees have conducted capacity audits based on physical distancing and indoor seating that look quite favourable based on our current membership numbers and available space. Many options are still being examined to deliver food & beverage to families using an online ordering App and a reservation system for tables. There will be grab and go options and other take-out options. We are also exploring other promising options regarding Food & beverage. We are also building lunch schedules that align with Alpine Program lunch breaks and 40-minute seating time slots. The old Main Lodge and the West Lodge will be reserved for brown bag lunches and for U14/U16 Alpine Program participants. The new lodge will have tables divided by plexiglass in different denominations to allow for various seating configurations. Seated groups at a table will not be able to exceed 10 people.

PAYMENT: Based on a recommendation from the provincial government we will not be accepting cash this season. Also, payment for all food and beverage will aid the Club’s in its contact tracing. When making a purchase you will be required to have your badge with you so that we can get you on your way quickly.

APRES & SOCIAL: Traditionally one of our strong suits as we are known as a Lively Club! This year will require a bit of adaptation to our normal social activities in order to preserve our ability to stay open and operate as a ski club. This will require all Members to govern themselves and remember to abide by our local Health Unit protocols regarding gatherings as well as ongoing physical & social distancing. Après will be limited to available seating and subject to reduced hours this year. More details to follow but we hope to deliver some activities that we can all enjoy at a safe distance and possibly some Après packages ‘to go’ to enjoy safely at home.

ALPINE PROGRAMS: We are looking forward to getting our athletes, young and old, out on the hill to ski, train, and have fun. Tomaz Senk and his Management Team have modified program start times, program meeting locations and will be staggering lunch and break times to alleviate congestion. AOA has made several stipulations for the upcoming season including no weekend races between Clubs. Instead athletes will race internally against their peers. There may be an opportunity for mid-week invitational races for ages 9-16. Our Club races will continue including Adult House League and additional races may be added to provide more experiences for our athletes in all programs. Druxy’s Interclub racing has been cancelled this season, as was previously communicated.

LOCKER ROOM USE: Lockers will be available for Member use; cubbies will not be available as per the Grey Bruce Health Unit's direction. Patrons must always be masked, as previously stated. Please bring a mask to the club but if you are without, the Club will have a contingency supply available. The Club will also provide sanitation products so you can disinfect your locker.

WASHROOM USE: Washrooms will be available in 3 lodges (not Alpine Centre as it is currently slated for Staff use only). These areas will be subject to enhanced cleaning practices as per Health Unit protocols. Increased numbers of waterless hand hygiene products will be placed throughout all lodges.

NURSERY: To help properly assess demand and interest, a survey has recently been sent to our nursery families to establish the expected use this winter. We can then formulate a firm plan based on interest and comfort levels. The province has very clear guidelines around daycare opening/maintenance during COVID and those rules would be strictly adhered to. https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-reopening-child-care-centres

COVID POSITIVE MEMBER/STAFF/GUEST: in the event that a Member, Staff or Guest tests positive for COVID- the GBH authorities will be notified. Contact tracing would be implemented if there was a period of 15 minutes or more of exposure to that index case. A reminder that, our best protection from potential exposure to a case will be by practicing our Public Health measures.

ONGOING COMMUNICATION & DIRECTION REGARDING COVID 19 FOR GEORIGAN PEAKS: Communication will be ongoing pre-season and throughout the season. Various channels will be utilized including the website, email blasts, Instagram, Facebook and the Clubhouse app. We encourage Members to download the Federal Governments COVID Alert app https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/covid-alert.html , keep your social circles small and be diligent when you are away from the Club.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING: The AGM has traditionally always been held in person in the latter part of November. This year’s forum will be a virtual meeting on Saturday, November 28th. Mark your calendars and be sure to join us. The good news with this format is that it will allow more Members to participate. All By-Laws will be adhered to around notification of membership, proxies and the circular. Please stay tuned for more details.

These are obviously unusual times but we have every confidence that we can still enjoy a fabulous winter of skiing and ‘connecting at a distance’ at Georgian Peaks. This upcoming season will no doubt be different from what we are used to but as a cohesive Club with ample space, it is our opportunity to shine. This will require patience, collaboration and vigilance. We thank you in advance for doing your part to make it work.

Is it too early to think snow? We think not!

Wishing you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
 
Wendy Townsend Nick Hamilton Chris Beckett 
President  Incoming President  General Manager