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Manning Park Resort workers report at least 20 cases of COVID-19 among staff

But management says protocols are being followed and sick employees are taken out of workforce
(Manning Park Resort photo)

A COVID-19 outbreak is moving through staff at Manning Park Resort and several employees are not happy with how management is dealing with the situation.

Management, however, say they are following public health protocols by taking symptomatic staff out of the workplace and ordering them to self-isolate.

One staff member, whose name The Progress has agreed to keep anonymous, said on Tuesday (Dec. 28) there were four confirmed cases of COVID-19 “along with dozens of sick staff.”

By Thursday, she said that was up to 20 confirmed cases that they know of with more workers in the process of getting tested. That comes from self-reported information among the staff shared on a private Facebook group.

Manning Park Resort general manager Vern Schram, however, said the resort has “a couple of cases” and some people showing flu-like symptoms.

“In the 22 months that we have had (this pandemic), this is the first incidence we have had and we take it pretty seriously,” Schram said Thursday. “We are trying to do the best we can to contain it.”

The staff member who first contacted The Progress spoke over the phone from her residence at Manning where she is self-isolating with her sick roommates.

“I’m not that sick,” she said when asked about her symptoms. “But one of my roommates got really sick, she was asked to have a chest X-ray when she got tested.”

Another staff member who got in touch said he feels like the outbreak is being “pushed under the rug by the company, which is in turn compromising our safety as well as the public.”

A widespread shortage of workers combined with sick staff means Manning is pushed to its limits. In an Instagram post on Wednesday, the resort said that due to significant staffing shortages they will be running with limited operations.

One staff member said from the chairlifts to the pub to ski lessons to housekeeping, workers are pushed to their limits.

When Schram called in response to a request to comment, the general manager said he himself was taking a break from making beds at the hotel.

“As you are aware, there is a serious worker shortage and with some of our staff now showing flu-like symptoms, we make them unavailable for work until they feel better and the management team tries to fill in the gaps for our guests,” Schram said.

But while some staff who are complaining say the resort should be shut down temporarily to get over this outbreak, Schram insisted it was safe for visitors.

“If it wasn’t safe for guests we wouldn’t be open,” he said. “We are not going to compromise the safety of anybody. That’s just the bottom line.”

Manning Park Resort is in the Interior Health region. An Interior Health spokesperson said they had nothing flagged at Manning Park as far as an outbreak.

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