FILE - Keystone Ski Resort Colorado

Keystone ski resort in Colorado.

(The Center Square) — Vail Resorts announced Saturday that it’s temporarily suspending its North American operations due to the coronavirus. 

The suspension begins Sunday and continues through March 22. The company operates the Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Vail and Keystone resorts in Colorado, as well as resorts in Utah, California, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and locations in Canada and Australia, among other properties.

As of Saturday, there are 101 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state.

Without question, our top priority has been the health and wellbeing of our guests and employees – and to no lesser extent the health and wellbeing of the communities where we operate,” Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said in a letter. “We know each decision we make has a broad impact far beyond our operations.

Our lodging and property management operations will remain open to service the guests we have on location or those with existing reservations, but we will not be taking new reservations for this upcoming week,” he said.

Katz added that the company will reassess by March 22.

Gov. Jared Polis, who declared a state of emergency last week, praised the company for taking action. 

“I commend Vail Resorts for taking this difficult, responsible step and urge other mountains and resorts to do the same,” he said. “Coloradans and our business community must continue to rise to meet the demand of these challenging times and everyone must do their part in stopping the spread of this virus. The slopes will still be there when this is all over.”

Following the announcement from Vail Resorts, Polis signed an executive order to temporarily close all ski areas in the state.

"We are aware of the great cost that mountain communities face if our downhill ski resorts close, even temporarily. These costs will be borne by local residents and businesses, and by the individuals and families who come to Colorado to enjoy our beautiful mountains and world-renowned skiing," the executive order says. "But in the face of this pandemic emergency we cannot hesitate to protect public health and safety." 

This story has been updated.

 

Regional Editor

Derek Draplin is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as an opinion producer at Forbes, as an editor at The Daily Caller, and as a reporter at Michigan Capitol Confidential and The Detroit News.