By Virginia Dean
All resort operations at Pico and Killington were suspended Saturday night, effective March 15-22, in an effort to limit the spread and risks associated with COVID-19, according to Mike Solimano, president and general manager of Killington and Pico.
“Our top priority is the safety of our staff, guests and local community,” said Solimano. “This is an unusual and dynamic situation. However, we continue to believe outdoor mountain recreation provides a meaningful escape to nature, which is what made this a difficult decision but the correct decision for now.”
The suspension will include all mountain operations, food and beverage and skier services until at least March 22, Solimano said. And likely longer, as Vail Resorts announced Tuesday that its resorts would remained closed for the season — that includes Okemo.
Pico Mountain ticketing and central reservation department will remain open to service guests on site but no new reservations will be taken for the remainder of March when Pico usually closes for the season.
Pico has also modified its cancellation policies. Individuals who need to shift their plans or want to book for a future visit with enhanced flexibility should contact 800-621-6867.
“We anticipate heavy call volume over the next several days and appreciate guests’ patience as we work hard to respond to all inquiries,” said Solimano.
Although he said he cannot disclose the financial impact of the suspension, Solimano related that it is “substantial.”
“March and the beginning of April are very big revenue months,” he commented.
The decision to extend the March 22 reopening will be made this week, Solimano said. Guests who have booked trips for this week have been refunded or will be shortly, he added.
Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports has also decided to suspend its programs for the remainder of the winter season, Solimano said.
“We are monitoring the dynamic situation and will continue to follow the advice and guidance of federal and state officials and health agencies,” said Solimano.
Although he did not require the ski resorts to suspend their operations, Gov. Phil Scott did order the closing of bars and restaurants across the state effective Tuesday, March 17 through April 6. In the meantime, restaurants will be allowed to offer takeout and delivery services.
Some businesses, like Phoenix Books of Rutland and Woodstock, remain open in addition to offering home delivery at no additional cost.
“Just call the store (802-855-8078) and a bookkeeper will help you choose books and complete the sale over the phone,” according to the Phoenix Books Rutland Facebook page. “Then your books will be delivered to your house and left in a convenient spot. This is the least we can do for our wonderful community of readers who have faithfully supported us for the last five years.”
The Inn at Long Trail in Killington has shut its doors and will reopen when Scott’s executive order is lifted.
“I think that’ll be around Memorial Day,” owner Patty McGrath said.
“Sorry folks, it wasn’t meant to be but not for the lack of trying!” the restaurant’s Facebook page reads. “Stay healthy and we’ll see you when we can.”
The Foundry at Summit Pond in Killington is also closing its doors effective Tuesday, March 17.
“As we continue to learn more about the COVID-19 pandemic, we will stay informed and under the guidance and recommendations of healthcare officials, will reopen as soon as deemed safe and responsible to do so,” according to the Foundry’s Facebook page. “We look forward to a time that we can once again welcome you to our table and provide the signature food, drink, and entertainment the Foundry is known for.”
DJ’s Restaurant in Ludlow closed on Monday, March 16 and will re-evaluate daily based on the changing recommendations of the Vermont state government and the CDC.
“Our love and concern for our community, customers, and staff has brought us to make this decision at this time,” according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. “Stay tuned for daily updates. Together we will all get through this and emerge stronger than before. Thank you all for supporting our business. Please take care of your families.”
Table 24 in Rutland closed Monday and Tuesday, March 16&17 and will continue to monitor the events and update everyone on the next steps.
“We wish everyone great health and look forward to serving you soon!” as stated on its Facebook page.
The Woodstock Inn is closed until March 30.
In Ludlow, the Echo Lake Inn has closed two weeks early this year. Both the inn and the Restaurant are closed to the public as of Tuesday, March 16.
“We have always had a commitment to this community and the time has come for us to prioritize the health and safety of those around us,” the Inn’s Facebook page states. “As we are sure you are aware, ski resorts and many other businesses in Vermont have taken this step alongside us. We want to thank you for joining us early in this phenomenal ski season and look forward to welcoming you back when the flowers start poking their heads up through Memorial Day weekend. We are expecting a beautiful summer, and thank you again for supporting us.”
Gov. Scott’s statewide order comes with the caveat of implementing additional reductions or prohibitions as needed, according to the Vermont governor’s office.