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Apology issued in aftermath of ‘raging’ party at B.C. ski resort restaurant

A public apology has been issued in the aftermath of a “raging” party held Monday inside a private restaurant at a B.C. ski resort.

Restaurant owner Justin Reid posted the apology on Wednesday morning, stating he was sorry for the wild atmosphere inside his establishment.

Video on social media showed scores of young adults crammed inside Charley Victoria’s at Big White Ski Resort, whooping it up. Along with table dancing, the revellers weren’t wearing masks and also ignored social-distancing guidelines.

Read more:
‘Raging’ private restaurant party at B.C. ski resort called disgusting, embarrassing

On Tuesday, Big White Ski Resort senior vice-president Michael J. Ballingall told Global News, “Obviously, from the resort’s point of view, we’re absolutely disgusted and quite, frankly, embarrassed.

“(Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry) comes down with the provincial health orders and this operator decided to put his alcohol and food on sale. And, obviously, the staff that were laid off yesterday showed up and the party raged until the police showed up on scene.”

The restaurant is not associated with the resort corporation, other than being located at Big White.

Notably, the party happened just hours after provincial officials announced a ‘circuit breaker’ earlier in the day, stating it was temporarily closing all indoor dining at bars and restaurants.

Click to play video: Lingering confusion in hospitality industry over B.C. government’s three-week shutdown

In an apology posted to the restaurant’s Facebook page, Reid said, “I take full ownership for this ignorant decision that I made out of pure selfish frustration over the recent announcement, regarding COVID restrictions in our community.”

“My decision to let his happen was wrong. I take full accountability for accept all consequences of this poor decision. As a community, we have all been working so hard and making sacrifices to curb COVID-19 and keep each other safe, and what happened at Charley’s Monday night was unacceptable and did not demonstrate leadership or compassion for my community, in which I care deeply about.

“Charley’s was created to be a safe space for all-mountain goers and I let you all down, and for that, I’m deeply sorry.

Read more:
COVID-19 — Whistler Blackcomb announces it will not reopen for winter season

“I would like to apologize to Big White Ski Resort, as they have shown me respect and have welcomed me into their business community during Charley’s first year of operation and I’m aware and realize what I potentially jeopardized for them, and for that, I’m truly sorry.

“I would also like to apologize to my staff. The Charley’s team has made my business what it is today and is the reason so many people have enjoyed coming here, I owe you all so much, and will work to earn your trust back as a leader.

“The frontline and essential workers in the Okanagan are the true heroes and have put our health and safety first as we have navigated the pandemic, I’m so very sorry for the disrespect I’ve displayed.”

Click to play video: Okanagan ski resorts remain open, despite Whistler Blackcomb closure

The comments from Reid’s post varied wildly, from apology accepted to some saying they’ll never step inside the restaurant again.

The party also happened just 48 hours after Big White received a dose of good news. On Friday, Interior Health declared the ongoing COVID-19 cluster hanging over the resort since mid-December had finally been contained.

That bit of positive news, though, was buried by video of Monday’s party.

“This is not only a terrible, terrible thing for the reputation of Big White Ski Resort, but for the industry in general,” said Ballingall. “This is something that does not need to happen.”

Click to play video: ‘Surprised and disappointed’: Okanagan eateries call for regional approach to new restrictions

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