Environment Scanning ∘ March 6 – March 26

Local News

Ski resorts suspend operations due to coronavirus

  • Multiple resorts around the Shenandoah Valley area, including Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort, Wintergreen Resort and Massanutten Resort have suspended most or all operations.
  • Snowshoe Resort closed all its lift operations, food and beverage, and retail services despite the lack of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in West Virginia at the time of this decision. 
  • Massanutten Resort and Wintergreen Resort both closed their snow sports and indoor facilities, but some outdoor amenities remain open. 

James Madison, Bridgewater College Call Off In-Person Class For Rest Of Semester

  • James Madison University and Bridgewater College have cancelled all in-person classes and will be holding classes online for the rest of the semester. This decision is an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 among students, their families and friends.
  • Campus buildings are closed to the public and students who live on-campus are required to move out by March 29 at both schools. Additionally, all events are cancelled or rescheduled, regardless if they exceed the CDC’s recommended gathering size or not. 
  • Many college students go to Massanutten Resort to ski or snowboard in order to get away from the stress of school. These school closures will result in the resort losing a large amount of its patrons and therefore revenue. 

Social Media

Massanutten Moment – Facebook

Massanutten Resort introduces “Massanutten Moment,”  a resource to comfort and calm the mind while practicing social distancing and isolating at home. This device includes tips and tricks on how to remain tranquil, happy and healthy while handling the grief and stress of COVID-19. 

Massanutten Resort Guide – Blog

Written by a pleased customer of Massanutten Resort, this blog gives readers an insight on the pros of the resort, where to stay and what to do to ensure the best possible experience.

Activity Line Up – Instagram

To assure safety and promote the practice of social distancing, Massanutten Resort has created a schedule of “social distancing-friendly” events. These events allow locals to get out of the house, destress and get a breath of fresh air during these tough times.

Industry News

Vail, Alterra Close 49 Ski Resorts Amid Virus Outbreak

  • Some of the nation’s largest ski resort companies have decided to close 49 of their most well known resorts due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • This decision has created confusion among patrons of Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Company, as both companies originally vowed on Saturday to stay open during the pandemic, while still practicing safe measures. 
  • Both companies have promised to work with customers money wise who have bought tickets or planned to go to their resorts for the next few weeks.
  • Massanutten Resort must make sure that it is communicating with its employees, patrons and other stakeholders as clearly as possible to avoid any confusion. It has been releasing consistent information so far and should continue with this practice. 

Trump moves to blunt coronavirus’ heavy impact on US economy

  • President Trump’s administration is expected to propose an $850 billion economic stimulus to address the fall of the economy. One proposed means of achieving this is by  sending checks to all individuals in the workforce. 
  • Businesses small and large alike have been financially impacted by shutdowns and closures. The tourism industry is specifically being affected more and more each day, such as hotels who are reporting occupancy rates in the single digits. 
  • Loss in business for tourist attractions could result in job losses and permanent closures, as corporations and organizations may not have the savings or funds to sustain their business with minimal revenue. 
  • Massanutten Resort has shut down most of its facilities, leaving many employees out of a paycheck for a while. Senior management needs to carefully consider how the resort will handle this situation, as their decision could greatly impact the reputation of the company and cause potential damage to people’s lives.

Advisory

In order to ensure that business can continue like normal as quickly as possible, it is important that Massanutten Resort management officials do their part in closing resort facilities in addition to practicing and encouraging social distancing of their guests and employees. Massanutten Resort has already begun to take necessary steps to ensure the health and well-being of its guests and employees and is communicating everything clearly and transparently. The resort must evaluate how or if it is going to help support its employees who are currently out of work. It is crucial that Massanutten Resort stays proactive in the measures it is taking to minimize any negative health, economic and social impacts.  

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