Killington Resort

With Vt. Resort's Restaurants Shut Down, Ingredients Become Care Packages for Employees

A long line for free food formed Tuesday at Killington Resort

NBC Universal, Inc.

Vermont's Killington Resort offered employees care packages Tuesday, during a stressful time when the destination's ski lifts aren't running--to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The resort is paying employees for this week, said Killington President Mike Solimano, even after the mountain pressed pause Saturday night.

Still, many across the hospitality sector are bracing for lost wages.

"We know it's going to be a tough time, everyone's going to be hunkering down at home, and we just wanted to help out best we could," Solimano told NECN and NBC10 Boston.

The resort opened up its fridges to some 1,800 employees and a few hundred mountain ambassadors, operating something of a drive-through grocery store to give away provisions free.

The resort was giving away at least two tractor-trailers' worth of food, including hamburger patties, eggs, produce, bottled drinks, bread, and more.

"It's a nice gesture," said Killington employee Michael Belfay.

The food items were ordered before the disease outbreak, intended to sell to customers of the pubs and restaurants scattered all throughout the largest ski resort in the East.

"The care packages we have certainly won't go weeks on end helping out the staff," acknowledged Killington spokeswoman Courtney DiFiore. "But they will help for a little bit, and they'll give them, at least, hope, support, a feeling of being supported and not being alone--I think that goes a long way."

The giveaway came as all Vermont bars and restaurants closed across the state--with the exception of takeout and delivery orders. With retailers and resorts shutting down, too, the labor department said it is preparing for impacts to workers and employers.

"The number of impacted individuals is increasing, and that puts an additional strain on our claim center and our call center," acting Vermont Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington said Monday. "So I would just encourage people to be patient. We'll expedite as quickly as possible, but there is a volume issue as well."

Harrington said the department has certain waivers in place to help speed benefits to affected workers.

Back at Killington, the recipients of the food that would've been served in the base lodges and other resort facilities said they appreciated the support with meal ingredients.

"It's really helpful for us," Killington employee Patrick McDonough said of the free groceries he received Tuesday.

Even after the long line for groceries Tuesday, there is still more food to give away, DiFiore noted.

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