SKIING FINALLY ENDS IN SWEDEN
1st April 2020
Last modified on April 15th, 2020
Some ski areas shut on Sunday and others will close on Monday. Some believe they should have done so sooner to prevent further spreading of coronavirus. PlanetSKI reports.
The resort of Idre Fjall closed on Sunday, April 5th at 12:00 pm and for the rest of the winter season.
“Winter season 2019/2020 has now ended. The last rides are made in the hill and the last guests pack up and go home for this time,” the resort said in a statement.
“We want to thank you all for a great season and really hope to see you for the next one.”
It follows the tightened recommendation from the government and the Public Health Authority on the development of the Coronapandemic and to protect the region’s health resources.
“Of course, it is very sad for everyone involved, but we have said from the beginning that we follow the recommendations of the government and authorities and now we have come to a point where we should close,” said the CEO of says Idre Fjall, Andreas Starenhed.
Branäsgruppen, which owns ski resorts at Branäs in Värmland and Kungsberget in Gästrikland, has said also closed its centres on Sunday.
See this earlier story on PlanetSKI.
Two resorts are reported to remain open: Riksgransen and Bjorkliden.
Ski resort owner, Skistar, also closed its resorts on Sunday.
“The ski areas in Sälen, Åre and Vemdalen are closed from 6th April,” said the resort.
“We want to send a big thank you to all the amazing Åregäster and awesome co-workers for this season.
“We look forward to creating winter magic together again soon! Now take really good care of yourself.”
It has received advice from the local health authorities in affected regions and is acting on the advice of the Public Health Agency.
Thousands of people from across Sweden normally flock to the mountain ski resorts over the Easter break, but Sweden’s Public Health Agency has urged people not to travel for non-essential reasons.
This is so that visitors will not put extra pressure on already strained healthcare in Sweden’s rural regions.
The season has another two to four weeks to run and it means the resorts will be closed over the busy Easter period.
“Health care needs to gather strength to take care of an increased number of patients in connection with the spread of covid-19,” said Johan Carlson, Director General of the Public Health Authority.
“An increased number of travellers would risk overloading an already-stressed healthcare.” ,
Sweden’s schools, bars and restaurants remain open and the government is now ramping up its social distancing advice.
People have been told to avoid large social gatherings and public transport at busy times.
New rules are in place limiting the amount of prescription medicines people can get from pharmacies, to limit hoarding.
“If you look at the last month in Sweden our curve is relatively flat, but there’s a fairly sharp rise at the moment,” said state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell after the number of confirmed cases grew by around 500 in one day.
Other Scandinavia countries have a different approach.
Denmark and Norway have imposed tough lockdowns closing ski resorts weeks ago.
On Sunday Sweden reported a total of 401 deaths so far from Covid-19, but said the real figure is likely to be considerably higher due to delays in reporting.
Even with the lower figure the numbers are greater than its neighbours.
Sweden’s total per million people is 37, compared with 28 in Denmark, 12 in Norway and 4.5 in Finland.
Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, has denied trying to build rapid “herd immunity” to the virus.
This was a strategy originally adopted by the UK and the Netherlands before projected soaring death numbers prompted those countries to change course.
“It is good finally to see the ski resorts closing to help limit the spread of coronavirus,” said the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove, who has been following the spread in ski resorts.
“Make no mistake about it ski resorts are ideal locations for the virus to spread as we have seen across the Alps and in North America.
“Sweden is little different to the others even though they may think so, but it is good some social distancing orders were in place.”
James lived in Northern Italy this winter and watched the virus spread.
On leaving Italy he based himself in France and then in Switzerland away from the mountains even though the resorts were still open.
He reported on it and witnessed the closing of resorts in Switzerland and Austria, plus the chaotic closure of all the French resorts.
These are the resorts in Sweden that remained open until the weekend.
“Health and safety goes first and foremost. We want healthcare to have all the conditions they can to cope with this burden of care,” said Stefan Sjöstrand CEO SkiStar.
“We hope that the guests who are booked will choose to book their trip next year. I personally think many need something to look forward to a little further when we have gone through this.”
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