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THE COVID-19 IMPACT ON SKIING & SNOWBOARDING CONTINUES

Our ever-popular rolling blog continues as we report on its impact on the world of snowsports. There is, as always, good news and bad news.

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Government coronavirus advice

Government coronavirus advice

Here are the earlier rolling blogs if you want to look back at all the relevant developments over the past weeks as we report its impact and update daily:

April 18th: Coronavirus impact on skiiing and snowboarding continues

April 12th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

April 5th: Coronavirus impact on snowsports

March 29th: Our rolling blog on the impact of Covid-19 continues

March 23rd: PlanetSKI’s rolling blog on the coronavirus impact on skiing continues

SATURDAY 2ND MAY

AUSTRIA EASES RESTRICTIONS FURTHER

Shopping centres, hairdressers and shops with more than 400 sq m (4300 sq f) of sales area were allowed to reopen in Austria on Saturday.

Major electrical retailers, fashion chains, furniture stores and sports retailers were among those to open their doors.

Austria flag

Austria

France has announced plans to extend national emergency measures until 24 July.

Health minister Olivier Véran said the proposal would go before parliament on Monday.

He said lifting the state of emergency  would be “premature” and risk more cases.

France has seen 24,628 deaths.

US SKI & SNOWBOARD TEAM COLLECTS 270 PAIRS OF SKI GOGGLES

They have been given to the ‘GogglesforDocs’ programme.

The goggles were collected by the US team in Park City and Salt Lake City, and have been flown to Santa Monica in California where they are need.

More than 40,000 goggles have so far been donated.

There are currently more than 200 drop off locations across the USA  and more than 500 hospitals have received goggles through the initiative.

US Ski & Snowboard

US Ski & Snowboard

The US campaign ‘Goggles for Docs’ provides used ski googles to medics and has already received thousands of sets of protective eyewear for hospitals, particularly in New York state.

30, 000 pairs of goggles have been donated to hospitals in more than 30 states across the USA.

Goggles for Docs is asking people in the USA to donate goggles to health care workers who lack eye protection.

A doctor from New York, Mike Halpero, called Steamboat in Colorado and asked if there were some spare goggle he could have.

His aunt and uncle sent on the request to a handful of friends in other ski towns, who sent it to more friends and it has snowballed from there.

We reported about it earlier, on April 7th, in our rolling blog.

Coronavirus impact on snowsports

Goggles for docs

Goggles for docs

AUSTRALIA SET TO EASE SOME SOCIAL DISTANCING RESTRICTIONS

The government had penciled in May 11th as the date to review the rules, but it now looks like it will be sometime next week.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said “Australians have earned an early mark through the work they have done.”

He said the nation had effectively contained the virus spread.

See here for an earlier PlanetSKI article that looked ahead to the ski season.

Australia ski season under threat

The resorts near to Melbourne are currently receiving around 50cm of snow with more in the forecast.

Mt Hotham, Australia

Mt Hotham, Australia

Mt Buller, Australia

Mt Buller, Australia

Some states have already eased restrictions.

People in Sydney and elsewhere in New South Wales can now visit other people’s homes.

Skiing in Australia

Skiing in Australia

In Australia, more than four million people have downloaded a contact-tracing app but the information it gathers is not yet available, according to ABC.

Health chiefs say privacy rules and final tests are still being carried out.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called the COVIDSafe app “a ticket” to easing restrictions.

FRIDAY 1ST MAY

FRANCE REVEALS WHICH MOUNTAIN AREAS MAY SEE LOCKDOWN EASED FIRST

The government is releasing a dynamic map each day on when areas may move to some lifting of lockdown restrictions.

There will be a green zone and a red zone, while at the moment there is a yellow zone as the authorities look at which areas go into which of the two final categories.

The Pyrenees is currently in the green zone and the Alps in the yellow, undecided zone.

A map has been released by the government on which it is basing its strategy of lifting the lockdown.

It shows the areas that have been worst-hit by the pandemic and where hospitals are under the most strain.

France

France

France has had 24,376 deaths from covid-19.

Earlier this week the government revealed its exit strategy from lockdown

French ski resorts digest easing of lockdown restriction

HEATHROW WARNS THAT SOCIAL DISTANCING AT AIRPORTS IS “PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE”

“Social distancing does not work in any form of public transport let alone aviation,” said the  CEO of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye.

“The constraint is not about how many people you can fit on a plane, it will be how many people you can get through an airport safely.”

He called for the UK to lead the way in developing a common international standard of measures which could include temperature checks for all passengers.

EasyJet has suggested it could leave the middle seats on its planes empty when flights resume.

The number of passengers travelling through Heathrow last month was down by around 97% compared with April 2019.

Heathrow

Heathrow

SNOW-WISE REFUNDS ALL ITS CLIENTS

The specialist UK ski agent took the decision early on to give out full refunds as quickly as possible after the ski season came to an abrupt end in the middle of March as coronavirus spread.

Snow-wise provides tailor-made luxury ski holidays across the Alps.

The company was able to repatriate all clients who were in resort at the time, and has now refunded everyone whose holidays were cancelled.

All its clients whose holidays were cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic have received full cash refunds.

“With so much uncertainty about exactly what the future might hold, it may not yet be the right time to make a new booking for next year, but it is never too early to start dreaming of hitting the slopes,” said the MD of snow-wise, Fraser Wilkin.

Fraser Wilkin, snow-wise

Fraser Wilkin, snow-wise

“We are more than happy to provide you with inspiration for your first ski holiday after lock-down so you don’t have to start planning from scratch when the world starts opening up again.”

“2019-2020 proved to be one of the most challenging winters in recent memory for the ski industry – first with February’s extreme weather (Storms Ciara and Dennis) and then with the outbreak of COVID-19.

“However, we pride ourselves in our integrity and always doing the right thing by our customers, whether that be quickly organising alternative travel arrangements or repatriation, or providing full cash refunds for cancelled holidays in the shortest time possible.”

For full details of the financial security should you wish to book with snow-wise for next winter then see this blog.

snow-wise

snow-wise

VAIL RESORTS RESPONDS TO CONCERNS

Vail Resorts is offering credits ranging from 20% to 80% to those people who were unable to use their Epic at their end of last season due to covid-19 closures.

“Our pass holders are our most loyal guests and we have spent weeks reading their emails and comments on social media to fully understand their concerns so we could respond thoughtfully and carefully,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer at Vail Resorts in a statement.

Vail Resorts

Vail Resorts

HERE ARE THE FULL DETAILS

1)     To Address Last Season:

·        Credits from 20% to 80% for Season Pass Holders

We are providing credits to 2019-20 season pass holders, based on the price of their pass, to apply toward the purchase of a 2020-21 season pass of equal or greater value:

·        A minimum credit of 20% for season pass holders, based on the resort closures in mid-March impacting about 20% of the core season

·        Higher credits for season pass holders who used their pass less than five days

·        A maximum credit of 80% if you did not use your season pass at all, because we recognize that some of you were waiting until spring to use your pass

·        Credits for Epic Day Pass, Whistler Blackcomb Edge Card and Multi-Pack Pass Holders

For guests with remaining days on their 2019-20 Epic Day Pass, Edge Card or one of our other multi-pack pass products, we are providing a credit for each unused day, up to 80% of the price paid for your pass to apply toward a pass of equal or greater value for next season.

·        Your credit will be valid through Labor Day (Sept. 7, 2020) because we understand that you may need time to decide on your plans for next season.

This may seem complicated, but something simple would not address all the unique situations of our pass holders.

We will email you personally in the coming weeks to share your specific credit details and your promotion code, which you can use online starting May 13.

If you renew your pass prior to receiving your promotion code, we will retroactively provide the credit value back to you.

In the meantime, you can click here to use the tables to find your pass credit, see our FAQs, and review the terms and conditions.

2)     Looking Ahead to the 2020-21 Season:

·        New ‘Epic Coverage’ Protects You Next Season

We are confident we will be enjoying a great upcoming ski and ride season, but we also understand that many pass holders are nervous about the future given the current uncertainty.

With this in mind, we are launching ‘Epic Coverage’:

·        Epic Coverage is free for all pass holders and completely replaces the need to purchase pass insurance, which can cost up to $60 for other passes.

·        Epic Coverage provides for a refund if you have an eligible injury, job loss, or experience other personal events that prevent you from using your pass.

·        Epic Coverage also provides a refund for certain resort closures, including for events like COVID-19, giving you a refund for any portion of the season that is lost.

We understand that times have changed so Epic Coverage completely redefines your pass protection.

We value your loyalty and we want you to enjoy your pass knowing that we are standing behind our commitment to your peace of mind.

·        Savings All Season Long

In March, we announced our new Epic Mountain Rewards, providing pass holders 20% off all mountain food & beverage, owned and operated lodging, group ski and ride lessons, equipment rentals and more at our North American resorts.

No sign up. No points tracking. No blackout days. Just savings. Learn more about Epic Mountain Rewards here.

3)     The Time You Need:

·        Spring Deadlines Extended to Labor Day

We do not want to rush your decision.

We are eliminating our traditional spring purchase deadlines, giving you through Labor Day (Sept. 7, 2020) to use your credit and to lock in 10 Buddy Tickets for next season.

If uncertainty continues, we may reassess that deadline again as it gets closer.

·       Lowest Up-Front Cost

If you want to lock in your pass, we want to provide you the lowest up-front cost during this challenging time.

Right now the deposit for your pass for next season is only $49, significantly less than the deposit many other passes require.

This offer will extend for the next few months.

Our hope is that this plan demonstrates our commitment to honoring your loyalty, with credits of 20%-80% for last season, Epic Coverage for next season, and more time to make a decision.

We recognize that some people may ask why we did not provide 100% credits or cash refunds for last season.

We capped our credits at 80% because our mountains were open and operating for the majority of the season and our passes could be used during that time.

Regarding refunds, we recognize that our passes, and pass insurance, historically have not provided for refunds in situations like this, which is why we are introducing the new Epic Coverage.

Thank you for your loyalty.

I am confident that our collective passion for the mountains will prevail and we will get through this together.

I hope to see you on the mountain next season.

And most importantly, I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe.

The rival to the Epic Pass, the Ikon Pass has also addressed the issue.

See here for a related PlanetSKI article:

Ikon Pass extends its discounts for next winter

THURSDAY 30TH APRIL

FACE MASKS TO BE COMPULSORY ON SWISS & AUSTRIAN AIRLINES

The measure comes in to force on May 4th and will apply until 31st August in the first instance.

The airlines are part of the Lufthansa Group that also includes Eurowings and Brussels Airlines.

“It’s recommended that passengers wear them throughout the flight and at the airport both before and after the flight whenever the required minimum distance cannot be guaranteed without restriction,” said the airline in a statement

“Passengers will be expected to bring their own face coverings, which can be a mask or just a scarf if they prefer,” it added.

Swiss

Swiss

Due to the low numbers of passengers seats are being allocated as widely as possible around the aircraft.

Wizz Air has announced that passengers on its re-launched flights from Luton will also have to wear face masks.

In the USA JetBlue has also made it compulsory.

UNITED is instructing its flight attendants to have a mask or covering and will be instructing passengers to do so early next month.

LEGAL ACTION THREATENED AGAINST FIRMS THAT REFUSE HOLIDAY REFUNDS

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says it will take companies to court if they flout the law.

Four out of five complaints made to its Covid-19 Taskforce are about cancellations and refunds.

PlanetSKI has looked at the issues as people try to claim refunds or credit notes for cancelled ski holidays:

Coronavirus: claiming for you cancelled ski trip

Issues include holidaymakers being pressured to take vouchers instead of refunds.

A full refund must be offered if a business has cancelled a contract without providing any of the promised goods or services.

This includes if no service is provided because of restrictions during the current lockdown or if a consumer cancels because of the restrictions.

Refunds for cancelled flights is an issue regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority.

See more here on the BBC.

Val Thorens, France

JASNA IN SLOVAKIA OPENS SKI LIFTS FOR SUMMER

The lifts will open tomorrow on Friday, May 1st.

There are restrictions in place with two people allowed on all 4 and 6 person chairlifts.

The main gondola carries 24 people, but only 7 will be allowed in at any one time.

Facemasks are required, plus social distancing.

Next winter all ski resorts will need to adapt to coronavirus unless immunity is found or a vaccine is discovered, and administered.

Both look highly unlikely.

What resorts do this summer will be an indication of how next winter in the ski resorts may look like.

Here at PlanetSKI we will be watching what happens in the summer season in the mountains with more than a keen interest:

French ski resorts digest easing of lockdown

And what ski resorts in the southern hemisphere do:

New Zealand ski resorts plan to open with some restrictions

“It’s good to know that it still possible to operate a ski resort under these testing conditions,” said the company Jasna Adventures on news of the summer lifts opening.

Others say it is irresponsible to promote travel at this time and it is impossible to keep people 2m away from others at all times while using the lifts.

Jasna, Slovakia

Jasna, Slovakia

Here are the full instructions from the resort:

CABLEWAY BOARDING AND TRAVELING

  • Please read the safety instructions at boarding lanes carefully and respect them.
  • Lift chairs and cable car interiors will be disinfected regularly (1x day after the operation).
  • Our cableway staff will be using safety equipment. Most of them will be protected by security glass but they are ready to help you with anything you might need.

Boarding instructions:

  • Please wait in groups of max. 4 people.
  • The maximum number of passengers on 4- and 6-seater chairlifts is 2 (Biela púť chairlift).
  • The maximum number of passengers in 15-person cable cars is 4 (cable cars on the southern side of Mt Chopok).
  • The maximum number of passengers in 24-person cable cars is 7 (Funitel cable car).
  • The maximum number of passengers in a 50-person funicular is 20 (Twinliner funicular).
  • Families or groups of passengers who come together can travel together and won´t be limited as for seating.
Jasna, Slovakia

Jasna, Slovakia

 SAALBACH IN AUSTRIA CANCELS SUMMER BIKE EVENTS BUT CYCLING GOES ON

Austria’s largest bike region starts its summer season on 11th of June.

However it has had to cancel the GlemmRide Bike Festival and Saalbach Bike Opening.

“With a heavy heart we have to cancel our GlemmRide Bike Festival and the Saalbach Bike Opening from the event calendar,” said the resort.

“Due to the current situation, we have been thinking for a long time whether and in what form we could carry out the event.

“Due to government regulations this decision has now been taken away from us.

“We are very sorry that we cannot offer you a bike weekend in the usual GlemmRide manner this year.”

“We hope to give you a small or even a big ray of hope for the upcoming bike season.

“The GlemmRide Bike Festival will take place from 1st to 4th of July 2021.”

Mountain biking in Saalbach

Mountain biking in Saalbach

However, the trails are waiting for individual cyclists with over 70 km of trails & lines until 4th of October.

The resort is offering as “Flexi Booking” offer.

All bookings for summer 2020, which are made via saalbach.com or directly with the landlord – marked with the green Flexi Booking Button – can be cancelled or rebooked free of charge until 14 days before arrival.

Without discussion, without giving reasons.

“See you on the trails!” said the resort.

Mountain biking in Saalbach

Mountain biking in Saalbach

SKI WAX PRODUCERS MAKE DISINFECTANT IN COVID-19 BATTLE

No fewer than six different ski wax manufacturers are making the product according to the International Ski Federation, FIS.

The German company, Zipps Skiwachse, is delivering disinfectant to pharmacies, companies and the government.

“We already had the alcohol and many of the other components needed for disinfectant, we just had to buy some ethanol”, said the company founder Frank Zipp.

In his mixture, he adheres to the WHO standards and the pump bottles are reusable.

The  Finnish company Vauhti Speed Oy, one of the oldest ski wax companies started cooperating with the leading disinfection expert, Vivotech Oy in a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vivotech has launched Finland’s first display-based disinfection machine, the Vivotech S22.

Ski wax to disinfectant

Ski wax to disinfectant

WEDNESDAY 29TH APRIL

AUCTION IN ITALY TO HELP COVID-19 FIGHT

The organisers of the 2021 Alpine Ski World Championships in Cortina and a host of athletes are auctioning items in the battle against coronavirus.

Olympic super-G bronze medallist Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein and the Swiss ski legend Didier Cuche are among those to have donated items or experiences.

It is being run through a partnership between Audi and Save the Children.

Both are partners of the International Ski Federation.

Cortina 2021 is holding an online auction to support a local hospital in Belluno.

It has raised £14,217.33 so far.

See here for details of the auction.

The helmet of the Olympic downhill champion Sofua Goggia’s went for €2,625 (£2,300), while the boots worn by former Alpine ski racer Kristian Ghedina were sold for €250 (£218).

Kristian Ghedina ski boots

Kristian Ghedina ski boots

Limited-edition Nordica Dobermann Cortina 2021 skis have also been put up for auction, with proceeds going towards helping the hospital tackle COVID-19.

The trophies from the World Cup Finals that never took place were auctioned off three weeks ago.

Cortina 2020 trophy

Cortina 2020 trophy

SWITZERLAND DECLARES IT SAFE FOR GRANDPARENTS TO HUG CHILDREN UNDER 10

The authorities say they consider that it is now safe for young children and grandparents to be able to hug.

The health ministry’s infectious diseases chief, Daniel Koch,  said scientists had concluded that young children did not transmit the virus.

Switzerland has recorded 1,699 deaths linked to covid-19.

It has started to ease some lockdown measures this week:

Switzerland releases details of exit from lockdown

Swiss flag

Switzerland

COLORADO GOVERNOR URGES PEOPLE TO STAY AWAY FROM MOUNTAINS AS TWO SKI RESORTS LOOK AT RE-OPENING

Governor Jared Polis has urged people to stay at home and not to travel further than 10 miles from home.

“I know the weather’s nice, but the coronavirus doesn’t care about the weather,” he said.

“It cares about physical proximity and we need to make sure we stay safe.”

“Colorado is beautiful, that’s why we live here,” Polis said.

“But our mountains and our rivers and forests will be here long after coronavirus. Long after any of us.

“So, give it a break and we look forward to being able to have more of those recreation opportunities in the future.”

Arapahoe Basin and Aspen in Colorado are looking at re-opening if the rules allow after Mr Baldy in California re-opened last week.

See here for our article on the move:

More resorts in the USA look to re-open.

USA skiing

USA skiing

WELL, ARE YOU?

We start today with a simple question.

Simple question

Simple question

TUESDAY 28TH APRIL

US AIRLINE TO REQUIRE ALL PASSENGERS TO WEAR A FACEMASK

JetBlue passengers will be required to wear masks to cover their mouth and nose from the check-in until they leave the plane.

They are expected to provide their own face coverings.

Earlier this week United said its flight attendants would wear a mask.

“Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself it’s about protecting those around you,” said Joanna Geraghty, president of JetBlue.

“This is the new flying etiquette.”

By the time next winter comes around here at PlanetSKI we expect flying will be a different experience with a raft of coronavirus preventative measures in place.

JetBlue has increased aircraft cleaning each night and during extended ground time during the day.

“We are applying disinfectant that is effective against coronavirus across aircraft interiors including the places customers touch most – the tray tables, seat covers, armrests and seatbelts,” said the airline.

jetBlue

jetBlue

NORWEGIAN AIR PLANS TO KEEP MOST PLANES GROUNDED NEXT WINTER

The airline is planning to keep most of its flights grounded until next spring, after which it plans to start ramping up its services for its peak summer season.

The airline needs to secure a NOK 2.7 billion loan from the Norwegian government within the next three weeks to ensure it can survive until the end of this year.

The carrier plans to operate just seven aircraft in the Scandinavian region until April 2021 when it then hopes to resume long-haul and European flights.

95% of the Norwegian’s aircraft are grounded and thousands of workers are furloughed.

Norwegian

Norwegian

Norway eases more lockdown restrictions

Norway

Norway

NEW ZEALAND EASES LOCKDOWN

New Zealand has now shifted its alert level down a notch to Level Three – meaning restaurants are allowed to resume takeaways and thousands of people can go back to work.

Coffee shops and fast food outlets have seen long queues.

Maintenance work can now start at ski resorts and it is hoped they will re-open for locals at the end of June.

New Zealand ski areas plan to open after winning battle with coronavirus

New Zealand has had an exemplary strategy with dealing with covid-19 with contact tracing, a quick lockdown, the closing of borders and a clear public message.

Skiing in New Zealand

Skiing in New Zealand

AUSTRIA ANNOUNCES FURTHER RELAXATION OF LOCKDOWN

From 1st May events with up to 10 people will be allowed, although people will be asked to keep 1m apart.

Hotels will be allowed to reopen on 29 May, if all goes well, and it is expected some tourism will return to the Alps.

The recommendations to stay at home for all but essential reasons expire on 30 April and will not be renewed, though working from home will still be encouraged.

Small shops have already reopened, with all shops to follow from 1 May.

Restaurants and cafes are set to restart business on 15 May.

Austria imposed a strict lockdown early on.

It has reported around 15,000 cases of coronavirus, with 569 deaths.

Austria flag

Austria

MONDAY 27TH APRIL

SWISS SCIENTISTS DEVELOP CORONAVIRUS SENSOR

The sensor can reportedly “see” and “feel” airborne viruses, but it needs high concentrations  of  Covid-19.

The biosensor uses receptors engraved with the “fingerprint” of specific strands of RNA (a single strand of genetic material as opposed to the DNA double strand), which are unique to each virus.

The sensor only scores a match when it comes into contact with the virus it is looking for.

It is precise enough that it can tell the difference between the 2003 SARS virus and the current novel coronavirus.

It has been developed by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) in collaboration with Zurich’s Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ).

See more on the story from Swiss Info.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

DSUK PASSES THE £20,000 MARK AS IT AIMS TO RAISE £50,000

Disability Snowsport UK passes another milestone as it is 40% of the way there.

It has now raised £20,018 to be precise.

Much of the charity’s funding has dried up because of the coronavirus pandemic and the UK lockdown rules.

It launched a JustGiving campaign on April 3rd as we reported at the time here on PlanetSKI.

The charity was founded in the 1970s and helps people with a disability ski.

The vast majority of the charity’s income comes from providing lessons at indoor ski centres.

It also runs overseas group holidays to resorts in Andorra, Austria, France and the USA for disabled skiers.

The charity had to cancel all its lessons when UK snowdomes closed and its late season trips.

It is now appealing to the British snowsports community for donations to help keep the operation running during the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep the money coming in folks.

Here at PlanetSKI we urge you to give whatever you can and what feels appropriate for a fabulous charity.

PlanetSKI readers can donate at here

Disability Snowsport UK

Disability Snowsport UK

WHO KNEW?

While we are on the subject of charity, others in the snowsports world are raising money for their chosen charity.

And revealing talents we never knew they had.

Nadine Carle-Edgar is a French woman living in London and she does the UK PR for many of the major (and minor) ski resorts in France. She is well-know across the UK ski industry.

We have known her for more than a decade and worked closely with her.

She never told us, or any others, of her juggling skills.

THE 2.6 CHALLENGE, SAVING UK CHARITIES

“I have juggled for 2.6 minutes to raise money for Link Ethiopia. It is a charity dedicated to changing lives in Ethiopia through education,” said Nadine.

“I have supported this great charity for 8 years and know how much good work they do. Please help me!”

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund…/showROFundraiserPage…

Posted by Nadine Carle-Edgar on Sunday, 26 April 2020

She has raised £50 towards her target of £150.

SUNDAY 26TH APRIL

COULD SOME ALPINE NATIONS BAN UK VISITORS AMID GB’S HANDLING OF COVID-19?

One ski travel agent raised the thought to PlanetSKI after the Balearic Islands looks like it may ban British tourists this summer due to the UK’s ‘delayed’ lockdown.

“The same may happen next winter to British skiers and snowboarders as countries will not want to attract foreign tourists if it is thought they may bring coronavirus with them,” the agent said to us.

He was being serious.

UK skiers in the Alps

UK skiers in the Alps

The islands of Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera have said they don’t expect any tourists in May, June or July due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the authorities hope things will loosen up in August.

Tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, has hinted that certain countries, including the UK, which took longer to take measures to restrict the spread of the coronavirus, will face a Balearics ban for longer.

“There are countries like the United Kingdom that have taken too long to adopt containment measures and that also puts us in a different situation with respect to them,” he told local media.

Depending on how the situation develops it is possible that some alpine nations could theoretically do the same if they feel UK visitors offer an extra threat.

Les2Alpes in France is planning to open for summer skiing, but has said it will only allow in visitors from the Schengen area.

The UK is not in the Schengen area, though an exception could be made.

Most of the countries that have small deaths totals, so far, have done so due to rapid closing of internal and external borders, strict and enforced lockdown and extensive testing.

Border controls have been crucial.

The UK is deemed to have been slower on all counts by some other European nations.

The death toll in hospitals in the UK is now more than 20,000 and the overall total is expected to rise sharply when the numbers of death in care homes are added.

For the Balearic Islands British tourists represent a third of its overseas visitors, its largest overseas market, and yet it seems prepare to forgo UK business this summer.

The UK agent we spoke to seemed to think a similar response could theoretically happen next winter if there remains a real threat from the virus spreading and a vaccine has not been discovered.

For a look at how coronavirus has hit skiing and snowboarding and what the future may look like then see this PlanetSKI article:

How has coronavirus hot skiing and snowboarding and what may the future hold?

The Matterhorn, Zermatt

The Matterhorn, Zermatt

NORWAY EXTENDS BAN ON LARGE EVENTS

Norway is to extend its ban on all events with more than 500 people to September, from June 15th.

A decision regarding events with fewer than 500 people is due to be made this Thursday.

Last week it lift some of its restriction as we reported at the time on PlanetSKI:

Norway eases some lockdown restrictions

Norway

Norway

UNITED AIRLINES INSTRUCTS ALL FLIGHT ATTENDANT TO WEAR FACEMASKES

It is the first major US airline to do so.

The Association of Flight Attendants has welcomed the move.

It says it should go further and follow the lead of Canada and expand mandatory face coverings for all airline passengers too.

United Airlines

United Airlines

MESSAGE FROM THE OTZTAL VALLEY IN THE TIROL

The area has issued a message to all its guests, summer and winter.

One ski resort in the valley, Soelden, has only just had its quarantine lifted as it was a hotspot for coronavirus.

Dear friends of the Ötztals, dear guests

Your feedback has been truly overwhelming.

So many of you have sent us very personal lines, have told us of their deep connection to the valley.

There were regular guests assuring us that they will visit us as soon as this “surreal nightmare” has come to an end.

As well as guests who have been here only once or twice, but want to return “as soon as possible”.

We want to thank you with all our heart.

It feels incredibly good to see how strong the connection is between you, our guests, and us, your hosts.

Especially in the spring of this extraordinary year 2020.

However, we would also like to thank all of you who sent critical remarks.

We reflect on every single one of your sincere thoughts on the Corona measures as well as on the touristic developments in the valley’s “hot spots”.

We use the current situation to analyse our directions, to question them, to consider them anew, to improve and redirect.

The Ötztal community is very strong.

During the times of the quarantine we moved even closer, at safe distance, of course.

We are now taking the future in our hands by focusing on our strengths.

Therefore, we want to again introduce you to a man who embodies the best sides of the Ötztal: a spirit of innovation rooted in a deep sense of trust and respect for nature.

The Otztal Valley, Tirol, Austria

The Otztal Valley, Tirol, Austria

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