Italians Urged Not To Go Skiing
24th November 2020
Last modified on December 2nd, 2020
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said Italy “can’t afford” the risk of further infections from people taking ski holidays. He is urging Europe-wide rules. Ski resorts are seen as super-spreaders of the virus back in March.
Many ski areas including those in the Aosta Valley, Piedmont and Lombardy are already under the strictest restrictions with ski resorts closed, Italian ski areas go into lockdown.
The current lockdown ends on December 3rd and some people had hoped ski resorts might open, but Mr Conte has said it is not possible “to allow holidays on the snow. We cannot afford it”.
Mr Conte also called on other European countries to agree on common rules for ski resorts to prevent cases being imported from abroad if Italy shuts its ski slopes.
Austria has already expressed its reservations about the idea.
One resort in Italy, Cervinia, opened in October and when pictures of people queuing went vitral, it closed to the general public.
The UK operator, Interski, is based in the Aosta Valley and it has already taken the decision not to operate this winter.
Italian ski resorts have drafted restrictions on the number of passengers that could be carried by ski lifts and on daily ski passes sold, but they still need the approval of central government.
“The protocol is one thing, but everything that revolves around holidays on the snow is uncontrollable,” Mr Conte said in an interview with La7 television.
Austria and France have also closed their ski resorts to the general public.
In France the French prime minister, Jean Castex, has committed to clarification within 10-days regarding the opening conditions for ski resorts after discussions with tourism representatives this week.
“At this stage, this issue is not yet clear-cut, as the options are still being considered given the uncertainties about the evolution of the health situation,” said Prime Minister Castex.
“The meeting made it possible to examine more precisely the conditions for the implementation of the different scenarios, be it the definition of a specific health protocol or, in the event of closure, the details of economic and social support for the companies and seasonal workers.
“In view of the preparation time needed to allow for a possible opening for the end-of-year holidays, a decision will be taken within the next ten days.
“It will be made in the light of the evolution of the health situation, which must be the essential criterion, and taking care to be as consistent as possible with our neighbouring countries.”
In Germany the leader of the state of Bavaria, where the main ski areas are, plans to keep slopes shut in his region.
Markus Soeder has warned German skiers that if they tried to cross to designated risk areas such as neighbouring Austria, they’d face a 10-day quarantine on their return.
He has called for a temporary Europe-wide closure of ski areas.
The ski resorts in Switzerland remain open, with some slopes open in Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Verbier, Crans-Montana, Andermatt and Engleberg.
Switzerland is seeing a surge in cases with almost all of its intensive care beds taken.
Some areas, including the Valais canton where some of the main ski resorts, are have restrictions in place with cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars closed.
The measures have helped slow the spread of Covid-19 in the canton.