Latest Restrictions in Italy Revealed With Huge Impact on Mountain Areas
2nd December 2020
Travel between regions has been banned over holiday period stopping many from going to second homes in the mountains or visiting family & friends. The government has singled out ski areas in particular. Further measures to battle Covid-19 to be announced later. UPDATED
“It will be necessary to avoid potential gatherings in places of tourist attraction linked in particular to skiing activities,” said the health minister, Roberto Speranza, in an address to parliament on Wednesday.
He told members that non-essential travel between regions and towns would likely be banned, while international travel over the festive season “should be discouraged”.
“Movement must stop even between municipalities on December 25th and 26th, and January 1st,” he told parliament.
Last week the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, said it is not possible “to allow holidays on the snow. We cannot afford it”.
He added that “everything that revolves around holidays on the snow is uncontrollable.”
It is a severe blow to the Italian ski areas, but hardly a surprise.
On Thursday the travel details were revealed.
“From December 21st 2020 to January 6th 2021, travel between different regions (including those to or from the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano) will be prohibited, with the exception of travel for proven work reasons, situations of necessity or health reasons,” said a statement from the government.
On December 25th and 26th 2020 and January 1st 2021, travel between different municipalities will also be prohibited, with the same exceptions.
Travel “will always be possible, even from 21 December to 6 January, to return to one’s residence or home.”
It means people cannot visit second homes during the holiday period or see family and friends if outside people’s local region.
“From December 21st 2020 to January 6th 2021 it will be forbidden to travel to second homes located in a region or autonomous province other than one’s own. On December 25th and 26th 2020 and January 1st 2021, the ban will also apply to second homes located in a municipality other than their own.”
It is a further blow to the ski and mountain areas.
They had come up with a plan where only people who have booked accommodation or own a holiday home in a ski resort area would be able to purchase a ski lift pass.
They argued to would help the mountain economy and limit travelling.
The proposal came from the ski regions of Piedmont, the Aosta Valley, Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige/Sud Tirol, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia.
The resorts claim they could lose 60% of their annual business if they are not allowed to open over Xmas and into the New Year.
The economic impact for resorts and business will be severe.
Not only will many people with second homes now not be allowed to ski, they will not be able to visit over the holiday period either.
The current lockdown in Italy ends on Thursday December 3rd.
A new emergency decree – formally called a DPCM (Decreto del presidente del consiglio, or ‘prime minister’s decree’) – containing rules covering the next month, including the Christmas holiday period, is due by Friday, December 4th.
Restrictions over Xmas and into January are likely to be an extension of the current night-time curfew.
There will be decisions on restaurants, bars and non-essential shops.
Plus the numbers of people allowed to meet inside and outside.
The restrictions are expected to apply nationwide even if all regions are downgraded to lower-risk yellow zones later this month.
Most the ski areas are currently in the higher red zone.
Italy, along with Germany and France, has been pressing for a unified and co-ordinated approach across Europe to starting the ski season.
Austria made its announcement on Wednesday, Austria allows skiing at Xmas, but only just.
France meanwhile has imposed quarantine restrictions and border checks, France reveals measures to stop its citizens skiing abroad.
Switzerland remains the only country in the Alps with ski resorts open to the general public and it maintains they will be open, but the Federal government in the capital, Bern, will be studying the data.
Italy’s coronavirus situation is improving but the government has repeatedly stated that the country should prepare for restrictions to continue over the Christmas holidays.
The ski resorts have made extensive preparations and claim they are Covid- secure.
The opening of Cervinia and the queues that formed did not help their cause.
However the resorts has also gone to lengths to try to ensure safety.
Italy’s most famous skier, Alberto Tomba has joined the debate.
“Skiing is by definition an outdoor and individual sport,” he said.
“Furthermore, there is no issue with face masks, because skiers normally use mouth and face protection garments.
“And on the slope there are no social distancing problems. Although there are of course some measures to be adopted, the pistes should be open,” he added.
In further remarks to Parliament Roberto Speranza said “I warn you now: do not mistake the first ray of sunlight for an escape from danger,”…… “We still need a few weeks of sacrifices. If we let down our guard now, the third wave is just around the corner.”
Formal announcements will be made by Friday and we will be updating this article with all the details as they are made.