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Italian Mountain Areas Placed Out of Bounds to Visitors Amid Fears of Third Wave

Italy has just had its highest daily death toll, surpassing the number at the height of the pandemic in March. New restrictions are announced, with more to follow, to try to beat the current spread with ski resorts closed. Other alpine countries except Switzerland have closed ski areas as Covid-19 spreads across the Alps. NEW

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The Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, has said it will be “a different kind of Christmas, sacrifices are still necessary in order not to expose ourselves to a third wave in January with a high number of deaths.”

Strict travel restriction affecting the mountain areas have already been announced as we reported on Thursday.

“The holidays will be adequately regulated and, like during this summer, there will be no exceptions. We cannot risk a third wave,” said Health Ministry Undersecretary, Sandra Zampa.

That means ski holidays are off the cards.

The draft text of the latest restrictions is being debated for an announcement ahead of the end of the day on Friday.

The 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 period, is due by Friday, December 4th.

The draft decree text states that slopes are shut, but can reopen on January 7th.

“The lifts in ski areas are closed; they can only be used by professional and non-professional athletes,” states the draft text, a copy of which we have seen.

The government is resisting pressure to open ski resorts from local authorities in northern regions in the Italian Alps, many of which are currently red or orange zones.

We reported on their attempts here:

La Thuille, Aosta Valley, Italy

La Thuille, Aosta Valley, Italy. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

“It will be necessary to avoid potential gatherings in places of tourist attraction linked in particular to skiing activities,” the Health Minister, Roberto Speranza, said to the Italian parliament on Wednesday.

He added that international travel over the festive season “should be discouraged”.

Quarantine measures are likely to be introduced, including international travellers arriving in Italy.

We understand it will be a 10-day quarantine beginning on December 20th.

This has been one of the busiest weeks for news we can remember at PlanetSKI with ski resorts being asked to close to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Switzerland is the only country with ski resorts open, but there are serious questions about how long it can continue its go-it-alone policy and what the results may be.

It is likely to increase the spread of Covid-19 in Switzerland with extra pressures on hospitals and additional deaths.

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As always on PlanetSKI we will be updating with the news as it impacts Italian ski resorts when the final DPCM  is agreed.

We are also expecting to hear more from France, and possibly Spain, on Friday about developments in the Alps and the Pyrenees.

And we are keeping a close eye on developments in Switzerland.

Watch this space…

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