Huge Queues For Verbier Lift

Photos have been posted on social media showing people apparently not social distancing. The resort has now put barriers in place, but questions remain as other resorts are set to open. Switzerland has decided to allow all its resorts to open despite many European countries keeping them shut.

As sure as night follows day it was bound to happen.

The image shows people at the bottom on the main lift in La Chable down on the valley floor beneath Verbier on Saturday.

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

The queue of people would have gone inside and then up a staircase to the main gondola.

The person who took and posted the image, a local chef whose restaurant is not allowed to open, commented, “The photos taken on Saturday morning from the cabins in Le Châble are inadmissible, especially since restaurants and other places of leisure have to remain closed”.

The president of the Valais Council of State, Christophe Darbellay, described it as an “unacceptable” situation and contacted the head of the Televerbier lift company, Laurent Vaucher, to take immediate action.

On Friday the Federal Government announced that ski resorts could open despite the fact that France, Italy and Germany are keeping their resorts closed.

It also announced an increase in restrictions and measures.

The full details are in this PlanetSKI story from Friday:

Austria is opening its resorts, but not until December 24th and with generally stricter restrictions in place.

Switzerland currently has 304 reported cases per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period, with hospitals concerned about being able to cope.

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Rising cases of coronavirus have stabilised in places, but levels remain at a worrying level in Switzerland.

“It has made many people angry that Téléverbier was unable to organise correct queues, with barriers, markings on the ground and a stricter reminder of the rules,” said one comment in a local paper.

That has now changed and on Sunday it was a different picture at La Chable.

Markings had been put down 1.5m apart, barriers installed and there was a police presence.

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

The lift company Televerbier said it had planned to introduce the new measures on Monday but was caught out by the number of people who turned out on Saturday.

It remains that there was fresh snow, it was a weekend and the resort was opening more ski areas in the resort.

Some people in the resort are criticising the media for reporting the incident and pointing out that it was an isolated incident.

In Zermatt three weeks ago a similar incident occurred and police were deployed.

One of the photos of Zermatt posted on social media

Swiss resorts should perhaps take more heed of what happened in Cervinia in Italy when it opened back in October.

Cervinia, Italy

Cervinia, Italy

It remains shut.

And Ischgl in Austria that now has to live with the tag, rightly or wrongly, that is was a major spreader of coronavirus at the beginning of the pandemic.

With more Swiss resorts opening in the coming weeks, it remains fairly inevitable that more scenes like the ones in Verbier will happen.