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Will Ski Lifts Turn in France on January 7th?

That is the date that was announced by President Macron as he ordered the lifts to shut. Some doubts remain, but there are signs of hope. Whether UK skiers can get there is another matter altogether as Covid-19 coincides with Brexit. UPDATED

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Cases in France remain at around 15,000 per day which is higher than the target of 5,000 but they are not surging as in other parts of Europe including the UK.

The UK currently has more than 53,000 per day.

France has a population of 67.8m and the UK has 66.6m.

Some locals that we have spoken to out in the resorts in the Alps fear they won’t, but the government has said that France will not be returning to lockdown in the near future.

Confirmation that the lifts would close was made 11th December, French court confirms lifts will close and date set for January opening.

The health minister, Olivier Véran, has said there will be a consultation on extra measures for the worst affected areas only, including a 6pm curfew.

Parts of the French Alps are in some of the worst affected areas as eastern France sees the highest number of cases.

There are 20 départements in France that could potentially be affected by the earlier curfew, amoung them the Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-Maritimes.

The whole country is currently under an 8pm to 6am curfew.

Bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, theatres, cinemas, museums and cultural centres are closed in ski resorts.

Hotels are allowed to remain open.

Hospital pressure remains high, but stable, and there is capacity.

Olivier Véran said that the Council had therefore decided not to reintroduce lockdown.

Ski lift in France

Significantly, because of the Covid pandemic, travellers from non-EU countries –  and that now includes the UK – will not be able to visit the EU and Schengen countries at the moment, except for a certain number of essential reasons.

Once individual nations grasp the reality of no British tourists for many months, even when cases start to fall, then the situation may change as countries take unilateral action.

Elsewhere in the Alps:

Ski resorts are open in Switzerland with few restrictions on foreigners arriving.

Hotels are open, but bars and restaurants are closed.

In Austria they are open but for locals only with quarantine restrictions in place for international visitors and most resort facilities such as hotels, bars and restaurants closed.

The French authorities will likely look at the picture in Switzerland and Austria.

Resorts in Italy remain closed.

In the Pyrenees the ski resorts in Andorra are shut, while there are some open in the Pyrenees.

Norway, Finland and Sweden all have their resorts open.

For our full weekly round up on all the ski nations in Europe see here:

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

In France there is an ongoing consultation with local authorities in the worst-hit areas and it is expected new measures will centre on the introduction of a 6pm-6am curfew.

This would be applied only in the worst-affected départements and metropole areas, not on a regional level.

Speaking on national televisions he would not be drawn on whether cinemas, theatres and cultural centres could reopen as planned on January 7th, saying that the government wanted to see data showing whether the Christmas holidays have led to a spike in cases.

The same criteria would be applied to whether the ski resorts could start their lifts.

At the moment the slopes are open but only for ski touring, cross country and snow shoeing.

Some people have been hiking up.

French ski resorts prepare for Xmas without lifts running

PlanetSKI heads uphill in the French Alps

Chamonix Valley, France

Chamonix Valley, France

Les3Vallees, France

Les3Vallees, France

Currently ski lifts are set to turn on January 7th, but it all depends on the number of new infections recorded over the holiday period.

A decision is not expected until early in the New Year.

Bars, restaurants, cafés and gyms were scheduled to reopen on January 20th, although again this will only happen if the health situation is under control.

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