Italy’s Ski Resorts Set to Re-Open

From February 15th resorts in the so-called ‘Yellow Zones’ are expected to be able to open. All the country’s main ski areas are in a yellow zone except for those in the Sud Tirol. It is a huge relief for skiers, plus the resorts though some question the wisdom as Covid-19 continues.

The government’s Technical Scientific Committee, CTS, has reached the decision and although it has not been formally announced by the government it is expected to go ahead.

It remains unclear if a travel ban between regions and localities will be lifted, so skiing and snowboarding may just be for locals only.

The rate of infection in Italy has been steadily falling with more space in hospitals.

It has 136 cases per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

In comparison to the other alpine nations it is below France (214), but above Switzerland (126) and Austria (107).

The ski provinces of Lombardy, Piedmont, Trento, Valle d’Aosta and Veneto are all yellow zones.

Sud Tirol/Bolzano is the higher Orange zone and its ski resorts will not be allowed to open.

Some had argued they should be allowed to re-open with a 50% reduction in people allowed on lifts plus mandatory use of FFP2 masks, but this proposal was rejected by the CTS.

Reaction from the ski resorts

“The CTS has given a good signal which … allows the revival of the mountains in time for the ski world championships on Sunday, February 7th, in Cortina,” said Luca Zaia, president of the Veneto region to Italian media.

“But the virus is still circulating and should not be underestimated,” he added.

“Italy will be able to reopen the ski resorts on February 15, although the details remain to be known,” said the resort of Alta Badia.

It remains to be seen if Alta Badia can open though as it is the Sud Tirol in the Dolomites region.

The go ahead “is a first important recognition for the mountain world,” said the Lombardy Tourism Councillor, Lara Magoni.

She said it is a ” breath of fresh air for a sector that is suffering an unprecedented crisis. I am convinced that the mountains must be central in the political debate for the relaunch of our country.”

“Now we continue to work together with the other Regions to allow a greater influx of skiers for the next 40, 50 days of the season,” said the councillor for economic development, training and work in the Aosta Valley, Luigi Bertschy.

La Thuille, Aosta Valley, Italy

La Thuille, Aosta Valley, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Ski slopes across the country have been closed to the general public since November under strict measures intended to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Some opened in November but promptly closed as queues developed and the virus spread.

Cervinia opens then closes after crowded scenes

“Being in a yellow zone does not mean the danger has passed,” said the Health Minister Roberto Speranza.

“We still need the utmost caution if we do not want to go back on the progress made in recent weeks”.

Regulations Under Yellow Zone

In yellow zones, bars and restaurants can stay open until 6pm, including on Sundays.

Takeaway service is allowed until 10pm for restaurants and until 6pm for bars, while there are no time limits for home delivery.

Museums can open, but only on weekdays.

The night curfew remains in place from 10pm-5am across the whole country.

If people need to go out during those hours, they need to carry a completed self-certification form.

A ban on non-essential travel between regions remains in place, regardless of zone colour.

Cinemas, theatres, betting halls, game rooms, discos, ballrooms, concert halls, gyms, swimming pools, theme parks, spas and wellness centres remain closed.

Shops are open, but malls are closed on weekends.

The resorts are now making preparations for opening and assessing what they can rescue from a ruined ski season.

Italy Remains Off Limits to UK Citizens

It remains against the law to go on holiday.

“Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home,” states the UK government.

“You must not travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes.”

There are strict requirements to enter Italy and quarantine is required on return to the UK.

Regulations for entering Italy

Regulations for entering Italy

As the UK has left the EU, following Brexit, Great Britain is regard as a ‘third nation’ by EU and Schengen countries and as such it is highly unlikely access will be allowed soon.

Only ‘third nation’ countries with low levels of Covid-19, such as New Zealand and Australia, are allowed into the bloc.

Europe will likely be off-limits to UK citizens for some time to come.

Border controls

Border controls. Image © PlanetSKI

The ski lifts in the resorts in France remain closed until at least the end of February.

Resorts are open in Austria but for locals only, with all resorts open in Switzerland.

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