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Easing of Restrictions in Switzerland

The Swiss are able to return to cafes and restaurants outdoors from Monday. It is too late for an impact on the ski areas, with just a handful still open. With cases rising the government admits it is ‘taking a risk’. NEW

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Cinemas and theatres will be able to open with audiences of 50 people.

Football stadiums, concerts and other outdoor events will be allowed to admit 100 people if they wear masks.

Wearing a face mask and appropriate physical distancing continue, the government said.

As far as possible, activities should take place outdoors, where the risk of infection is far lower.

The Swiss Health Minister, Alain Berset, said “we are taking a risk”.

He claimed that the policy of slowly lifting restrictions in recent months had allowed the country to “maintain control over the pandemic”.

“We’re not facing an explosion,” he said.

Switzerland is the only country in Europe easing restrictions while Covid-19 is rising.

The government claims the move is justified because cases are rising very slowly, the vaccination programme is speeding up, and hospitals are not looking like being overwhelmed.

Switzerland’s government announced last Wednesday it would significantly ease its Covid-19 restrictions despite the fact that the pandemic in the country “remains fragile and has even worsened in recent weeks”.

Many ski resorts had wanted to be able to open up their outdoor terraces in the past few weeks.

A maximum of four people may sit at a table and all people must be seated.

But it is too late for the majority of ski resorts.

Verbier and other resorts closed at the weekend.

Earlier this month PlanetSKI was in the Valais canton in Switzerland assessing how the winter had gone and reporting in a special in-depth article:

4 Vallees, Switzerland

4 Vallees, Switzerland

Latest figures from 16th April show that Switzerland currently has 176 cases per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

Numbers are rising – one week before on April 9th ago it was 133.

For comparison here are the totals for the other ski nations in Europe with the figure from a week earlier in brackets.

Sweden 414 (357)

Poland 371 (390)

Andorra 299 (455)

France 370 (293)

Slovenia 312 (300)

Bulgaria 230 (320)

Austria 201 (222)

Italy 180 (191)

Germany 171 (117)

Spain 127 (90)

Slovakia 100 (104)

Norway 79 ( 92)

Finland 43 (53)

UK 16 (32)

Iceland 6 (12)

Here at PlanetSKI we are carefully watching the numbers to see if, and when, summer travel to the mountains will be allowed from the UK.

The Tirol in Austria is on our list – not least because we hope to ski on the glacier in Hintertux as well as enjoying other summer activities.

So, what’s the latest from Austria?

We turn to Elena Protopopow, the Tirol marketing manager for the UK market.

“Now our 3 phase of vaccinations started, so everyone under 65 will be vaccinated, 2,457,087 vaccine doses have already been administered,” Elena tells us.

“713,214 people (9.47%) have full vaccination coverage. 499,890 doses delivered, 7 million doses expected, so we are also looking at a faster vaccination process and that this will continue to bring the numbers of Covid-new infections down and put us in a better position for the summer – also to avoid ending up on the UK red list.

“The 7-day incidence is currently 196.8 and according to last week’s press conference, the gastronomy sector should open in May.

“According to Chancellor Kurz, we are already on the road to relaxation, also in the hotel industry.

“Lockdown in Vienna and Lower Austria ends on 2nd May.”

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