Andorra Unveils Covid-19 Measures for the Season

A Covid Health Pass is needed and masks are mandatory in many settings. The measures have been introduced ‘in order to save the season’. It comes just as the slopes open for the winter with significant snow falling.

The details have been announced as the main ski resorts open with great early snow conditions in the Pyrenees.

Ordino Arcalis opened around a third of its slopes on Wednesday 1st December.

Grandvalira and Vallnord are starting their season on Friday 3rd, with Grandvalira expecting 136km of skiable terrain to be open.

🔥OBRIM 3 DESEMBRE!⁣Obrim 136km de pistes, tots els sectors i connexions amb fins a 1m de neu! 🙌⁣⁣👇Consulta les…

Posted by Grandvalira on Wednesday, 1 December 2021

This image was taken on Friday 3rd December.

Grandvalira, Andorra. Image c/o Andorra Travel Service.

Grandvalira, Andorra. Image c/o Andorra Travel Service.

“Grandvalira is now open with wonderful skiing throughout all the sectors,” said Duncan Gilroy from the specialist ski operator to Andorra,  Absolutely Snow.

“Wearing face masks on the ski lifts is a small price to pay for the freedom to get back on our skis again.

“It is nice to see a sensible and measured approach being taken by the Andorrans.’

Cases of Covid-19 are continuing to rise and it has one of the highest rising number of cases in Europe.

Andorra currently has 808 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 over a 7-day period.

A week earlier it was 344.

For comparison the current rate is 136 in Italy, 305 in France 530 in Switzerland and 973 in Austria.

It is 453 in the UK.

In line with the national rules, the Covid ‘certificate’ will be needed for all sporting activities, including ski touring and snowshoeing, as well as to access the ski lifts, ski schools, restaurants and all enclosed spaces.

It means everyone over the age of 16 will need proof of vaccination, a negative test or a recovery certificate.

“The stations will carry out Covid controls with the aim of guaranteeing the safety of customers and workers,” a statement issued on behalf of the resorts from Ski Andorra says.

“The stations will reserve the right to deny access or withdraw the ski pass to all those customers who cannot produce the mandatory COVID certification or do not meet the requirements.

“With this measure, the ski resorts of Andorra want to guarantee maximum safety to their customers and workers, and the guarantee of the ski season.”

Arinsal, Andorra. Image © PlanetSKI

The requirements are for one of the following:

  • Certificate of vaccination showing two doses with the last more than 14 days ago, or showing a Covid infection more than six months ago AND a dose of the vaccine more than 14 days ago.
  •  Certificate of recovery from Covid within the last six months.
  • A negative diagnostic test certificate, which must be a PCR or TMA performed in the previous 72 hours or a negative antigen test performed in the previous 12 hours.
Covid Pass Checks in Andorra. Image c/o Andorra Travel Services

Covid Pass Checks in Andorra. Image c/o Andorra Travel Services

The measures are bound to have an impact on bookings from families with teenaged children who would have to undergo regular testing unless they have recently recovered from Covid.

We reported on the situation earlier:

“Our message right now is that if you’re vaccinated, and for children under 12, it’s perfectly possible to get away on your ski holiday,” Iain Archer of the Andorra Travel Service told us.

“Everyone needs to keep current with the rules and be prepared for some form filling, more testing and to get used to showing your Covid vaccine status more frequently.

“If you’re aged 12+ and not vaccinated, it’s not game over but restrictions will make things more difficult for you depending where you are flying into.”

Andorra is a landlocked principality and most international visitors arrive via Toulouse in France or Barcelona in Spain.

The rules are different for each country.

The Andorra Travel Service advises that the current situation is:

  • Travel for non-vaccinated adults and children age 12+ via Spain is not permitted
  • To enter France, non-EU citizens from 12+, whether vaccinated or not, are required to show a negative Covid-19 PCR/Antigen test result within the previous 48 hours**
  • Transit through France to Andorra (direct) is permitted for unvaccinated travellers
  • Travellers returning to the Republic of Ireland will need a negative test for their return journey

** This new policy has been communicated to the Andorra Travel Service locally by the UK authorities in France but it is not yet on the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office website.  

More details of the restrictions are on the Andorra Travel Service website, which will be updated as and when the situation changes.

Grau Roig, Andorra

Grau Roig, Andorra. Image © PlanetSKI

“Inevitably, cancellation will be the only option for some people. Our policy is one of the most flexible in the market,” Iain says.

“If you’re travelling soon and affected by these recent changes, you can move or cancel your holiday.

“For later in the season, we’re encouraging people to hold on and see if things improve or relax after this initial reaction from UK and Europe.

“Our standard cancellation is only 48-hours for transfers and ski extras and 21 days for accommodation.”

If you’re heading to Andorra’s ski areas, this is what else to expect:

  • Masks mandatory for everyone aged over 6 in ski lifts and queues, enclosed spaces, buildings and common areas such as shops and ticket offices.
  • Masks are recommended, but not mandatory, while skiing/snowboarding
  • Maximum of 6 people seated together inside and 10 outside
  • Capacity may be limited in enclosed ski lifts and indoor spaces

The resorts say they are strengthening their cleaning and disinfection measures and will enforce social distancing at critical points.

Andorra, and the Pyrenees in general, is an area often overlooked and misunderstood by British skiers and snowboarders.

“In general the skiing and facilities are far better than some British skiers realise,” says the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove, who has been skiing in the Pyrenees for decades.

“The area has undergone a significant upgrade in recent years and certainly has resorts to match the Alps.

“Plus it has a very good snow record.”

Check out our recent reports:

One of the UK holiday companies that offers ski holidays to Andorra, and other ski areas in the Pyrenees, is Absolutely Snow.

PlanetSKI in Andorra. Grandvalira, Andorra. Image © PlanetSKI

PlanetSKI in Grandvalira, Andorra. Image © PlanetSKI

Here on PlanetSKI we have been covering the rules in ski countries, and all the changes, in these recent articles.

Transit travel through Switzerland is now possible

Swiss Covid-19 restrictions impact travel

Italy tightens Covid-19 restrictions

France extends Pass Sanitaire requirements to ski lifts

Austria goes into lockdown but skiing can continue

We endeavor to ensure the information provided here is as complete and up-to-date as possible. However, please be aware that we assume no liability in this respect. Information provided by PlanetSKI should be checked with the official information provided by the authorities. The situation regarding travel warnings and local rules changes quickly.

Image © PlanetSKI