(Reuters) – European skiers are facing a bleak holiday season as countries shut resorts and impose other restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Some states have called for a continent-wide shut-down. Others have resisted and decided to give people some time on the slopes. Below is an overview of the situation in some of the main skiing centres.
France will let ski resorts reopen on Jan.7, if the coronavirus situation will allow it, French junior foreign affairs minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said.
French authorities said they would make random border checks to deter people from travelling to slopes in Switzerland and Spain.
Ski resorts will remain open for domestic tourism. Ski lifts, trains, gondolas and other enclosed transport are being limited to two-thirds capacity. After Dec. 22, ski resorts will need local authority approval to remain open.
The canton of Grisons, home to ski resorts including Davos, have introduced a new mass-testing programme in the hope that this will identify asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers.
Some ski resorts have reopened, with skiers hitting the slopes of Catalonia after the region bordering France eased coronavirus restrictions that had prevented people leaving their home municipality.
Resorts can reopen from Christmas Eve onwards, but Austria has made skiing holidays difficult by keeping hotels and other tourist accommodation closed until Jan. 7. Quarantines have been extended to deter foreign visitors. The rules essentially limit skiing to locals who can get close enough for a day-trip.
Germany had already announced ski lifts as well as tourist hotels, restaurants and bars would be closed until Dec. 20 even before Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a new nationwide lockdown that will be in place – including in ski resorts – until Jan. 10.
Merkel has also been pushing for tougher and longer restrictions across Germany and Europe.
All slopes and skiing facilities are closed.
All ski resorts are closed under a tough package of restrictions also including bans on midnight mass and travel between regions over the Christmas period.
Ski slopes will remain open for locals only. Operators must follow a strict sanitary regime to ensure the safety of both skiers and workers.
(Compiled by Elizaveta Gladun, Veronica Snoj and Aida Pelaez-Fernandez, Editing by Timothy Heritage)
FILE PHOTO: Empty ski lifts at the Cervinia Ski Paradise ski resort, which is closed to public due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions but has opened up its pistes for national athletes to train for winter sports events, in Breuil-Cervinia, Italy, December 10, 2020. REUTERS/Giuliano Berti