Covid vaccines needed to ski in Austria and Italy

21st September 2021, by Abi Butcher

If you want to ski in St Anton this winter, you'll need to be double jabbed or test negative

If you want to ski in St Anton this winter, you'll need to be double jabbed or test negative

All skiers over 12 will need to be double jabbed, recovered from Covid or regularly test negative if they want to ski in Austria and Italy

The news means families looking to ski in Austria and Italy — and likely other European countries — will have to navigate a lot more red tape over the 2021/22 ski season.

The Austrian government has extended its “3G” rule to cover all ski lifts, meaning anyone over the age of 12 must be vaccinated, recovered or have an antigen test not older than 24 hours or PCR test of 72 hours. The Italian government is likely to follow suit this week, having been the first European country to require all workers to show a “green pass” — obtained by double-vaccination, recovery from illness or a negative test.

How the new rule will be policed is not yet clear — especially with regard to the purchase and use of season passes and week-long passes for UK teenagers who may be facing Covid testing every 24 hours.

In a worse-case scenario, or if hospital numbers rise, local councils in Austria will have the right to enforce stricter rules (the so-called 2G and 1G) allowing only double-jabbed onto ski lifts. Since 15 September, FFP2 masks have been required on all cable cars.

“The 3G is already needed in restaurants and check-in at hotels,” says Yvonne Rosenstatter, marketing manager of SalzburgerLand Tourist Office. “It is much easier to get antigen and PCR tests here in Austria — at the moment both are available in resorts and free of charge. So they are easily accessible. In the UK you need it flying back for some airlines.”

She added: “We don’t want to lose our guests in Austria, it’s just to make things safer.”

In Italy, the government has voted to extend the use of the Green Pass to ski resorts, ensuring that there is a level of Covid security on lifts. Similarly to the 3G in Austria, the Green Pass is obtained by proof of double vaccination, past infection or negative tests.

The lifts in Italy remained completely closed last winter, due to the Covid pandemic.

Andy Varallo, president of Dolomiti Superski, welcomed the legislation.

“Enforcing the Green Pass will be a great challenge from a technical and organisational point of view,” he said, “but we are happy to know that the start of the next winter season seems at this point to be guaranteed.”

In France, tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne yesterday held a meeting with Domain Skiable des France, France Montagnes and other mountain bosses, to decide whether the Pass Sanitaire should be extended to all French resorts. Similar to the Green Pass or 3G in Austria, the Pass Sanitaire requires people to be double jabbed, single jab and recovery or a negative test.

A spokesman for Serre Chevalier told WTSS: “The decision concerning French ski resorts will be known by mid-October at the latest. For now we don’t know, but it is likely that the ‘pass sanitaire’ as we call it here will be necessary for skiers.”

In Switzerland, the government has yet to make a decision, but resorts have expressed hope that a Covid certificate will not be needed after they handled the season successfully last year.

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