Italy and Austria delay ski openings

4th January 2021, by Abi Butcher

Under coronavirus restrictions, the Austrian ski resort of Kitzbühel is open to locals only

Under coronavirus restrictions, the Austrian ski resort of Kitzbühel is open to locals only

Italy and Austria have delayed opening their ski resorts until 18 January, at the earliest.

When resorts were closed in October in Italy, they were given a preliminary opening date of 7 January, in line with Austria, which opened its slopes on 24 December for locals only.

But on 2 January Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza signed an ordinance delaying the opening of lifts until later this month (at least), citing: “At the present time, due to the recent epidemiological trend at international level that has not facilitated the taking of the necessary decisions, it is believed that the conditions do not exist to allow initiatives and actions to allow the opening of the facilities on 7 January.”

Austria went into a third hard lockdown on 26 December, for around a month, which includes keeping ski resorts closed to visitors. While ski lifts opened on Christmas Eve in resorts in Tyrol, Voralberg, Styria and Salzburg for locals only (accommodation is closed until at least 18 January), capacity is reduced on those lifts to 50 per cent, and all skiers must wear FFP2 masks on lifts and in queues. Some resorts in Styria are temperature testing skiers who volunteer.

Neighbouring Germany is under a hard lockdown until at least 10 January, so ski resorts remain closed until at least 11 January, while France is reviewing the situation, with a re-opening date of 7 January set last month. Domaines Skiables de France is currently taking legal action over the French government’s decision to close ski resorts and mountain regions, citing the fact that the industry is losing billions in income.

Some ski resorts in Spain are currently open, as are those in Andorra, but in the latter country the slopes are for locals only. Andorra may open to international visitors on 9 January but that is yet to be confirmed.

Eastern Europe is mainly closed, while in Scandinavia, ski resorts in Sweden and Norway opened last month with Covid safety precautions in place.

Ski resorts in Valais, Graubunden and Bern remain open in Switzerland, while the coronavirus re-infection rate (R rate) remains below one. Have you read our blog “What really happened in Verbier” yet? Don’t believe the headlines about 200 midnight escapees. It’s #fakenews.

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