Latest Coronavirus measures in the Alps
by Richard Visick, 9 October 2020
Winter has arrived early in the mountains this year, with widespread snowfall and many areas of the Alps experiencing their best October snow conditions for years.
We remain optimistic that skiers will be able to get out to the mountains at some point this winter, and many ski resorts are now releasing details of how they are preparing to welcome guests in as safe an environment as possible.
What is the latest news from the mountains?
Many mountain resorts had a busy and successful summer season as they implemented and tested measures to ensure that they were adhering to the strict Covid-19 protocols put in place by their national governments.
Having learned invaluable lessons from their experience over the summer, regional authorities and individual ski resorts are now releasing details of how they are preparing to welcome skiers this season.
We have been monitoring developments closely so that we can share the details with you.
What will the experience be like in resort?
It is likely that any ski holiday this winter will include some, if not all, of the following precautions being taken in resort:
- Face coverings to be worn in all public settings (ski lifts, lift queues, shops, public transport etc.)
- Social distancing to be observed in all environments (lift queues, on lifts, and in shops & restaurants)
- Reduced class sizes for group ski lessons
- Mandatory reservations and table service only in bars and restaurants;
- Temperature checks on entering bars and restaurants
- Restrictions on après-ski activities (bars and restaurants will only serve customers when seated at tables)
- Increased/more frequent cleaning, with hand-sanitiser available in all areas
What precautions will be taken in hotels?
It is likely that measures taken in hotels in ski resorts will include some, if not all, of the following:
- Temperature checks on arrival
- Face coverings to be worn in public areas
- Social distancing measures in bars & restaurants
- Set meal times
- No buffet-style service
- Restricted numbers in pool & spa areas, and/or mandatory pre-booking of time slots
- Increased/more frequent cleaning
What are the individual countries doing?
Note that the information below is correct (to the best of our knowledge) at the time of writing, but should not be relied upon when making travel arrangements without first checking official sources (such as https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice).
Italy was the first European country to feel the full force of the coronavirus pandemic earlier in the year, but has generally coped well since. Most mountain resorts were shut down in March but then started to reopen as early as May.
Italy is currently still on the UK government's travel corridor list, so at this stage looks like the most viable destination for an early season ski holiday, although anyone entering Italy from the UK is required to provide evidence of a negative test result administered less than 72 hours before arrival.
Austria saw some of the biggest outbreaks of Covid-19 back in March, and is taking strict precautions for the 2020-21 ski season, with traditional apres-ski parties now having been officially banned. Strict social distancing measures will be in place in all bars, and customers will only be served if seated at a table. It could be a while before we return to dancing on tables in our ski boots!
The Swiss tourism industry has launched a 'Clean & Safe' campaign to ensure that all hospitality venues comply with protection guidelines. However, with visitors from the UK currently required to quarantine for 10 days on arrival, a ski holiday in Switzerland looks unlikely to be practical in the near future.
Can I book a ski holiday for this winter?
We certainly hope that we will be able to book you a ski holiday at some point this winter, but we still think that there are too many uncertainties and unanswered questions to allow us to do that right now.
As soon as we are confident that we will be able to deliver the kind of ski holiday that you expect or deserve, the very nature of our business and the flexibility of our packages mean that we will be able to move quickly to book the safest destinations, the best means of transport, and the accommodation and duration of holiday that suit you.
While we work to ensure that we can get you to the Alps safely this winter, we are always happy to chat about skiing!
If you would like to discuss options for your next ski holiday, or if you would just like further updates on how the ski industry and the resorts are planning to make this a successful winter season, please feel free to get in touch with us at any time on +44 (0)20 3397 8450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will continue to issue regular updates on news from the Alps and the provisions that resorts, hotels, airlines and transfer companies etc are putting in place to keep you safe and to make Winter 2020/21 a successful ski season.
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Stay safe and remember #WeWillSkiAgain