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HEALTH

Decision on whether to reopen French ski resorts ‘due within 10 days’

France's prime minister has been meeting with employees of the country's ski sector as the government grapples with the issue of reopening winter resorts.

Decision on whether to reopen French ski resorts 'due within 10 days'
Illustration photo: AFP

At present all ski resorts in France are closed as the country is under lockdown. Although less strict than the spring lockdown, every person in France still needs a permission form and an 'essential reason' to leave their home.

But as the government prepares to announce the next stage of the lockdown from December 1st, which is expected to involve lifting some restrictions, the government also needs to decide on the question of reopening ski resorts in the Alps and Pyrenees.

READ ALSO France lockdown: What's next and when do we find out more?

The end of the 2019/20 ski season was curtailed by the arrival of the pandemic in France in February and the subsequent lockdown from March 17th.

Now the resorts would expect to be beginning a new season, but cannot open.

Prime Minister Jean Castex has been meeting with representatives from the industry, which forms a major part of France's tourist sector, both with foreign and domestic tourists.

The prime minister said: “At this stage, this issue is not yet clear-cut, as the options are still being considered given the uncertainties about the evolution of the health situation.

“The meeting made it possible to examine more precisely the conditions for the implementation of the different scenarios, be it the definition of a specific health protocol or, in the event of closure, the details of economic and social support for the companies and seasonal workers.
 
“In view of the preparation time needed to allow for a possible opening for the end-of-year holidays, a decision will be taken within the next ten days. It will be made in the light of the evolution of the health situation, which must be the essential criterion, and taking care to be as consistent as possible with our neighbouring countries.”
 
It is a dilemma being faced by several Alpine countries – in Austria most resorts remain closed until at least December 6th while in Switzerland resorts are generally open, albeit with strict health rules in place and restrictions on people from certain countries travelling.
 
The German government has advised its citizens against taking skiing holidays, and warned that they may face quarantines on their return.
 
France's ski resorts are usually the destination for thousands of seasonal workers at this time of year, but bosses have largely been forced to put hiring on hold because of the uncertainty of the situation.
 

Member comments

  1. I understand the resorts wanting to open regardless of public health issues, and wishing to ameliorate the catastrophic effects on local employment, but I have no idea why anyone would wish to run the risk of contracting covid19 and/or helping to spread the virus for social or sporting reasons or simply holidays. It’s hardly ‘necessary’ just because it’s enjoyable.
    For 99% of the population there will be another time in the future. Can’t they miss just a few weeks entertainment?

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COVID-19

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

In France, masks will no longer be required on indoor transport as of Monday, May 16th. Here are rules and recommendations that are still in place:

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

Members of the public in France have been asked to wear face masks for the most part of two years, at times even outside in the street.

Since March 14th, 2022, the facial coverings have no longer been mandatory in most establishments such as shops, and as of Monday, May 16th, it will no longer be mandatory on indoor public transport. 

As of May 16th, you will therefore no longer be required to wear a mask in the following transports:

  • Buses and coaches
  • Subways and streetcars
  • RER and TER
  • TGV and interregional lines
  • Taxis

Regarding airplanes whether or not you must wear a mask is a bit more complicated.

On Wednesday, May 11th, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that from May 16th onward it would no longer be required to wear a mask in airports and on board aircraft in the European Union. However, Germany has stated that it does not have the intention of lifting its requirement of wearing a mask on its airlines – this would include the Lufthansa airline. Thus, it will be necessary for passengers to still very to rules each airline has in place, which could be the case when travelling to a country that still has indoor mask requirements in place.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky specified that vulnerable people should continue to wear masks, and that “a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, to reassure those seated nearby.”

Masks still obligatory in medical settings

However, it will still be mandatory for caregivers, patients and visitors in health care facilities, specifically including hospitals, pharmacies, medical laboratories, retirement homes, and establishments for the disabled. 

For people who are vulnerable either due to their age or their status as immunocompromised, wearing a mask will continue to be recommended, though not required, particularly for enclosed spaces and in large gatherings.

Masks are also still recommended for people who test positive, people who might have come in contact with Covid-19, symptomatic people and healthcare professionals.

Will masks come back?

It is possible. French Health Minister Olivier Véran does not exclude the return of mandatory mask-wearing, should the health situation require it.

What are the other Covid-19 restrictions that remain in place?

The primary restriction that has not changed is the French government’s regulation for testing positive: If you are unvaccinated and test positive, isolation is still required for 10 days, if you are vaccinated, this requirement is seven days. Isolation can be reduced from 10 to 7 days or from 7 to 5 days if a negative covid test is performed, and symptoms are no longer present.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?

The French Health Ministry still recommends following sanitary measures such as: wearing a mask in places where it is still mandatory, hand washing, regular ventilation of rooms, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and using a single-use handkerchief (tissue).

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