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

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

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.

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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.
 

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  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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