Prime Minister Jean Castex and Health Minister Olivier Véran will hold a press conference on Thursday at 6pm to review Covid-19 restrictions, and ski resorts were hoping they would get the green light to finally open and being forced to close for the early part of the season.
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But Secretary of State for tourism Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne told AFP that in light of “a rather steep rise in terms of new (Covid-19) cases and intensive care admissions”, the government had decided to push back the date.
France on Wednesday recorded 25,379 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 20,489 the preceding day, and far above the weekly average of around 13,000.
Hospital intensive care wards admitted another 234 patients, a number that has been stable the past few days, but the government fears it will rise following a predicted spike in viral transmissions during the Christmas break.
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Unlike neighbouring Switzerland, France has kept its ski resorts closed since the end of lockdown in early December.
While the government has allowed travel to the mountains and ski resorts, ski lifts and all other infrastructure had to keep shut, ruling out most winter sports.
Alpine areas are among the ones the hardest affected by Covid-19, which is one of the reasons that the government worries about relaxing rules on skiing activities.
Lemoyne said the ski sector would not get a new reopening date until after a Defence Council meeting next week.
“The government is well aware of that the sector needs clarity and we are committed to providing this for the rest of the season as quickly as possible,” Lemoyne said.
Across France all bars, cafés and restaurants remain shut
as well, along with cinemas, theatres and other cultural establishments. The French government has already confirmed that it intends to postpone the reopening of both these sectors in light of the current health situation.