Coronavirus pandemic: Germany seeks European Union deal to close ski resorts

Elias Hubbard
Ноября 26, 2020

While urging Germans to stay at home over the year's end festive season, the states and federal government agreed to "work at the European side, to not allow ski tourism until 10 January". "We will be trying to coordinate in Europe whether we could close all ski resorts", Dr Merkel told Parliament, adding that this might not be possible, given resistance from Austria, but Germany would try again.

"I would prefer to have a common agreement on a European level: no ski lifts open, no (ski) holidays anywhere", said Söder.

He also called on other European countries to agree on common rules for the sector to prevent cases being imported from overseas if Italy keeps its slopes closed.

Who else wants to shut the slopes?

The Austrian ski resort of Ischgl gained notoriety earlier this year after it became an early Covid-19 hotspot and infected tourists there helped spread the virus across Europe.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has already backed delaying the start of the ski season, but has stressed the need for a European solution.

Germany wants Alpine countries to keep ski resorts closed to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, but reaching an agreement with neighbouring Austria is proving hard, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday (Nov 26).

"If Italy chose to shut down all its ski lifts without any support from France, Austria and the other countries, then Italian tourists would risk going overseas and taking the contagion back home", he told the La7 channel earlier this week.

Austria has already rejected the idea of an EU-wide ban. He estimates such a shutdown would cost Austrian resorts up to €2 billion ($2.4 billion). "However with the announcement from France that they may not open their ski areas until January and likely that Austria and Italy may follow suit, all eyes are focused on Switzerland, the historical and supreme playground for skiers".

The Swiss industry is hoping for an influx of European tourists over Christmas after Switzerland recently lifted quarantine requirements for people arriving from most of the continent.

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