Amid the coronavirus pandemic, several European countries are split over whether to close ski resorts during the Christmas holiday.
Germany and Austria expect the ski season to promote the tourism recovery and do not agree with the suggestion of Italy and the European Union to recommend the collective closure of ski resorts.
Thomas Bares, the German federal tourism commissioner, told the German News Agency on the 25th: “Winter is also safe first, but I believe that by setting clear criteria such as the daily admission ceiling, skiing is feasible to a certain extent and there will be no problem.”
“Despite the pandemic, there is no need to ban skiing altogether this winter,” Barres said. Where a safe environment can be created, we should make things possible (skiing). In his opinion, it should be understood that many people want to go out during the ski season, and the ski season is an important opportunity to promote the economic recovery of many parts of Germany.
Bares believes that the cultural tourism industry is almost unable to survive, and “further lockdown must go hand in hand with financial assistance”.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on the 23rd that Italy does not allow ski holidays to avoid a third wave of epidemic. He called on European countries to coordinate skiing issues. A government source said that Conte tried to persuade EU partners to agree to close the ski resort until at least January 10.
Conte said at a meeting on the 25th that he hoped that Europe would “coordinate and jointly” epidemic prevention, but countries still have the freedom to choose measures according to their own wishes.
“Too-fast, overly relaxed [pandemic] could lead to a third wave of epidemics after Christmas,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in the European Parliament. “I said a few weeks ago that this Christmas will be different from previous years. Yes, it will be quieter this year.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on the 24th that the risk of the epidemic makes it “impossible” for winter sports to recover quickly, and anyone who skis in areas at risk of COVID-19 must be quarantined for 10 days. He hoped that Europe would take unified measures and close all ski resorts in all countries.
Austria has repeatedly stated its intention to open ski areas under the premise of proper epidemic prevention for several months, and strongly opposes the idea of closing ski resorts.
Many European countries have previously agreed to delay the opening of winter sports, but Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz explicitly refused to do so. He said whether Austria delayed opening its winter event project should be linked to “national data on coronavirus infection”.
Austrian Finance Minister Gnoth Brumel said that if ski resorts are closed during the Christmas holiday, the European Union should compensate Austria for billions of euros.