Swiss Federal Council Announces New Measures

As numerous Swiss ski resorts have been open for skiing for some weeks now, and those same resorts along with other ones will start the season from this weekend or extend their already open ski areas, such as is the case with Davos, the Swiss Minister for Health, Mr. Alain Berset, has just this afternoon announced stricter measures for ski resorts in the run-up to Christmas during his televised speech on the general Covid-19 situation in the country.

While he has said that the government’s wish is to keep ski resorts open, he did sound the alarm, warning that closures cannot be ruled out and will depend on how the Covid-19 situation evolves over the next 20-days which he deems as 20 key days as other sources have today in Switzerland warned of the possibility of the third wave of the virus in the country before the end of the year.

The biggest change, and one which does nothing to help the uncertainty currently reigning over the industry throughout Europe, and elsewhere, is that from December 22nd, Swiss ski resorts will require official authorization from their cantonal authorities to open their ski areas, and the granting of said authorization will depend on the regional Covid-19 situation.

He also stated that there must be strict measures in place to prevent the spread, which is really nothing new and is the case already as resorts have invested much in introducing such measures.

However, it has been made clear today that masks must be worn on all ski lifts (including chairlifts and drag lifts) as well as while queuing for the lift where safe distances must be respected between skiers. With regard to closed ski lifts, such as gondolas and cablecars, they will only be allowed to transport two-thirds of their normal capacity.

Additionally, clients will now have to wait outside mountain restaurants until a table is free for them. The rules for eating on terraces have not been changed and remain as they are right now: you must be seated and only 4 people per table (except for families).

It is up to each canton to control these measures, and if the measures are not respected by the resort, they can loose their authorization to be open.

So, Switzerland is tightening the screws with regards to ski resorts, but still not to the same extent as their neighbors, and today the government did reaffirm their desire to do all that is possible to keep ski resorts open once the health situation doesn’t require closure.

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