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European countries famous for their alpine ski slopes are in a dilemma about keeping the grounds and resorts open this winter, especially during the Christmas and New Year break, owing to the pandemic situation.
With memories of a large number of COVID-19 cases across Europe traced to one single ski resort in Austria during the first phase of the pandemic, according to media reports, countries like Germany and France are wary of fresh wave of infections.
Germany, which has extended its partial lockdown until December 20, is urging its citizens to avoid unnecessary contact, such as cutting down on private trips, including tourism related ones.
Many regions in Germany, such as Bavaria, have already announced that their ski slopes will remain shut this winter.
The country is also pushing for a coordinated regulation to keep ski resorts shut this winter. Because if ski resorts remain open in certain countries, then it is likely that visitors may carry back the infection to their home countries.
According to French media, the country’s ski slopes are definitely not opening for the Christmas vacation. Both Italy and France are in favour of a coordinated policy.
Very revealing: Germany is seeking an agreement with EU countries to keep ski resorts closed. The Austrian government is opposed and demands EU compensation payments. After being one of the major blocking players in discussions concerning the EU recovery fund during the summer... pic.twitter.com/hMTKzfbdjd— Philipp Heimberger (@heimbergecon) November 27, 2020
However, Austria has so far not agreed to keep its ski slopes shut even though it said ‘apres-ski’ (social activities which follow after a day of skiing) will not be allowed and gondolas will not operate, reports said.
Ski slopes in Sweden and Switzerland are operating, local media reported. According to travel experts, if the EU reaches a consensus over the closing of ski slopes and resorts, Switzerland, which is not part of the group, may see a spurt in visitors (subject to travel restrictions imposed by other nations).
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