How will covid-19 shape the skiing season in Austria?
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Camping lovers are mostly active also in winter and like the alpine or cross-country skiing. Austria is the first country that published the measures that will be implemented at their skiing resorts.
Austrian government has announced that ski resorts will be opened normally, but with some additional security and hygiene standards. These determine mandatory wearing of mask and changed behavior in the bars and restaurants on ski slopes.
Winter tourism is very important for Austria and they hope that will additional measures ski resorts can remain opened all season long, with expected 20% less guests than in last winter. The most important guests come to Austria from Germany, that has in last days listed three Austrian lands - Vienna, Tyrol and Vorarlberg - on the red list.
Mandatory protective face mask on ski lifts and cabel cars
Tourist workers are pointing out that skiing will still be as normal as possible, with certain limitations and rules that will need to be followed. As it stands for all forms of public transport, everyone on ski lifts and cable cars will need to wear a mask. This is especially crucial for all closed cabel cars! In waiting lines, a one meter of distance between people will need to be respected.
Wearing protective face masks covering the nose and mouth is also mandatory in enclosed areas (lift stations, areas around the cash desks and ticket offices, shops, ski depots, toilets, etc.) and also on the ski busses.
Wearing a mask/protection during the skiing will most likely not present any problem - large majority of skiers have been already using the cap under the helmet or protective scarfs - buff. The ski slopes managers are considering an option of giving buffs for free or for low price to each buyer of the ski ticket as they play the same role as protective masks.
Gondolas and lift chairs are for now planned to be used normally as so far - they are not planning any restrictions in terms of number of people allowed in gondola or on ski lift. They will however, guarantee frequent disinfection for cable cars.
However, some regions and ski resorts can determine for themselves stricter rules - some are thinking about limiting the highest number of visitors per day.
Ski fun YES, but without après-ski parties
The biggest change on ski slopes will be seen when stopping for a drink or a meal in a restaurant. It will not be allowed to serve drinks at bar. We all remember that in spring one corona virus hot spots was ski resort Ischgl where visitors had fun during the après-ski parties.
New rules require that all guests need to be seated while eating or drinking which will ensure proper distance among people. This applies to all indoor and outdoor tables.
Restaurants and bars in all ski resort will be open until 22.00. All larger manifestations are for now cancelled as they do not want to gather larger numbers of people at one spot - this always presents higher threat for spread of the coronavirus that would endanger whole skiing season.
Regarding the ski schools they have advised smaller groups up to 10 people. Additionally, they plan to test for coronavirus not only all tourist and catering workers, but as well ski teachers.
As Christmas fairs are part of traditional winter offer in Austria, they will try to organize they will try to organize them with additional preventive measures and with respect for safety distance.