CORONAVIRUS: SWITZERLAND’S PLAN TO EASE LOCKDOWN
SWISS ANNOUNCE GRADUAL LOCKDOWN RELEASE
In a meeting of the Swiss Federal Council last week a timetable was agreed to begin easing the lockdown – and it’s encouraging reading for all Swiss ski resorts, but especially for our Peak Leaders courses in Saas Fee and Verbier.
Essentially it falls into three phases – as you can imagine all of these are subject to change (and possible delay) as the medical evidence develops and cases of Covid-19 fluctuate.
As with many countries, a number of businesses have already started to reopen if they are able to conform to social distancing regulations.
These include hardware stores and garden centers, as well as treatment of non-essential medical conditions via out-patient appointments or physiotherapy.
It’s a tentative test of how the general population will behave and what the impact on infection rates will be.
The next phase it more far-reaching with schools and creche for younger children opening, as well as new guidelines for restaurants and bars to open.
Crucially it also includes a relaxation of travel restrictions for entry into Switzerland.
These are all moves which impact the operations of any ski resort, so encouraging but not definitive.
The permission to operate “training sessions for popular and competitive sport” is a major development and a vital indicator that skiing as a sport could be up and running some time in the autumn – assuming everything keeps going well here in Switzerland.
The wider opening of infrastructure and entertainment venues is the third wave of proposed openings – and the most significant for us in the ski industry.
They specifically announced that “Mountain transport services” would be able to start opening again in June.
Lift companies would have to make some big changes to how they operate. The bottlenecks in resort are the key issues – so the lift queues, the lifts themselves and communal areas like restaurants, bars and shops.
But starting to open in the summer is low pressure and demand is far lower than skiing season, so this would allow them to keep building on what works whilst ensuring the resort infrastructure could operate in a safe and sensible way.
This process would start over three months before our Saas Fee course begins, which leaves plenty of time for lift companies to improve and adapt their policies.
It really is encouraging news and we know that Patrick at the Park Hotel in Saas Fee has been getting positive feedback in resort about how this will allow summer business to start up again and help us prepare for skiing.
We will be adding more updates on how Peak Leaders and our home resorts are adapting to the challenges of Covid-19, so keep checking back so check back for the latest updates.
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