French ski resorts are unlikely to open before January after president Emmanuel Macron said it would be “impossible” to allow winter sports to return quickly.
Macron announced a gradual easing of French lockdown restrictions in three stages yesterday, with friends and families about to meet over Christmas but bars and restaurants to remain closed until January 20.
French media reported that Macron said he would consult with his European partners to coordinate start dates for the winter season. Many resorts in neighbouring Switzerland are already up and running for the winter season.
But Macron said it was preferable for ski resorts to plan for a January re-opening “under favourable conditions” and said he would issue an update within 10 days.
According to French publications, the Haute-Savoie département in the French Alps had the highest number of virus infections per 100,000 people in the entire country on Monday, followed by neighbouring Savoie.
Health authorities have reportedly warned that regional hospitals could be saturated quickly if crowds of skiers from France and abroad were allowed to travel to those areas.
France has 350 ski resorts employing about 120,000 people during the high season and generating an estimated €10 billion of income each year.