GENEVA (AP) – Two weeks after dropping the Covit-19, Theory Salam Huff is getting ready to run down with his blue and glowing yellow ski getup and his mood as bright as the sun as his ski boots crash through the Swiss ice near Matterhorn Peak. Overhead.
The 31-year-old real estate agent from the southwestern Swiss region of Wallis can’t believe he skied during an epidemic, let alone one thing he personally endured – it has caused a rift between his country and its alpine neighbors that people can ski, and they can’t.
Although the rise of the corona virus has led Austria, France and Italy to close or severely restrict access to their ski resorts this holiday season, Switzerland has kept its slopes open – complaining about a fancy sports field when the move comes to alpine fun. .
“This is true, we have the privilege,” said Salamin, excited about the “paradise” of the Germat slopes and gesturing at the corpse toward Italy. “The fact that people on the Italian side can’t go skiing is so bad because those slopes are spectacular.”
Disagreement between nations during the worst epidemics of a century reduces issues such as health, trade, economy, culture and well-being. But this violates one of the key principles promoted by the World Health Organization to help combat COVID-19: unity.
Swiss people say they are taking reasonable steps to fight the corona virus. Like much of Europe, the number of epidemics in Switzerland rose in late October and rose to more than 10,000 a day on two occasions a month earlier – the highest number in the country at 8.5 million.
Officers require ski lifts and masks in rows, and recommend hand hygiene and physical distance measures. These are just small offers for the hundreds of loyal skiers who happily returned for a weekend on the Swiss slopes near Matterhorn on Thursday.
The French government is targeting Switzerland, which is not a member of the European Union, but warns that residents of France returning from ski holidays could face virus tests and isolated orders. The French move is aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, but it has come as some officials and business leaders in French alpine cities have complained about unfair restrictions.
On Friday, amid such pressure, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset announced that it would “tighten” Switzerland’s rules governing ski stations. Sky areas must be approved by the cantonal or regional authorities by December 22 to continue to operate.
Trains, gondola and cable cars in the ski areas will be limited to two-thirds of the maximum capacity starting Wednesday, his ministry said. But there are still more restrictions and less than in other countries.
Neighbors see. Across the border from Germat in Italy, the Valle de Asta Regional Council voted to open its ski lift anyway in defiance of the national government, but the issue could be bound in court.
Nicola Rubin, mayor of the French city of Satell, near the Swiss border, has built his town hall on Swiss flags in defiance of orders from Paris. On Swiss public television on Wednesday he said he was “not jealous” of Switzerland, saying Swiss authorities had fully considered their rules.
The European Union – which considers Austria, France and Italy as members – has stopped recommending a holiday travel ban. But national officials are taking precautionary measures, such as the widespread incidents at ski resorts in those three countries that aided the seed disaster eruptions in Europe earlier this year.
On Thursday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte confirmed that the Italian ski lift would remain closed until January 7. France is yet to be determined, but sees a resumption in mid-January. Austria will allow skiing to begin on December 24, but will reduce ski lift capacity in early January.
In Germat, this weekend – just before the start of the usual high winter – it is important to watch out for warnings from overseas politicians and lamentations from winter business owners overseas, skiers.
“Tourism is our only source of income, it’s our life,” Germat Mayor Romy Bainer-Hauser said in an interview.
“No one wants to be a hotspot, no one wants to be a super spreader,” he said. “Where’s the difference (between) doing outdoor activities … (in) the sun, the fresh air, the mountains, against a shopping mall in a big city? So far no one has given me that answer.”
Germat Tourism officials, so far, are showing at least a 20% drop in overnight stays this year. Traditionally, half of the visitors come from Switzerland and the other half from abroad – many coming not only from neighboring countries but also from afar.
“We are very confident that the government will not be locked up again, and we hope that people from other countries will be able to cross the border,” said Dave Breeze, an Italian ski instructor at Germat. “There is no point in locking up the world. It means: ‘Let’s stop living.’ ”
Nadine Achoi-Lesage in Germat, Switzerland, Colin Barry in Milan, Sylvie Corbett in Paris and Samuel Petrequin in Brussels all contributed to the report.