Swiss ski industry impatient to know about this year’s Covid measures

With the start of the ski season only a few weeks away, winter sports operators are anxious to find out which measures will be put in place on the slopes.

Ski slopes with the moon in the background in St Moritz, Switzerland
Swiss ski resorts have heavily criticised the government for not releasing information about the upcoming ski season. Photo by Valentin B. Kremer on Unsplash

Please note: The Swiss government clarified the applicable rules on October 19th in an announcement. Click here for more information. 

With the start of the ski season just around the corner, resort operators want to know what protective measures will be implemented.

The Federal Council has not announced its decision on the matter yet, with resort operators saying they are in the dark about the type of measures which might be put in place. 

“We need planning security,” Mario Bislin, CEO of Flumserberg Ski Lifts told Neue Zurcher Zeitung. “After all, we want to tell our guests as specifically as possible how they should behave on and off the slopes”.

Authorities are particularly concerned that one or more Swiss ski areas could turn into a “hotspot”. 

One possible option would be to require masks and distance in certain areas, such as in chair lifts and other places where people congregate. 

On the other hand, if a 2G or 3G rule was implemented, it would allow people to ski and congregate without masks – although it would risk excluding some people. 

In neighbouring Austria, the equivalent of the Covid certificate is required not only in hotels, bars and restaurants, but also on ski lifts. 

Many in the ski industry are opposed to the Covid certificate requirement currently being debated by the authorities.

“A certificate requirement is nonsense because it does not help”, Bislin said, adding that “contrary to all fears, no ski resort in Switzerland has become a hotspot,” during the 2020 ski season.

Bislin said the measure was too hard to implement on ski slopes, many of which can be accessed from all areas. 

“It is brutally contradictory when 3G is not an issue in public transport with the often tight space conditions and at the same time there is a discussion about compulsory certification for activities in the fresh air,” Bislin said. 

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What will the ski season look like in Switzerland this year?

Lukas Engelberger, president of the Conference of Cantonal Health Directors, said in October that a mandatory certificate for ski lifts and at ski resorts would make sense and would allow to eliminate the mask requirement. 

“I could imagine that the Covid certificate would be imposed in ski resorts”, said Hans Wicki, president of the Association of Swiss Ski Lifts.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


What will Switzerland do about the ‘millions’ of expiring Covid certificates?

In the coming months, millions of Covid certificates are set to expire in Switzerland. What will the government do about it?

What will Switzerland do about the ‘millions’ of expiring Covid certificates?

As certificates are valid for nine months after the second vaccine dose or a booster, “millions of Swiss Covid certificates will expire by autumn at the latest”, according to Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes.

As many Swiss received their most recent shot in late 2021, the nine-month period will soon be coming to an end. 

Although this is not a problem domestically as proof of vaccination is no longer required in Switzerland, it may pose issues for travel. 

Since many countries still require a vaccination certificate for entry, and as the second round of boosters is not yet available in Switzerland,  this means that a large number of people may not be able to travel abroad.

And while other countries have already started to administer second booster shots, Swiss health authorities are dragging their feet, not having even issued a recommendation for the fourth dose yet.

This worries some MPs, who are calling on the government to make second boosters available soonest possible.

“The past has shown that cantons are not always sufficiently prepared. Something like this mustn’t happen again”, said MP Fabian Molina, adding that anyone travelling abroad should be able to be re-vaccinated if they wish. 

Another deputy, Yvonne Feri, noted that the federal government and the cantons have to prepare to vaccinate again within a short period of time.

READ MORE: Reader question: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?