The decision to open or not the ski resorts for the Christmas holidays will be made “In the next ten days”, Matignon said on Monday after a meeting in the morning with stakeholders in the sector.
” The question “ to open or leave the stations closed “Has not yet been decided, the two options still being considered given the uncertainties about the evolution of the health situation”, Matignon said in a press release.
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“Taking into account the preparation time necessary to allow a possible opening for the end-of-year holidays, a decision will be taken in the next ten days”, continued Matignon, indicating the health criteria will be “Essential”, but also coordination with ” neighboring countries “.
Highest incidence rate
The health situation is particularly tense in the Alpine region: Haute-Savoie still has the highest incidence rate in France (485.4 / 100,000 inhabitants) just ahead of neighboring Savoie (385.9 / 100,000) and Isère (365.2 / 100,000). This makes the authorities fear the saturation of hospitals already clogged with coronavirus patients and who fear the influx of tourists for accidents on the tracks.
“Beyond the sports or outdoor activities offered by the mountain resorts, the life of the resorts itself at the time of Covid-19 is a matter of particular concern for the government”, argues Matignon.
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A health protocol has been fine-tuned for weeks under the aegis of the prefect of Savoie in the event of the possibility of reopening the stations. A crucial issue for the entire white gold sector – 350 stations in France, 10 billion in economic benefits – which accounts for 13.5% of its attendance during the pre-season and around 13% at Christmas.
“It is premature to make a decision today or tomorrow because things change very quickly. The important thing is that when the stations open, everything will have been anticipated ”, stressed to AFP Hervé Gaymard, the president of the departmental council of Savoie who represents “45% of French skiing”.
The main question concerns the hotel and catering sector, while “Some activities may remain closed even if the stations are reopened”, underlines Hervé Gaymard.
The rent problem
The main hotel organization, Umih, for its part indicated that it pleaded for “Restaurants can welcome their customers on site and recalled that health protocols, reinforced since September when they were properly applied, constituted effective barriers against the spread of the virus”.
Didier Chenet, president of GNI, the employers’ union of independent hotel and restaurant workers, called for more help, citing the “Rent problem”, while operators must also accommodate a large number of seasonal workers.
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Wondering about the possibility of reopening the restaurants, even though they will most likely remain closed in the rest of the territory during the end-of-year celebrations, Didier Chenet also stressed that in the mountains the “Almost all of the hotels are hotel-restaurants”.
Therefore, “If restaurants are closed administratively, hotels must also be closed, so that they can be within the perimeter of the establishments assisted, which is not currently the case”, he insisted.