France’s ski resorts, among the most popular in Europe, will not be allowed to reopen in time for the year-end holiday season, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.
In a TV address announcing the end of a nationwide lockdown on December 15, Macron said coronavirus risks made it “impossible” to allow winter sports to resume quickly.
Macron will recommend Andorra to make the same decision (Emmanuel Macron is co-prince of Andorra, the second co-prince is Bishop of Urzhel).
Macron said he would consult with his European partners to coordinate start dates for the winter season.
It was preferable, Macron said, to plan for a re-opening of the resorts in mid-January “under favourable conditions”.
If France and Spain do not open their ski resorts before Christmas, and Andorra, on the contrary, decides on this measure, this could lead to a large concentration of skiers on the slopes of the principality.
In addition, it will be very difficult for neighboring states to agree that their citizens will ski in Andorra if they cannot do it in their own countries. This could trigger a violent protest campaign from the part of these countries.
The Haute-Savoie region in the French Alps on Monday had the highest number of virus infections per 100,000 people in the entire country, followed by the neighbouring Savoie region.
France totals 350 ski resorts employing 120,000 people during the high season and generating an estimated 10 billion euros ($11.9 billion) of income each year.