- Title: Ski season cut short due to coronavirus in French and Swiss Alps
- Date: 15th March 2020
- Summary: CHAMPERY, SWITZERLAND (MARCH 15, 2020) (REUTERS) SIGN READING (French and English) "SKI RESORT CLOSED" / MAP SHOWING RED LIGHT FOR CLOSED AREAS MAP SHOWING RED LIGHT FOR CLOSED SLOPES (SOUNDBITE) (French) PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF LES PORTES DU SOLEIL LIFT COMPANY, ENRIQUE CABALLERO, SAYING: "Naturally, we are all aware of the Federal Council's instructions, on our side, we will apply them, strictly speaking. We also followed on Friday night (March 13), the recommendations of the Swiss and Valais lift companies, we had to obviously close, we have to think of the health of our customers, our staff, but also our clients." VARIOUS OF EMPTY SKI TRACKS AND CLOSED CHAIR LIFT (SOUNDBITE) (French) OWNER OF A RESTAURANT IN THE SKI RESORT, ADRIEN HUROT, SAYING: "Well, we adapt to the conditions that the government is imposing and we keep smiling as we have other activities to do, we get back to other activities, like for example, right now I'm sledding with my son and it's true that on Sunday morning, it is a pleasure to do that on ski tracks and we make do." VARIOUS OF EMPTY SKI TRACKS AND CLOSED CHAIR LIFT SIGN READING (French) "PERMANENT CLOSURE" / POSTER WITH RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COVID-19 SNOW TRACTOR LA CLUSAZ, FRANCE (MARCH 15, 2020) (REUTERS) EMPTY CHAIRLIFT CHAIRLIFT AT STANDSTILL VARIOUS OF SNOWBOARDERS LYING IN THE SUN SLOPES TELEMARK SKIIER GOING UP SLOPE (SOUNDBITE) (French) SKI HOLIDAYMAKER, ARNAUD ROUGERON, SAYING: "I think we'll stay a couple of days and then we'll head back to Paris depending on the weather and how we feel." JOURNALIST: "Disappointed?" ROUGERON: "A bit of course. But we're in the mountain, we're outside. We can go out, we're better off here than in the Paris syndrome, it's the apocalypse there, so here's nice. We're enjoying the nice weather and the fresh air, still feels like being on holiday." SNOWBOARDERS (SOUNDBITE) (French) SNOWBOARD ENTHUSIAST, PHILIPPE MARIN, SAYING: JOURNALIST: "What are you doing now, are you walking up?" MARIN: "We're going up on foot, it's icy." JOURNALIST: "Is it not annoying?" MARIN: "It's better than nothing. It's better than being in Paris, that's for sure." SKI PATROLLERS WALKING IN SNOW CLOSED ENTRANCE TO CHAIRLIFT CHAIRLIFT AT STANDSTILL (SOUNDBITE) (French) LA CLUSAZ SKI PATROLLER, CHRISTOPHER, SAYING: "It's a bit annoying because I'm now out of work but we'll see what is being decided and we'll see for the rest." CHRISTOPHER PUTTING ON JACKET WHILE LEAVING
- Keywords: Alps COVID-19 Coronavirus closure ski resorts skiing
- Reuters ID: LVA001C55WX1J
- Location: CHAMPERY, SWITZERLAND / LA CLUSAZ, FRANCE
- City: CHAMPERY, SWITZERLAND / LA CLUSAZ, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Duration: 00:03:45
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: All but the most determined skiers left Alpine ski resorts on Sunday (March 15) as lifts shut across France, Switzerland and Austria in line with new government measures to limit the transmission of coronavirus measures in Europe.
Switzerland, at the centre what is now the biggest hub of coronavirus transmission in Europe, ordered on Friday (March 13) the closure of ski lifts and gondolas among other measures. France and Austria followed with similar measures over the weekend.
In the idyllic Swiss village of Champery, part of the vast Portes-du-Soleil resort that spans the border with France, tourists were checking out of hotels and removing skis from rental lockers.
The ski season normally lasts until late April, following the busy Easter holidays.
However, some determined skiers, lured by the good conditions and sunshine, hiked up to the top on back-country skis and skied down empty slopes.
On the French side in the resort of La Clusaz, tourists were also disappointed to have to stay at the bottom of the slopes. Many decided to shorten their stay in the ski mountain resort.
"We're better off here than in the Paris syndrome, it's the apocalypse there," said holidaymaker Arnaud Rougeron.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on Saturday (March 15) closures of non-essential establishments across France. Restaurants, cafes, bars and cinemas would be closed indefinitely, Philippe said.
So too would libraries, shopping malls, and sports halls -- any venue deemed non-essential. Food stores and gas stations would remain open.
(Production: Denis Balibouse, Antony Paone, Lucien Libert)
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