The lifts have been idle since October. Italy’s Minister of Health Roberto Speranza has now ordered that ski areas may reopen to recreational athletes from January 18. A corresponding decree was issued on Saturday.
The government in Rome had stopped the start of the season because of the second Corona wave in 2020. Originally, the restart of the winter sports season was planned for after the first week of January. But many regions and provinces had asked for a delay.
They would need more time to adapt the health rules in pandemic times. It is about how fully the lifts and gondolas can be occupied in order to guarantee protection against contamination.
Winter sports tourism is a billion dollar business in the Alpine country. Affected companies and associations had designated January 18 as the »last possible point in time«.
Italy, with its 60 million inhabitants, has been hit hard by the pandemic. On Saturday, authorities reported almost 12,000 new infections within 24 hours and 364 new deaths related to the coronavirus.
Lots of deaths
The number of official Covid deaths is just under 75,000. In terms of population, Italy is one of the worst hit countries in the world, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
Skiing was a hotspot for the spread of the corona virus last winter – especially in the Austrian town of Ischgl and its surroundings. According to ORF research, more than 11,000 EU citizens were infected with the virus. This winter, Ischgl doesn’t want to open its ski area until the second half of January and will announce the date of the first day of skiing soon.