Ready to hit the slopes? You may have to sit in quarantine before you do

Austrian ski resorts are set to reopen, but those arriving from the Czech Republic will have to jump through some hoops before they are allowed to ski.

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro
Published on 04.12.2020 11:50 (updated on 04.12.2020)

Austria will reopen their outdoor winter sport centers this winter, but Czechs may have to quarantine if they want to hit the slopes.

As coronavirus cases continue to rise, many European countries like Germany, Italy and France have called on other European countries to keep their ski resorts closed, according to reports.

But outdoor winter sports like skiing and snowboarding make up a big portion of Austria's economy, and the country has always planned to reopen their slopes. Starting Dec. 25, Austria will allow outdoor sports like skiing, snowboarding and skating, though indoor sports grounds will remain closed.

However, starting Monday, everyone entering Austria from a risk country like the Czech Republic will have to quarantine for 10 days. If you test negative for the virus after five days of quarantine, you will be free to leave.

In addition, hotels and restaurants will remain closed across Austria until Jan. 7.

Officials have said these measures are meant to reduce the amount of visitors entering the country for skiing and snowboarding.

"I would like everything to return to normal as soon as possible. But I would not plan a holiday in the Alps yet," Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček said on Twitter. "In some places the resorts will probably not open immediately, in others, with restrictions. The most popular in our country is Austria: closed bars at the slopes, I also expect restrictions on the cable car, for example."

European countries remain split on reopening ski slopes this winter. France, Germany and Italy have urged others to keep the slopes closed over Christmas and New Year's to stop the spread of the virus.

To discourage tourism, France will introduce random border checks near ski resorts in neighboring countries. Officials have discussed having people in border regions in France stay at home for a period of time.

On the other hand, several countries have opened their slopes. Switzerland reopened their ski slopes, and ski resorts in Slovakia remain open, despite the worsening COVID-19 situation. Starting Tuesday, skiing in Poland will reopen.

In the Czech Republic, ski resorts have started to prepare for the season ahead, even though it is still not clear whether they will be allowed to reopen, according to reports. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is still preparing the rules for reopening, and they should be announced in the coming days. However, these rules must be approved by the Ministry of Health and epidemiologists.