Germany wants alpine nations to close ski resorts to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, but reaching an agreement with neighboring Austria is proving difficult, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday.
“The ski season is approaching. We will try to coordinate in Europe to see if we can close all ski resorts,” Merkel told parliament. “It is not possible to resist Austria, but Germany will try again.”
In the first wave of coronavirus earlier this year, many Germans became infected at the Austrian ski resort of Ishgel. Germany last month issued travel warnings for popular ski territories in Ria Austria, Italy and Switzerland.
France, Italy, Austria and Germany have also ordered all high-altitude lifts to be shut down in the run-up to early winter, in the hope that all resorts will gradually benefit, now and when the rate of infection slows.
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The Austrian nationwide lockdown is set to end on December 7, but it is not clear what that will mean for the ski area. European stria has been lighthearted about general European rules.
Germany is the largest source of foreign tourists to Austria.
Earlier this week, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte warned people not to ski during the Christmas holidays to help curb the second wave of coronavirus epidemics.
He has also called on other European countries to agree on general rules in the region to prevent import cases if Italy closes its doors.
France says its ski resort must stay out of range until 2021.
If the European Union forces skiing areas to close, it would mean a loss of up to 2 billion euros (over 3 2.38 billion), which the EU should cover, Austrian finance minister Garnot Blumel said earlier this week.
Switzerland, which is not part of the EU, is allowing normal operations at its ski resorts.
Merkel agreed late Wednesday night with leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states to extend and tighten the coronavirus lockdown until December 20, but families and friends could celebrate together to ease the rules on the Christmas holidays.