The Italian Government left it until hours before Italian ski areas had planned to open before finally telling them they could not, announcing a fourth extension of ski are closures instead, this time to March 5th.
The first ski areas in Italy had been expecting to open this morning, Monday 15th February, 2-3 months later than they normally would have done so after lockdown rules appeared to be eased to to allow some to do so – under strict pandemic restrictions.
The announcement that they would not be allowed to do so after everything had appeared to be finally approved, coming late on Sunday evening, caused anger and frustration.
The ski areas had worked for months with local, regional and national governments on COVID-safe operating procedures. Restrictions reported to be in place due to pandemic operating including online ticket purchasing only, 50-30% operating capacities, mask wearing, social distancing and so on.
Re-opening was due to be on a region by region basis and depends firstly on the region being put in the country’s lower ‘Yellow’ tier for the pandemic and then upon the regional government approving the re-opening of ski-areas.
Under this system most Italian areas could open although Trentino has been moved up to the orange tier today preventing resorts like Madonna di Campiglio, Vall di Fassa and San Martino from Re-opening.
It joined South Tyrol region which will be in the orange zone until at least 28th February. It is home to Alta Badia, Val Gardena and Alpe di Siusi among others.
Some areas including the province of Veneto, home to the current World Alpine Skiing Championships hosts Cortina d’Ampezzo, as well as ski areas including Arabba, were reported to have not yet made their minds up as of the 15th.
Most other ski areas in the rest of the country had planned to open today or later this week however.
Slopes were mostly due to have opened to local people with ski holiday travel banned or possible but very difficult depending on where you live.
Italy went in to its first lockdown on March 9th 2020 so the latest extension takes the closure to almost a year since then, although several of the country’s summer ski areas including Cervinia operated through summer and autumn 2020 before the second lockdown