Austrian ski slopes have been allowed to remain open while the rest of the country languishes under a 20-day lockdown.
While Austria has entered into another national lockdown, forcing bars, restaurants, cinemas, pubs, gyms, and all non-essential shops to shut, ski resorts within the country will be allowed to continue welcoming elites to their slopes.
Austrians have largely been confined to their homes since Monday, and are only allowed to leave to buy food and to exercise under the 20-day lockdown.
According to a report by The Telegraph, skiing is considered a recreational outdoor exercise, and as such slopes have been allowed to remain open.
Ski lifts and cablecars have also been permitted to keep operating, as they have been defined as essential services. Austrian authorities have cited safety reasons for the decision, saying that the lifts are needed in order to prevent skiers from getting stuck on top of mountains.
While slopes have managed to dodge the lockdown order, there have been new restrictions put in place that resorts will be legally forced to abide by.
Only those who are vaccinated will be permitted to use the slopes, as well as the lifts, with unvaccinated to be refused access, which is perhaps unsurprising considering the government’s announcement vaccination will become mandatory from February 1st. Those who refuse the jab will be facing possible fines and even imprisonment.
Austria: Unvaccinated Could Face Prison as Country Locks Down and Govt Makes Vaccines COMPULSORY https://t.co/WMPcDzhJne
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 19, 2021
Enthusiast publication PlanetSKI reported that passengers will be required to wear FFP2 masks on both cable cars and gondolas.
The slopes will also not be open for tourists, with hotels across the country shutting down during the latest lockdown. Bars and restaurants attached to resorts will also remain closed.
The move comes around 20 months after an investigation was launched over possible negligence at an Austrian ski resort in the town of Ischgl. It was believed that the ski resort may have been one of the first epicentres of the Chinese coronavirus in Europe, with it being theorized that the UK’s first case originated from the resort.
The government in Austria has a history of making interesting decisions around which businesses would be allowed to escape lockdown restrictions, notably allowing prostitutes to operate in February, while bars and nightclubs remained closed.
Lockdown Europe Style: Prostitutes Return to Work, Bars Kept Closed https://t.co/mK8PXfO9Wq
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 10, 2021