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Swiss ski resorts still operating told to ‘close immediately’

The Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) has told any ski resorts still open to the public this weekend that they should “close immediately” in line with the government’s emergency coronavirus measures announced on Friday.

On March 13, the government imposed sweeping measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in Switzerland. These included banning public or private gatherings with over 100 persons. This applies to leisure and recreational facilities, museums, sports centres, cinemas, swimming pools and ski resorts, the government said.

However, while many resorts have ceased operations, some are still partly open, the health office said on Saturday.

In some cantons, the new ordinance is being interpreted differently for ski resorts, it said.

“The Federal Council maintains its position: the measures decided upon also apply to recreational facilities such as ski resorts. Ski resorts as well as other entertainment and leisure facilities with more than 100 people at a time are to be closed. If the operators cannot guarantee compliance with this requirement, ski resorts must cease operations immediately,” it said.

“The Federal Office of Public Health asks those that are still open to close immediately.”

Swiss public radio, SRF, said ski lifts and cable cars in the Jungfrau region and in Gstaad  in central Switzerland were still operating on Saturday, as well as the Titlis. Howver, SRF said ski resorts in cantons Graubünden and Valais had closed. 

The virus is spreading throughout Switzerland. More than 1,100 cases were reported as of March 14 by federal authorities, as well as 11 deaths.