UK News Ski resorts in the crosshairs as Europe plans for a Covid-19 Christmas

07:15  26 november  2020
07:15  26 november  2020 Source:   france24.com

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Signs are posted as skiers wait for the lifts to start at the reopening of Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort on May 27. Photo: David Zalubowski/AP/Shutterstock. We’ re committed to keeping our readers informed. We’ve removed our paywall from essential coronavirus news stories.

When Covid - 19 closed Europe ’s ski season in early March – leaving thousands of skiers stranded when their resorts shut In the Italian Dolomites resort of Alta Badia, covered cable cars will run at reduced capacity and at the highest possible speeds to reduce time spent in an enclosed environment.

Germany announced Wednesday that it will push for Europe to ban ski holidays in a bid to curb coronavirus infections, while cases of Covid-19 reached a new peak of more than 60 million globally.

Angela Merkel smiling for the camera © Reuters (pool)

The prospect of Christmas behind closed doors rather than on the slopes stretched before Europeans as Americans faced their own gloom, recording the highest daily death toll from the virus in six months on the eve of a subdued Thanksgiving holiday.

US President-elect Joe Biden cited accelerating plans to deliver a vaccine as he appealed for his “weary” countrymen to dig deep, with Covid-19 surging around the country.

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Ski resorts were one of the major sources of contagion in the deadly spring surge of COVID - 19 . In Bavaria, Germany’s largest ski destination, Governor Markus Soeder supported the idea, saying that if Europe ’s borders are to remain open through the Christmas season there will have to be some sort

As the Covid - 19 pandemic rages on, European countries are taking different steps to ‘save’ Christmas and New Year holidays amid lockdowns Germany: ‘mini-amnesty’ for Christmas . German authorities reportedly plan to reduce permitted private gatherings to five people starting from December 1.

“There is real hope, tangible hope. So hang on. Don’t let yourself surrender to the fatigue,” Biden said in a televised Thanksgiving address.

“You will get your lives back. Life is going to return to normal. That will happen. This will not last forever.”

Biden spoke as a tally of official sources compiled by AFP showed that more than 60 million infections leading to 1.4 million deaths have been recorded around the world since the new coronavirus emerged in China late last year.

The number of infections—roughly equivalent to the population of Italy—likely only reflects a fraction of the actual total, as many countries lack testing capacity.

Rising cases have seen countries around the world impose new restrictions in recent weeks, though some—such as France and the United Kingdom—have begun cautiously opening back up again.

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Some North American ski resorts announced closures hours after telling guests they'd remain open They were open for business, monitoring "the rapidly evolving impacts of coronavirus ( COVID - 19 ) Vail Resorts plans to close through March 22 with the possibility of reopening for a few weeks after a

the country’s Covid - 19 restrictions for at least another four weeks, but made special exemptions for close family and friends on Christmas . for the Germans, Merkel said, announcing the government’s decision as she called on the nation to make “one more” push in the battle against the virus.

Germany, however, announced Wednesday that it will extend its virus curbs until 2021 and plans to seek a deal with European partners to close ski slopes until January 10.

The statement from Chancellor Angela Merkel dovetailed with French plans announced one day earlier to shutter ski resorts through the year’s end. Infected tourists at ski resorts helped spread the virus across Europe earlier this year.

“I will say this openly that it won’t be easy, but we will try,” Merkel said.

The move put Berlin and Paris on a collision course with resort operators and holiday hotspot Austria ahead of the crucial Christmas season.

In non-EU member Switzerland, however, skis resorts are open—although police have been spotted patrolling to ensure that skiers respect anti-Covid measures such as wearing masks and social distancing.

Grieving families

In the US, thousands of grieving families were bracing for a Thanksgiving marked by loss.

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29 open ski resorts in Europe - Skiing is possible here now. Only show open ski resorts . Status: ski status Europe . (All ski resorts with current snow reports). Ski lifts. 6 from 19 open.

Although ski resorts were not specifically listed, the ski industry in the UK believe they are all closing. One of the biggest operators, Inghams, said “as a responsible tour operator” it would not be “With the Covid - 19 crisis likely to last several months, we are asking the government to consider emergency

Americans usually criss-cross the country to be with family and friends for the carbs-laden feast on Thursday marking one of their most important national holidays.

But Covid-19 has been surging nationwide for weeks, with daily numbers of new cases regularly topping 150,000.

On Wednesday it spiked to nearly 200,000 cases, with a death toll of more than 2,400 – a six-month high. More than 262,000 people have been killed by the virus in the US so far.

In recent days images on social media of crowded airports fueled concerns Americans were not taking advice from health authorities to curb travel seriously.

But officials and passengers in Los Angeles noted an eerie quiet compared to previous years.

“The plane was basically empty. There was only a handful of people there,” Nathan Peterson, a student arriving in LA from Utah on Wednesday, told AFP.

US food banks on the other hand have seen long queues in recent days as the economy continues to stagger under the pandemic.

“We are ready to feed 4,000. Me and my crew, we worked constantly at this, just to make sure that whoever didn’t have was able to have a nice Thanksgiving meal this year,” said David Thomas, head chef at the Los Angeles mission.

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‘Zombie minks’

With the end of 2020 in sight, the virus continued to batter the global economy.

Britain is expected to see its greatest annual slump in more than three centuries, with the government forecasting the economy will shrink 11.3 percent on coronavirus fallout.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak unveiled plans to slash the foreign aid budget to help mend the battered finances, prompting one minister to quit and defying impassioned calls to protect the world’s poorest people.

And the pandemic began heaping new pressure on the animal kingdom.

The travelling Zavatelli Circus in Belgium was appealing to local donors to help feed its 50 animals, after being blocked in the country for almost a year by the epidemic.

While in Denmark a rushed cull of minks over concerns about a coronavirus mutation has left the country facing a new horror, as cadavers of the animals re-emerge from the earth, lifted by pressure from gases released by the decomposition.

Photos and videos of the macabre phenomenon have set social media abuzz, with one Twitter user dubbing 2020 “the year of the zombie mutant killer minks.”


Watch the Co-op Christmas ad: brothers sing Oasis classic .
The rendition of 'Round Are Way' delights locals.It starts off with a boy watching the news in the living room, where the newsreader says, 'ministers have just announced Christmas will be different for thousands of us,' in reference to the coronavirus pandemic.

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