The winter season in Italy will be ended early this year due to the increased spread of the coronavirus. Lombardy and 14 other North Italian provinces have already been cordoned off as high risk areas since Sunday and ski operations have been suspended. In the meantime the whole of Italy has been declared a restricted zone. Starting Tuesday, March 10, also South Tyrol, which has not been cordoned off so far, will also close its ski resorts and hotels until April 4. The Italian ski tourism business is expected to lose billions of Euros.
Almost 400 dead in Italy
In accordance with local authorities and their own responsibility, South Tyrolean hospitality businesses and cableway operators have decided to close their hotels and ski areas. Arno Kompatscher, head of the local government, announced the decision at a press conference in Bolzano on Monday afternoon, stating that the health and reassurance of the people were more important at the moment. On Monday evening, the state issued an emergency decree that all ski areas nationwide must be closed anyway.
South Tyrol is Italy's largest and most popular winter sport destination. A total of 52 cases of covid-19 have been documented in the area so far. The number of cases in Italy has risen to about 10.000, with almost 400 people having died of the new virus (as of March 10, 2020). In Lombardy alone, where the Livigno ski area is located, reported more than 100 deaths in a single day. The number of new infections continues to rise in Italy. On Monday evening the whole of Italy was declared a restricted zone. Freedom of travel has been suspended for the time being.
To stop the coronavirus from spreading, Italian cable railway operators had already started disinfecting gondolas several times per day and filling them only to a third. Ski resorts and hotels have already registered cancellations in rows.
All Dolomiti Superski resorts closed
The Dolomiti Superski resorts will be among those closing on Tuesday, March 10. The largest ski organization in the world comprises 20 ski resorts in the areas of South Tyrol, Trentino and Veneto. Some of the largest and most popular resorts, Val Gardena, Kronplatz, Alta Badia and 3 Zinnen Dolomites, had even received an above-average amount of snow this winter and were hoping for a successful season until Easter. Cortina d'Ampezzo would have hosted the Ski World Cup finale next week, which was already canceled on Friday though.
In order to make the departure for the winter holidaymakers and employees in the ski areas of South Tyrol possible without any problems, it was originally planned to open the ski lifts and also many hotels on Tuesday, 10 March 2020. However, as the whole of Italy was declared a restricted zone on Monday evening, no ski resorts will be open on Tuesday.
No effects on other countries so far
Italy's drastic measures regarding the coronavirus only affect Italian ski operations so far. Ski resorts in Austria, Switzerland, France and Germany have not announced any restrictions and remain open. The surrounding countries have only reported a fraction of the number of cases documented in Italy.