Lukas Engelberger, head of the association of cantonal health directors, has recommended making Covid certificates compulsory for riding on Swiss ski lifts, reported Le Nouvelliste.
According to Engelberger, requiring Covid passes to access ski lifts would remove the need to wear masks and make people feel safer. In any case most skiers are likely to have a certificate, he said.
In addition, resorts would be able to increase lift capacity, carry more people and cut waiting times. Covid restrictions on lift capacity last winter season created long queues at some Swiss resorts.
Engelberger also pointed out that skiing is voluntary and recreational, a factor that would make restricting it easier to justify.
However, implementing such a plan is not straightforward. Ski lifts form part of Switzerland’s public transport infrastructure. There are currently no Covid certificate requirements for the rest of the transport network, so introducing one for only part of the network would be incongruous and at odds with the overall policy.
And not everyone is in agreement. Valais politician Christophe Darbellay is against the idea, reported 20 Minutes. He would prefer to see a repeat of the policy applied last season before the roll out of Covid certificates. Last season, mask were compulsory and the number of people allowed in enclosed lifts was reduced.
Pierre Besson, who is in charge of the Magic Pass, a multi-resort ski pass in French-speaking Switzerland, is no fan of the idea either. For him, such a plan would be very difficult for resorts to implement.
Last week, the ski resort Fideriser Heuberge in Graubunden decided to make Covid certificates compulsory for skiing and staying at the resort.
Other winter resorts could follow. One motivation for the move is to help with planning and to improve certainty. If rules to reduce the spread of the virus are put in place at the beginning of the season there is less chance of a resort suddenly being forced to close, something that happened at the beginning of 2020.