France's ski lift closure challenged by local politicians
“In France we can take the metro...but not a ski lift. There is no consistency,” says an opposition politician.
Local council presidents and ski industry professionals are challenging the government’s decision to close ski lifts over the Christmas holidays as part of measures to restrict the spread of Covid-19.
Presidents of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the departments of Savoie, Isère and Haute-Savoie and ski industry professionals announced they would be delivering an appeal on the matter to the Conseil d'État (Council of State) on Thursday afternoon (December 3).
Laurent Wauquiez, a member of opposition party Les Républicains and president of the regional council of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, is part of the group pleading for ski lifts to be opened.
"Stations in Austria and Switzerland are open, and in France you can take the TGV, the metro, you can go to the cinema or a theatre at Christmas but not on a ski lift,” he said in an interview with BFMTV.
“We are ready to make sacrifices but there is no consistency here. Why only on the French mountains?" He added.
Mr Wauquiez has also signed a petition, which has attracted thousands of signatures, calling for the total reopening of all ski stations in France over Christmas.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced that random border checks will be imposed on French people heading to ski destinations in neighbouring countries over the Christmas period.
He added that departmental prefects will be authorised to impose a seven-day quarantine on anyone returning to France from a ski holiday.
In France, ski stations are still open but ski lifts and other facilities there are closed.
The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, which accounts for 75% of French skiing jobs, will be particularly affected by the government’s decision to close ski lifts over Christmas.