13th March 2022 | Jane Peel, French Alps
The vaccine pass and the requirement to wear masks indoors are being dropped in France from this Monday. It’s good news for the ski resorts as they go into the last six weeks or so of their season. NEW
The lifting of restrictions on 14th March means ski resorts will start to look pretty much as they did pre-pandemic.
Masks will still be needed on public transport and that includes in gondolas and cable cars.
In our recent experience, however, the reality is that the mandatory-mask rule in ski lifts, is rarely strictly enforced.
Perhaps the biggest change is that a vaccine pass will no longer be required to enter venues such as restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other leisure facilities.
The vaccine pass is one of the rules that has been more widely enforced by restaurants and bars on the mountain and in resort – even for those sitting outside – as business owners knew they could face spot checks.
The vaccine pass was also meant to be checked at ski lifts though we saw no sign of that in the days leading up to the relaxation of the rules.
The vaccine pass had been an issue for some families with unvaccinated children aged 12 to 15.
So the return to pre-Covid normality for the rest of the season – and especially the Easter holidays – is welcome news.
Many ski resorts had already reported a big increase in bookings once some of the tightest restrictions – including the need for the fully vaccinated to show proof of a negative test to travel to France – went.
“We have come back at the same level as we used to be before Covid,” Séverine Gonthier of the La Plagne tourist office, told us.
“The February holidays were maybe even our best ever or at least for a few years.
“We were not very happy at the beginning of the season with the news that you Britons couldn’t come here. It was very bad news for us.
“January was a bit down but February was very good and our bookings for March and April are good too.”
La Plagne stays open until 30th April, with the link to neighbouring Les Arcs closing one week earlier on 23rd.
“We have more and more late bookings from the UK and other markets such as Belgium and the Netherlands,” Martine Achard of the mountain tourism association, France Montagnes, told us.
“Some resorts say they are busier than they were two or even three years ago.”
The picture is much the same in Les Menuires in the huge Les3Vallées ski area, according to Estelle Roy from the resort’s tourist office.
She says Les Menuires is busier than ever for March.
“Our hotels are full. It is very hard to get a room,” she said.
PlanetSKI has just spent 5 days in La Plagne and Les Menuires.
It was quite a trip:
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