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As the peak of the ski season approaches ski resorts in France are still waiting to hear if they’ll be allowed to open their lifts, reports Lucy Aspden.

The French government has said an announcement will be made tomorrow, but in a television interview yesterday Prime Minister Jean Castex cast doubt over the upcoming decision.

“When the President announced the closure of winter sports stations, he had conditioned their reopening on a decrease in the spread of the virus, with less than 5,000 infections per day. However, we are not there at all,” said Castex.

France reported 16,642 new cases on January 17, however yesterday on January 18 just 3,736 were confirmed. There was a similar trend last week, when a sub-5,000 case figure on Monday January 11 followed a much higher statistic on the previous day, but by Tuesday January 12 cases were back into five figures.

The decision to further postpone the opening of ski lifts in France will be yet another devastating blow to resorts, who have already suffered significant losses over the Christmas period, with February being the most lucrative month of the ski season.

“We know how important February is, but we also have to deal with these variants that were not expected in December and appeared in late December, early January. It is naturally the health situation that will have to guide decisions,” said the Secretary of State for Tourism, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.

Italy announced last week that resorts there won’t be opening until February 15, at the earliest.

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