Are you going skiing in the Alps in the February half term? Covid testing specialist Cignpost ExpressTest is urging families to check travel and in-resort restrictions to ensure their half term ski holidays don’t go off-piste. The company says that different rules for each of Europe’s main ski destinations might trip-up unprepared families, and extra requirements for children could mean additional testing before they are allowed on a ski lift.
Italy is highlighted as having the strictest rules, with 12 to 16 year olds able to enter the country with a negative lateral flow test, but barred from ski facilities unless they are fully vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid. France, Austria and Switzerland also have confusing requirements, with children who are not fully vaccinated asked to prove their Covid status with additional tests during their holiday.
The latest rules for four of Europe’s most popular ski destinations are summarised below:
France is only an option for fully vaccinated skiers, as non-vaccinated travellers require an essential reason to visit the country.
Children aged 12+ mirror the vaccination status of the adults they are with, and younger children are exempt from restrictions.
Everyone aged 12 and over must present a negative PCR or lateral flow test taken within 24 hours before their departure from the UK.
Once in France, fully vaccinated travelers qualify for the Pass Vaccinal to get full access to leisure facilities across ski resorts including Courchevel, Chamonix and Val d’Isere.
Children aged 12 to 15 must have a Pass Sanitaire to use ski lifts and eat in cafes and restaurants, which they can get if they are fully vaccinated, have recently recovered from Covid, or they have taken a negative Covid test within the previous 24 hours .
The French Government has recently lifted the requirement to wear masks on ski lifts.
The home of famous resorts including Zermatt, St. Moritz and Verbier, Switzerland has lifted all testing requirements for fully vaccinated holidaymakers to enter the country, and under 18s have the same vaccination status as the adults they are with.
Once in resort, everyone aged 6 and over must wear face masks in queues and on ski lifts, and everyone over 16 must provide proof they are fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from Covid to access indoor venues and ski lifts.
For Italy, fully vaccinated skiers aged 6+ must take a lateral flow test within 24 hours before their departure from the UK, or a PCR test within 48 hours. Children up to 17 mirror the vaccination status of their parents.
In resort, everyone aged 6 and over must wear face masks in busy places, and everyone aged 12 and over must have a ‘Super Green Pass’ that proves they have been fully vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid.
If you’ve had your booster there is no testing requirement to enter Austria, but anyone who has had only two jabs, or children aged 12 to 16 who are not fully vaccinated, must produce a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before leaving the UK. Under 12s mirror the vaccine status of their parents.
Once at your ski resort, everyone aged 12 and over must have ‘2G’ status, which means they are fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID.
12 to 16 year olds who are not fully vaccinated can obtain a Holiday Ninja Pass by producing two negative PCR tests, including the one taken on entry to Austria, plus a negative lateral flow test, over a seven-day period during their holiday.
Everyone who is 6 and over must wear a face mask in queues and on ski lifts.
Nick Markham, co-founder at Cignpost ExpressTest, says the rules across Europe could easily catch families out. He said: “If you’re going on a ski holiday with your children, check the Covid testing requirements carefully. Rules are changing regularly and every destination is a little bit different. For children, the regulations for entering a country will not be the same as the requirements for full access to the facilities in-resort.”