Skiers and snowboarders will be permitted to hit the slopes in NSW from 22 June as the State Government eases COVID-19 restrictions further.
The NSW Government today announced that its alpine region will be open for business next month, with work underway to ensure COVIDsafe measures are in place at Thredbo, Charlotte Pass and Perisher.
"One of the highlights of the winter tourism season is a trip to our alpine regions, however, while many people are eager to return to the slopes, it is important that visitors can enjoy themselves safely and responsibly," says NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro.
"The NSW Government, through NSW Health and NSW Police, is working closely with ski field operators, associated businesses, suppliers and industry associations to ensure COVIDsafe measures are in place when the season commences.
"These measures will mean that fewer people will be able to visit and stay at resorts this season, so it is essential that people book and confirm their travel arrangements and accommodation before they travel."
While the slopes and resorts will be open Barilaro says social distancing must be observed, and there will be limits to the number of people on ski areas and in accommodation.
"We are welcoming every visitor to regional NSW with open arms and I will be celebrating by shouting a few beers, but it is more important than ever that we continue to be responsible and maintain good physical distancing while we are enjoying ourselves," says Barilaro.
"No matter where you are visiting, make sure you book, check that places you'd like to visit will be open, confirm your arrangements before you travel and, most importantly, if you do feel unwell, postpone your trip."
The NSW Tourism Industry Council has welcomed the development after fears from businesses in the alpine region that they would lose an entire snow season to COVID-19 restrictions.
"Any small step is welcome news for all of the industry participants, and we thank the NSW Government for this proactive step," says Simon Spellicy, Chair of the NSW Tourism Industry Council.
"We understand it will be a ski season like no other, missing the traditional Queens Birthday Weekend start, as well as a number of safety measures put in place.
"Operators now have the best part of three weeks to work with Government authorities to ensure their practices are compliant and meet the necessary requirements."
Thredbo says it will be operational from 22 June, while Charlotte Pass Snow Resort says it will have commenced company operated accommodation from Thursday 25 June with an expected commencement of Mountain operations from 26 June.
"Charlotte Pass Snow Resort is committed to ensuring that the health and safety of our guests, staff and the community is a top priority," says Charlotte Pass Snow Resort.
"With this in mind and as part of our CovidSafe plans, Charlotte Pass Snow Resort will be rolling out a series of wellbeing measures to help give our guests peace-of-mind for their 2020 snow holiday. These measures will be announced in the coming days and provided to all guests before visiting."
Updated at 2:11pm AEST on 28 May 2020.
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