To help give us a clearer idea of how Coronavirus would affect Méribel, earlier this year The Chalet Company joined a Webinar organised by Atout France, that focused on the preparations being made to make sure people can safely visit French ski resorts next season. The speakers were representatives from Vinci Airport (which runs the airports of Chambery, Grenoble & Lyon), Compagnie des Alpes (which manages ski lifts in various resorts around the Alps) and from Three Valleys (the world’s largest ski area).
The caveat preceding every point made by every speaker was, of course, that these are tentative plans and the situation (and the response to it) are evolving constantly. We’re also part of a number of industry groups and are having fortnightly conversations with a group of seven other chalet companies operating catered chalets in Méribel. Between us, we run more than 50 catered chalets in Méribel and we are discussing and sharing knowledge on how we can safely run catered chalets this season.
We’ll endeavour to keep you updated, with the latest information from all of the above sources. Please check this page often. (Latest update: October)
Below is what we know so far, about the measures combatting Coronavirus in Méribel and The Three Valleys:
At the airports, it will be mandatory to wear a face mask from arrival at the departing airport until departure from the arriving airport. There will be information screens throughout, floor markings to aid distancing and hand sanitiser stations. There will also be a COVID-19 specific Medical Centre at many airports (confirmed so far at Lyon) where passengers can have various procedures performed such as a temperature check. If you’d like to avoid the airports altogether, this article explains driving to Méribel.
Transfer companies aren’t being particularly concrete or forthcoming with their latest regulations – so make sure you confirm with your specific provider. Most likely it will be essential to wear masks, but other rules may vary.
Buses and public transport in the resort will be running as normal. Facemasks must be worn by anyone over the age of 11, and passengers must try to keep 1m apart. Drivers will be responsible for disinfecting surfaces.
In hire shops (and all other supermarkets and shops), the same rules apply as (currently) in the UK. Facemasks must be worn at all times, try to keep at least 1m away from others, and use hand sanitiser. Vendors are responsible for disinfecting their shops/products.
You should buy your lift pass, in advance, from your tour operator, accommodation or travel agent. Ski pass sales outlets are likely to not be open, to avoid queuing and reduce contact on busy changeover days.
On the slopes, lifts are also considered ‘public transport’, so the same applies as on the buses: you must wear a mask throughout the ride (including the queue); and staying 1m away from other people is your responsibility. There won’t be any changes to the capacity of each lift. These rules apply to all lifts from gondolas, to chair lifts, buttons and T-bars.
Masks, on the lifts, must be specific masks – buffs, scarfs, coat collars will not be accepted. This is each individual’s responsibility.
You are encouraged to book online if you require lessons. Lessons will be running as normal, but you must wear a mask at meeting points. Equipment will be disinfected between uses.
All chalets/accommodation providers will be focusing on “reinforced cleaning” with regular disinfecting of high touch points in hotels and communal résidences. Later check-ins/earlier check-outs are being mandated as a way to ensure that deep cleaning can be conducted before the next set of guests arrive. Single-group occupancy and hand sanitisers will be partout in all of our chalets in Méribel. We will only be running chalets where we are satisfied they can be managed safely. If you’re more comfortable with a self-catered holiday, The Ski Company have self-catered apartments throughout Europe.
On the food and catering side, it seems unlikely at the moment that large-scale breakfast buffets will make a re-appearance anytime soon, table service will be the norm in chalets and hotels.
Restaurants and bars in The Three Valleys have been open this summer and coping well. Staff wear masks and regularly sanitise, some screens have been erected. Customers do not need to wear masks when seated, eating or drinking, but will need to wear masks when entering/exiting the building, getting up, or visiting the toilet. As it stands, the maximum group size is six – but this may be subject to change.
Après is unlikely to look the same as before, but bars are keen to maintain the experience and have it go ahead! Table service and social distancing will replace packed bar queues. Similarly to restaurants, when après moves inside – facemasks will have to be worn.
Other environments like sports centres, mountain refuges, cinemas and libraries follow similar regulations: you must wear a mask to arrive, or when getting up. But, you may remove your mask if you’re seated, eating, drinking or doing sport.
We’ll update any changes regarding Coronavirus in Méribel as we find them out. For more information in the meantime, here are some useful webpages:
If you do have specific questions – drop us an email and we’ll endeavour to find the answer.