Here in Chamonix we are enjoying a fresh delivery of powder. Last week it felt like there wouldn’t be any more as it’s been spring-like for so long, but once again nature has shown us that you should expect the unexpected and to never give up as she always delivers!
Here is a round-up of what is happening in France and our neighbouring countries, including the easing of travel restrictions to France. For travel advice from your country, we recommend you follow the links at the end of this article.
In France we have been subject to a much less restrictive lockdown than last year as our children have been able to not only go to school but also enjoy their sports clubs too. In Chamonix the ski lifts are open just for the children’s clubs! However, a strict evening curfew and the closure of restaurants, bars and many shops has been how the French Government have managed Coronavirus so far this year. Last weekend there were tighter restrictions placed on 16 areas of France, which thankfully don’t include Chamonix (or Haute Savoie as a whole) and it looks as though France will continue to manage Covid-19 on a regional basis.
Travel to France
Great news for travellers as France eased travel restrictions on March 12th for certain non-EU countries, including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan and Singapore. This means that France no longer requires travellers from these countries to provide an essential reason for their journey. Other measures still apply, such as PCR tests, etc.
Switzerland has opted for a slightly less cautious approach than many EU countries. Shops, museums, and libraries reopened this month and sporting and cultural activities for youngsters resumed. Schools and many ski lifts are open, but restaurants and cultural venues remain closed. The government has relaxed restrictions on indoor meetings for families and friends, up to 10 people from five previously. However, plans to allow large sporting events and concerts have been postponed, as a measure to contain the virus whilst the Swiss vaccination program takes effect.
Travel to Switzerland
Swiss borders are open, however, In response to the COVID-19 pandemic there are special rules for people entering Switzerland. Depending on the type of travel and where you are travelling from, you might have to fill out an entry form, show proof of a negative test and/or go into quarantine.
The list of countries and areas with an increased risk of infection is updated on a regular basis. (The latest list was published on 10 March.) Anyone arriving in Switzerland from one of these countries or areas must, among other things, go into quarantine.
Italy is continuing with its management of Coronavirus on a regional basis and gives us weekly updates on what is happening within each zone. Despite immunisation programmes gathering pace, the Government has recently re-imposed restrictions on three quarters of the country until April 6th to suppress a Covid-19 variant first detected in Britain. As with France, ski lifts remain closed and our neighbouring town of Courmayeur has been unusually quiet this winter due to Italy’s internal travel restrictions.
Travel to Italy
Italy opened its international borders back in January, so it is possible to enter and leave the country. However, tourism is not actually allowed because Italy has been hit hard by the virus and is not looking at allowing holidays any time yet. Therefore, any arrivals from countries outside the EU must self-isolate for 14 days and some countries are banned from entering Italy until April 6th.
Great news coming from the United Kingdom, in that the vaccination progamme is being rolled out very quickly and seems to be making a difference. Our families in the UK are looking forward to April 12th when strict lockdown restrictions begin to ease.
Travel from the UK
Travel to France should be possible by 1st July, so we are looking forward to seeing our UK clients again this summer! All current laws in place restricting international travel will expire on the 30th June.
When returning to England, only people coming from “red zone” countries – (this does not include France) must quarantine in specially designated hotels. All others must self-isolate at home for up to 10 days and we assume this will continue until June 30th when the government has stated things should be back to as near normal as possible.
**Please get in touch if you have any questions regarding trekking in the mountains. We will ensure that we keep you posted on what it's like over here and here are some updated resources to help you make informed decisions about future travel plans.
We recommend your own government’s travel advisory service information for your destination country:
UK, the FCO Travel Advice
Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs
USA, the State Department Travel Advisory
Canada, use Travel Advice & Advisories
Australia, the Smart Traveller Information Service
New Zealand, it’s SafeTravel
Further details of our how we are protecting you and your booking see here: Coronavirus Client Protection
As ever, if you have any questions about your trip or our treks in general, we are here to help. Please give us a call or email us.
Jane at Mont Blanc Treks
UK: +44 (0)161 408 1222
FRANCE: +33 (0)7 81 58 69 03
USA: +1 303 800 5866
AUSTRALIA: +61 75660 6258