Chile Between Quarantine and Opening: Ski Resorts Don’t Lose Faith

Sebastian Opazo | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Chile, Health Minister, COVID, MINSAL
Minister Paris calls for a stronger fight against the virus. Credit: MINSAL

Chile has been with lockdown measures for around 145 days and has been in a “state of emergency” since March 19th of this year. The first case of the coronavirus disease pandemic in Chile was confirmed on March 3. The virus was found in a man in Talca who arrived from a flight from Singapore. Since then, the outbreak has expanded in the territory with a sustained increase in cases.

The Health Minister of Chile announced on Friday 24th the end of the quarantine for some communes of the Capital, and the Araucanía Region is preparing for the “initial opening” phase. However, the curfew established by the state of emergency will be maintained.

Now what we ask ourselves is, will the ski resorts open? This winter in South America is one of the most abundant in snow and water precipitation in recent years, especially in the central valley of Chile. In some places like Corralco in the Araucanía, they already have around 20 feet of snow, and still counting!

Chile, Valle Nevado, Ski Resort, Farellones
4 Feet register on June 24th in Valle Nevado. Credit: Facebook

Chile is using a gradual strategy to face the pandemic according to the health situation of each particular area. For that, they created a manual called “step by step”, which has five different phases with specific restrictions and obligations. The communes and regions will have to meet certain health criteria to advance the phase, such as an improvement in epidemiological indicators, the situation of the healthcare network, and traceability.

Nine communes in Santiago of Chile will pass from quarantine to “transition phase” on Tuesday 28th. This phase reduces the degree of confinement and part of the activities can be resumed, but an abrupt opening is avoided to minimize the risks of contagion. This phase allows moves around the week in communes in transition and social and recreational gatherings of ten people.

Even two phases away from the “initial opening” Capital snow fans refuse to lose the faith and mother nature is with them. The “transition phase” doesn’t allow ski resorts to operate under the circumstances or work on their terrain because it isn’t classified as “something of primary necessity.”

“Hope is the last thing to be lost. There are some years that the snow has lengthened until October.” 

Said Francisco Sotomayor, Manager of the Association of Ski Resorts Of Chile (Aceski)

Chile, Araucanía, Corralco, Ski Resort, South
More than 20 feet in the Lonquimay Volcano. Credit: Facebook

On the way to the south, the news may get better. It looks promising, for locals, because the Araucanía Region begins the “initial opening” this Monday 27th. This allows certain activities with a lower risk of contagion and minimizing crowds. La Araucanía is the home of Corralco and Pucon and through it passes the international path of Pino Hachado that connects Chile with Argentina in one of the southernmost sectors of the continent.

The phase allows attendance equal to 25% of its capacity in places such as restaurants or cinemas and larger groups for sports activities. This could eventually allow the opening of Corralco if it wanted to, but still, with the restrictions and obligations established by the government’s strategy.

However, there must be a green light by the CONAF due to Corralco is in a National Park. CONAF is the National Forest Corporation and it must be ready to operate to allow access to the Ski Resorts. CONAF currently has a prevention protocol against COVID-19 and is studying its possible gradual opening based on local authorities and surrounding communities.

COVID, Sub-Secretary, Chile,
Ministry of Health reported 2,287 new infections, to reach a total of 18,403 active cases. Credit: DF

Chile is showing progress in responding to the pandemic, but there is still much work to do and self-care to incentivize. Some northern regions have joined the quarantine and a lot of places in the central valley are still in it. Everything can change depending on how contagions are controlled or increased.

Self-care will keep you waiting, but nature will reward you! It has been more than a decade since the mountains of Chile had such an amount of snow, making it difficult not to imagine a prolonged and deep winter. Let’s hope that health in Chile improves and COVID cases decrease and remain controlled. So that every athlete can use their art space!

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