Police have taken to the slopes in Europe in order to ensure COVID regulation adherence. We’ve all seen bike cops and mall cops, but the COVID-19 pandemic has bred a new type of cop: ski cops! And no, they’re not there to give out speeding tickets, regardless of how fast you think you are. We’ll leave that job to the yellow jackets and slow signs. The police have taken to the slopes exclusively to enforce COVID-19 regulations.
What exactly are the police doing on the ski slopes? In the Alps, the police have been brought in to provide a visible presence and ensure that everyone is abiding by the COVID-19 regulations. Resorts have had trouble enforcing physical distancing and mask requirements, particularly in large gathering areas, such as lift lines. There’s only so much a single lift operator can do when trying to enforce the rules to hundreds of guests. Before the police presence, the only way to punish disobedience was to remove the guest from the ski resort. However, with the police, legitimate legal repercussions could result from refusing to abide by the new rules. Hopefully, the police presence alone will be enough to encourage guests to follow the rules, and legal action will not be required.
Skis are the latest illicit contraband. France hasn’t been permitted to open any of its ski resorts this year. French police have been organized to stop skiers who are attempting to cross the border to ski the surrounding open ski areas in Switzerland, Spain, and Andorra. French police have also been working at the border to stop people from entering the country with ski gear.
If you are living in the United States and have had the privilege of skiing this year, remember that this could happen here too. In Colorado, police have already had a presence at many resorts including Vail, Breckenridge and Monarch. Amidst the pandemic, police presence at resorts could potentially become much more widespread. Resorts in the United States are having the same amount of difficulty enforcing COVID-19 regulations as European resorts. This is quite surprising considering our regulations are much less severe, despite our significantly larger number of cases. Fortunately, contact tracing has helped to prove that most COVID-19 transmissions at ski resorts are due to après activities, and not skiing.
That being said, the Biden administration has made it clear that they intend on cracking down on COVID-19. On his first day in office, President Joe Biden issued a federal mask mandate on all federal lands. With 60% of ski resorts being located on federal lands, this mask mandate could be federally enforced at ski resorts. It is unlikely that this will actually occur, but it should still be taken as a warning. Don’t be a Jerry! The only thing more embarrassing than a gaper gap is an improperly worn face mask. Don’t be the reason our ski resorts get shut down again!