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Victoria’s ski resorts are trying to work through new restrictions on visitors from Melbourne that say they must produce a negative COVID test before they can hit the slopes.

The Victorian government has announced that travellers from Greater Melbourne will need to have a test within 72 hours of departing the city and show the negative result on entry to the ski fields.

The changes were news to resort operators who had been waiting for visitors from the city, their biggest market, to be allowed back to the snow after lockdown lifted.

Mount Hotham Chamber of Commerce President Steve Belli said they had no inkling a COVID test was going to be a requirement.

“There are a lot of questions that need to be answered and I don’t think there’s been a lot of thought given to the actual process of how it’s going to work,” he said.

He said checking whether metropolitan visitors had a negative test was going to be particularly troublesome for the resort in Mount Hotham as it ran through the Great Alpine Road, whereas other results such as Mount Buller and Falls Creek had one way in and one way out.

“We don’t know how it’s going to be enforced yet, but we believe the resort management boards are going to be tasked and we’re just not 100 per cent sure.”

A man standing in front of a window looking out over a ski field.
Mount Hotham Chamber of Commerce President Steve Belli. (

Supplied: Steve Belli

)

Resort ready to welcome Melbourne visitors

Mount Buller Resort said the need for a COVID test was news to a lot of their operators and they were seeking more detail from the government.

Communications Manager Rhylla Morgan said while they were excited to welcome back their Melbourne visitors, they were hoping the requirement would not be around for long.

“We’re hoping that requirement will probably be in place for about seven days,” she said.

“We understand while that contact tracing around Melbourne continues, we’re really hopeful that might even be out of the way by the time we get to school holidays.”

Ms Rhylla said after the ski season was hit by restrictions last year, they needed to have Melbourne visitors return.

“What we’re hearing from people is they’re desperate to get back to the alpine areas, so it doesn’t sound like a COVID test will put people off.”

A girl and man giving the thumbs up as they ski down a slope at the snow
Visitors to the ski fields will need to be COVID-negative.(

Supplied: Jordan Mountain/Mt Buller

)

Resorts pose heightened risk

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said they would provide further clarification on the requirements.

He said the rules had been put in place in order to protect the industry and ensure no cases go to the ski fields.

Professor Sutton said examples from ski resorts overseas had shown that the combination of socialising indoors after being on the slopes and the cold and humidity made it a high-risk environment.

“It is a small thing to help manage that significant risk,” he said.

source : news.google.com

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