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Locals in Wengen react as Covid blast forces use cancellation of annual ski race




Wthe withdrawal of safety nets drawn from a ski race course, which was so impeccably prepared by the Swiss army and local volunteers just 24 hours ago, is a depressing sight. Ahead of the busiest and most popular weekend of the ski season in the Swiss mountain resort of Wengen, the resort has remained seen more as a ghost town as a result of a group of Covid-19 cases arriving in the village without cars.

The cases were uncovered thanks to the anticipation of the Lauberhorn Race Committee along with the local doctor, who made the decision on December 12 to set up a rapid Covid testing facility in the village center on January 4, specifically in preparation for the World Championship race in downhill, is expected to take place this coming weekend.

From the white tent test structure in the center of the village, the results were produced in 15 minutes for all hoteliers and contestants before the race weekend and, to the shock of the organizers and locals, a number of them returned positively, some of whom also showed the new Covid variant, B117.

According to the Canton Bern website on January 11 there were 60 confirmed cases in Wengen for a period of four weeks. As a result, the authorities had no choice but to cancel the races. It is devastating for those of us who look forward to this winter all winter and businesses that rely on its popularity.

Unlike several other racing resorts that have put pressure on planned races, Wengen felt it was their responsibility to take such a decisive action, despite what it meant to cancel their biggest event of the year.

The Lauberhorn race track has been dismantled

jean-christophe bott / roleta

Moreover, in a further preventive act, the decision was made to test the entire population of the village, offering free rapid testing for all and instructing those who tested positive to stay home and isolate themselves.

There have been reports coming from Switzerland that this Covid-19 explosion in Wengen is out of control, with some comparing it to the Ischgl group, known as the Ibiza of the Alps, in February 2020. This could not be further away. truth.

While the ski lifts have been open, restaurants and bars in Wengen have been closed for dinner inside since 22 December and, as of 12 December, the law has stated that all institutions had to be closed by 19:00. The hotels have been open but have been made to observe a strict policy only for visitors and the British, like me, who arrived after December 14 were forced into quarantine. The scenes here in Switzerland could not be more different from those in Ischgl last season.

Needless to say, the mood in Wengen is at a low ebb. The locals feel bloated and disappointed and, as can often happen in a small town, are looking to throw the blame somewhere, with many fingers pointing.

In reality, no one knows where, how or who originally brought the virus. Apparently, from reading numerous reports, the British are again bearing the burden of guilt.

Wengen has pulled all the stops to make the resort Covid safe

jean-christophe bott / roleta

This may be due to the reported misbehavior at Swiss resorts over Christmas, but there were also many Swiss, Dutch, Belgian and German visitors to the resort, none of whom were expected to take tests before entering the village, for Christmas and New Year Holidays. The ski schools were full and the hotels were quickly filled.

Wengen was one of the only resorts open in Europe during the festive period and so, inevitably, visitors flocked to this Swiss alpine village. The virus could have come from anywhere.

Wherever it came from the pandemic it continues to have a sustained impact on businesses here in Wengen. Many hoteliers have seen the Lauberhorn cancellation as a sign to close their doors for the entire winter season.

Bettina Zinnert along with the Cova family, who are Wengen hoteliers and prominent community families, were happy to share their feelings about the latest news: We do not blame the British for canceling the Copa Cup downturn The world. The new B117 variant was recently found in Gstaad, Zermatt and many other ski resorts. Hopefully this will not affect the decision for the British to return to Wengen in the future as we will welcome them with open arms.

It would now appear that the Lauberhorn Racing Committee has set the standards for Alpine racing as well. The Kitzbell slalom has been canceled due to the growing number of Covid cases in a small village near the resort, including the new B117 variant. The race has shifted to the Flachauof resort, for this weekend, and officials will test the entire Kitzbühel region before the big downhill race, arguably one of the most famous events on the race calendar, set for next weekend.

Staying outside the rehearsal center yesterday, together with the Swiss army, waiting for my results with my family felt a bit like a day of exam results, but we all came out negative, with great relief.

Swiss army troops hear the announcement from doctors about the test results in the center of the village

Some locals have tested positive for the new Covid-19 variant, reporting flu-like symptoms such as loss of taste and lethargy, but in general these patients are in good spirits and keep in their homes. which I first learned on the other hand, there is little better place to be in isolation than in the Swiss Alps.

Although Wengen currently remains shrouded in a Covid-19 cloud, the resort should be proud to have taken the necessary precautions and exercised responsibility, however disastrous the result.

It seems the weather also got the bad news, as the region has been hit with strong storm warnings as appropriate. However, when the winds die and the heavy snow stops falling, there will be a row of silver in the form of deep powder snow for the locals to enjoy, safely.

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