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About Covid-19 in Verbier

An outline of the situation in Verbier in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis

Featured in: | Ana Hernández, Verbier Editor | Published
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As more and more airlines announce their intention to resume international flights this summer, we ponder if and when you should consider coming to the Alps and whether Verbier is safe to visit this winter. Spoiler alert – on balance, our answer is yes; local businesses and authorities are working hard to turn Verbier into a safe haven for visitors and are preparing to safely welcome travellers as soon as they possibly can.

The world has been turned upside down in the last few weeks and our new normal is full of uncommon words like lockdown and social distancing, while face masks and hand sanitiser are now part of our daily routine. However, things are rapidly changing and, as Europe takes the first steps to open its borders, we take a look at the situation in La Verbier.

When will the lockdown be lifted in Verbier?

The short answer is that lockdown will probably be lifted in Switzerland in mid-June. Here's why:

Verbier entered lockdown on March 13th 2020 together with the rest of Switzerland. As coronavirus cases have dwindled, the Swiss government has started to take the first steps on what they call a 'relaxation of the measures. Their plan to ease lockdown, which began on April 27th, is comprised of three different stages. The country is in phase 2 since May 11th which means that outdoor sports are allowed in Verbier in groups up to 5 people (team and contact sports remain prohibited). Shops and markets are also open, as are bars and restaurants although only up to 4 people may sit at the same table (the group can be larger if it's one family). Social distancing, safety and hygiene measures must remain firmly in place.

The country will enter phase 3 on June 6th. It's then when lifts will be able to whir into action again. Other public spaces will also open, including cinemas, theatres, gyms, pools and gardens while gatherings of up to 30 people and public events of up to 300 people will be allowed. Restaurants and bars will be able to welcome larger groups of people.

Swiss borders with Germany, Austria and France will reopen on June 15th while gatherings of more than 1,000 people won't be authorised before September 2020.

When will you be able to travel to Verbier?

Swiss borders opened to people coming from Schengen countries on June 15th, so you can visit Verbier if you're from a European country or Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein. International visitors will have to wait just a bit longer with a decision expected to be taken on July 6th.

Swiss airlines announced that they'd progressively start flying to other European countries in June. Flights to London, Berlin, Amsterdam and Lisbon, among other capitals, were still operated during the lockdown but they'll reopen their connections to destinations in Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, France and Russia. Strict safety measures such as temperature checks, disinfection of aircrafts, compulsory use of masks, online check-ins and reduction in the number of bags to be taken onboard will ensure that everyone is safe when coming to Verbier.

Will you be able to ski in Verbier this winter?

Ever since measures started to relax in Verbier on April 27th, people have been able to return to the mountains. Hiking, climbing, mountain biking and even skiing on the higher slopes where the snow still remains have meant a welcome respite for Alpine dwellers, eager to reach the summits once more.

Winter opening dates haven't been announced yet but, since the lifts are going to be operating this summer from June 6th to October 25th, it looks like a winter opening is definitely on the cards. Verbier's lifts usually whir into action sometime in mid to late November – we'll update our ski lift opening dates guide as soon as we know anything.

Being able to maintain social distancing on lifts and mountain areas is something that both authorities and local businesses have been contemplating for weeks. Tests are being carried out with methods ranging from installing screens to reducing the lifts' capacity – we'll see what the best strategy is very soon. Worry not, however, the snow will come in winter just like it does every year and the mountain air will probably be cleaner than ever. We even expect a drop in the number of mountain bikers and skiers which means that the Alps will probably be quieter than ever... a silver lining if ever there was one!

What are businesses in Verbier doing to keep customers safe?

We keep talking about safety and hygiene measures but, what are they exactly? Businesses in Verbier have taken steps to ensure that they provide a safe environment for both their customers and their workers, such as:

  • Social distancing: In general, experts recommend keeping a distance of 2m between people. There are different ways to ensure this, from reducing capacity to increasing the space between people on lifts or between tables at bars and restaurants, and even installing screens to separate customers – many hospitality businesses have already been testing them.
  • Disinfection: Lifts, shops, bars, restaurants, rental properties, hotels... they'll all be fully disinfected periodically, as well as after each customer when workers will also clean their hands thoroughly. Hand sanitiser is already available everywhere to customers at the entrances of lifts, supermarkets small shops and cafes.
  • Protection: Wearing gloves and face masks is encouraged in public spaces and in public transport, especially if you can't maintain a safe distance of 2m from other people. Temperature checks will also be commonplace and they're already being carried out in airports.
  • Information: Businesses in Verbier are designing specific Covid-19 protocols and they'll inform the public of the steps and instructions to follow before and during their visit.

7 tips to stay safe in Verbier this summer & winter

1. Follow safety and hygiene guidelines
We keep repeating it but following safety and hygiene rules is the best way to stay safe on your holidays in Verbier: keep a distance of 2 metres, wash your hands and wear a mask (or cover your nose and mouth). Try not to touch your face as well... we know, easier said than done!

2. Trust local businesses
Not only are businesses in Verbier putting strict safety and hygiene measures in place but they've also made cancellations much more flexible. This means that, if for any reason you're forced to cancel your holiday, you'll probably be given a full refund.

Look out for our Covid-Proof Booking symbol when booking your accommodation, your ski lessons, your ski hire or your activities on our site. For example, MyVerbier, who have a selection of chalets and apartments in Verbier, are offering a reduced deposit payment and flexible cancellation conditions.

Other companies have adopted similar terms, including Agence Domus, who offer an extensive portfolio of holiday rentals in Verbier, featuring chalets and apartments. When booking with them, you'll get a full refund if a government-imposed lockdown due to Covid-19 directly prevents your travel or the booked service being provided.

Many other accommodation and activity companies in the area are putting similar measures into place so you should feel completely safe when booking your winter holidays in Verbier.

3. Avoid the crowds
The easiest way to comply with social distancing is to avoid crowds altogether. We've got a few strategies to help you with that like, for example, booking a whole chalet or an entire apartment instead of a hotel room, that way you can prevent bumping into other guests during your stay.

After weeks of confinement, being outdoors, breathing fresh air and feeling the sun's warmth on our skin is just what we need. Scientists are actually testing whether heat and UV radiation in sunlight might affect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, two things which are plentiful in Verbier – just remember to lather up with sunscreen!

In Verbier, you can easily enjoy the outdoors while avoiding the crowds. Just opt for private lessons and activities instead of group ones, such as booking a private ski or snowboard instructor just for you and your group of friends or family, or a private transfer to take you from the airport to your accommodation. There are plenty of other things you can do in the area in small groups, from cycling and mountain biking in the summer to snowshoeing and heliskiing in the winter.

4. Book early
Limitations regarding the amount of people that businesses can welcome or the crowds that events can gather are being enforced. That's why, now more than ever, we recommend you book early. This will ensure you get the best table in Verbier's hottest apres-ski spot!

5. Get off the beaten path
Another great strategy to avoid the crowds and to discover Verbier's hidden gems along the way is to visit the area's lesser-known places. The 4 Vallées is full of charming secret spots and the best way to explore them is to book a local guide. You'll get to ski remote stashes of powder, hit challenging trails on a mountain bike (or an e-bike – perfect for the whole family!), hike the Alpine summits and try out new things like sightseeing from a helicopter or paragliding. There's a world of choices away from the tourist crowds in Verbier!

6. Entertain at yours
Celebrations aren't off the table this summer and winter in Verbier. However, instead of booking a restaurant or a bar, why not ask a catering company to bring the party to you? Private chalets and apartments make for great venues and Verbier has an excellent selection of catering companies ranging from private chefs to delivered ready-made meals providing the best street grub from your own garden.

7. Drive to Verbier
Maintaining social distancing on planes and trains can be quite tricky, so why not drive to Verbier? It takes around 9 hours to get from Calais to Verbier and tolls cost around €60-€100 each way. We know that cars aren't great for the environment but their carbon footprint is much lower than that of planes with studies suggesting that flights emit around 133g of carbon dioxide per person while a diesel car carrying four passengers emits only 43gr per person. Once in Verbier, leave your vehicle at one of the local car parks and move around on foot or using the great network of free shuttle buses that'll take you to the foot of the slopes in no time.

More information

Everyone's working hard to ensure that Verbierhas a safe winter season. For up to date information on travelling during the Coronavirus crisis, please visit the Covid-19-dedicated WHO's website and the UK Foreign Office's Switzerland travel advice website or ask your local authorities.

Stay safe and remember that we're here to help you with your bookings and with any questions you may have about Verbier.