Melbournians require negative Covid test before skiing and boarding

Today’s easing of Covid restrictions for Melbourne and Victoria has caused mass confusion for those in the alpine regions.

The Victorian government have announced that “movement between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria is unrestricted.”

However it comes with a caveat for those wishing to ski or snowboard as the government also announced:

“Travel to regional Victorian Alpine Resorts is permitted providing visitors have had a COVID test within 72 hours of departing Melbourne. Children under 2 years not included. Must be able to show evidence of a negative test as condition of entry into ski field.”

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Sutton revealed today that the risk of spread is serious in alpine resorts.

“We need to make sure there are no cases that go up on the mountain, even though the number in metro Melbourne may be tiny,” said Professor Sutton at today’s press conference. He also explained that a single infectious case on a mountain would be a potential super-spreader event as experienced in overseas resorts.

“Significant clusters have occurred because of those combinations that I have talked about – indoors, post exertion, not wearing masks, being with strangers, and the combination of cold and humidity coming together. It makes a high risk environment. It is a small thing to help manage that significant risk.”

Though this sets a hefty precedent for many tourism regions within the state, and while the Victorian resorts are yet to comment collectively or individually, the government has blind sided an already struggling alpine industry who were, according to sources, not aware of the impending announcement.

Those taking a Covid test are traditionally required to isolate until the test results are returned negative, this would add two days to holiday leave, however travellers to the resorts will not be required to isolate after testing. The question of whether the state picks up the tab for the test itself for alpine tourists is also yet to be answered.

We’ve reached out to the Victorian resort for their Covid protocols with the eased restrictions and will report accordingly. It is currently understood negative tests are only required for those coming from Melbourne and that a text message revealing that result will be the minimum required.

It’s still a better result than no regional travel at all, a decision which closed the Victorian resorts for the majority of the ski season in 2020.

More to come.

*This post has been updated with correct information regarding isolation after testing for alpine travel requirements.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.