The Victorian government today announced mandatory negative Covid tests for those in Melbourne wishing to visit the state’s ski resorts this winter.
The state’s Chief Health Officer Professor Sutton says that the risk of spread is serious in alpine resorts, hence the need for negative Covid tests.
“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.”
A Mt Buller spokesperson has responded positively to the news that travel within regional Victoria can again return. However with regards the mandatory testing the resort spokesperson has revealed the confusion around additional testing measures and the concern that it is only specific to alpine resorts and no other setting.
“It is surprising the circumstances in Victoria today are being compared to what was happening in Europe during the peak of pandemic – and not to the more recent Australian experiences of NSW resorts that operated successfully for over 100 days last snow season, and here at Mt Buller last year when we continued to operate safely under COVID guidelines for 44 days” revealed the resort spokesperson.
“We hope this testing requirement will last no more than 7 days while contact tracing of cases in Melbourne continues, and that the requirement for tests before coming to an alpine resort will be removed before the school holidays.”
The resort went on to say – “We will be putting in place processes at the resort gate to minimise inconvenience for guests arriving at the resort. This approach will hopefully result in the alpine resorts being the places where people are least exposed to the risk of COVID-19 in all of Victoria.
“We encourage all Melbournians to take a COVID test and follow the guidelines, it’s a small step to enjoy the freedom of getting back up here to the alpine areas and we can’t wait to welcome you back. The good news out of today is simple. Melbourne can come back to the snow.”