So, right on time with Christmas, most of Austrian skiing areas started into the winter season. The skilifts opened and our dear hoteliers in the mountains can enjoy their sloped to start then loaded with energy on January 18 or 23 - hopefully - into a great remaiming winter season 2021. Meanwhile in Vienna, the famous icerink in front of the cityhall - the Vienna Ice Dream (Wiener Eistraum) started earlier than originally planned into the ice skating season.
The ice rink with a surface of 8.300 sqm in front of the Vienna cityhall opened as well on December 24 and will stay open for 66 days - until February 28. So, even Vienna-visitors may enjoy the romantic - and at the same time secure - ice rink after the lockdown, as an alternative programme to museums or shopping.
For the skiing areas I have already explained in other blog posts or webinars the different Covid-19 security measurements. Today let us have a look into the special security concept of the Viennese icerink:
- When queuing for the tickets, visitors have to follow the distance signs on the floor ensuring enough space between single persons or households.
- Every person in the area - on the ice rink or just next to it - has to have a valid ticket and needs to be registered with name and telephone number (for an eventual contact tracing)
- Every person gets a so called Community Distance Marker, a small device (that is connected to one's name) has to be worn during the whole visit around the neck. The device vibrates and slightly rings when a person is closer than 2m from another, strange person. Families visiting the Ice Dream can be marked as such at the registration so that their devices do not vibrate or ring when they are closer than 2m to each other. If a person is more than 7.5 minutes closer than 2m from a person from another household, the encounter is registered for an eventual contract tracing. The data, of course, are used only for contract tracing reasons and will be deleted after 28 days.
- The nose-mouth-mask is obligatory except when actively skating.
Of course, please be aware, that the usual Covid-19 measurements are also valid for the Vienna Ice Dream - as a reminder, these are:
- keep the distance (of 2m) from others that are not in the same household
- wear the nose-mouth mask
- sneeze or cough into the armfolds
- stay at home if you feel sick or have any symptoms
- pay contactlessly whereever possible
This, of course, is all theory and best practice. As the first days of lift and icerink openings showed, in practice it looks quite different: when queuing for the icerink registration or at the skilift: people hardly keep the distance of 2m or the famous baby elephant to others - as it also happens at the cash desks of supermarkets....
Of course, people waited so long for those winter sport activities, And, yes, of course, it was not only the graving for skiing and ice skating, but also the holidays that brought real crowds onto the slopes and the icerink. And yes, of course, now there are many discussings whether it was right or not to open ski lifts and ice rinks...
And yes, the operators have learnt and are working on an improvement to overcome this phenomenon as well... In some skiing areas ski passes have to be prebooked online ensuring also a parking space. Also, people are not fined, but the skipasses are simply taken them off. As a last consequence, the skilifts and icerinks would have to be closed down again. But do we want that?!
At the end of the day.... it is each and everyone of us that is responsible to keep the skiing areas or ice rinks open. All that is needed is a little bit of self discipline and patience when queuing. Please.
Copyright photos: stadtwienmarketing / David Bohmann