The pandemic has thrown yet another spanner in the works for Victorian skiers and riders. With the authorities struggling to keep a lid on infections in metropolitan Melbourne, the premier has now announced stage 4 restrictions for the metro area, and stage 3 (stay at home) restrictions for the rest of the state until at least September 13.
This means that basically all resorts and mountain areas are closed.
The resorts are closed
The Vail resorts quickly responded, announcing that they would not reopen ski lifts that had been closed at Hotham and Falls Creek since July 9.
Falls Creek have also announced that the resort itself is closed:
- Only permanent Winter Residents may enter the Falls Creek Resort and must ensure they have the correct Resort Entry Permit
- General resort entry or season passes can no longer be purchased
- No visitors will be allowed to enter the resort at the resort Howman’s Gap ticket box. This site will be staffed and will remain open to monitor those entering the resort
Hotham resort has announced that the mountain is also closed until Sept 13. ‘Mt Hotham will close to all visitors during the restricted activity period. The resort will remain open to seasonal and year-round residents, however, all visitor facing services will cease and any guests currently holidaying must return to their primary place of residence‘. Updates here.
Mt Buller has now closed: ‘The Victorian Government advised this morning (6 Aug) all Victorian alpine resorts are to close to visitors as part of its Stage 3 coronavirus restrictions across regional Victoria‘. Updates here.
This includes Mt Stirling.
Mt Baw Baw resort has also announced its closure until September 13, including the access road to the resort. Extra information here. Please also see the link below to the Parks VIC website, which says the national park (outside the resort area) is now closed.
Dinner Plain is still open for seasonal and permanent residents only.
According to the Parks Victoria website, Buffalo National Park (and hence the skiing and snow play areas) are now closed. The park had been open to ‘locals’ (defined as people from Bright, Porepunkah or Myrtleford) but as of August 18, it is now closed.
Can I still visit the mountains/ resorts?
The short answer – until Sept 13 – is No.
Obviously Melbourne people are under Stage 4 ‘hard lockdown’ and cannot leave the metro area (and must stay within 5 km of their homes until Sept 13) so cannot visit resorts.
Regional areas now face Stage 3 restrictions, which start from midnight on wed August 5. This is a ‘stay at home’ order, and means that regional people can no longer travel long distance to visit resorts or go backcountry skiing or riding. If you are already on a mountain or a local, then this implies you can still ski, walk, snow shoe, etc. The DHHS guidance says ‘You should use the parks and public spaces which are closest to your home‘ and ‘Can I travel to my favourite walking track if it’s far away? No. You should not travel further than you need to, and you should use the walking tracks closest to your home‘. However, ‘Cross country skiing is permitted for people who live close to an area where this is possible’.
However, the situation has become much more limited as of thursday 6th, with the announcement that national parks and resorts will be closed, which effectively means that we can no longer visit mountain areas for some exercise and relaxation. Please see below for extra details on national parks.
If you are already away from home on a ‘holiday’, you can stay on but ‘you must not attend attractions, entertainment venues, and dine-in restaurants, cafes or bars. You must not extend your holidays beyond your original booking’.
You cannot leave home to go on a holiday: ‘you will have to cancel travel bookings’. Under the new restrictions there are only four reasons that you can leave home: shopping for food and essential items, care, care giving or compassionate reasons, exercise, and work or study – if you can’t do it from home.
If you have accommodation (eg a holiday home) in regional VIC or one of the mountains, you are not meant to travel to visit them: ‘When the Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions take effect at 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August 2020, if you have more than once ordinary place of residence, you must choose what will be the principal place of residence for the duration of the Stage 3 restrictions. If you were in metropolitan Melbourne at your place of residence at 11.59pm on Sunday 2 August 2020, this remains your principal place of residence for the duration of the Stage 4 restrictions’. The one exception is this: ‘The only reason to travel to a holiday house is to carry out essential maintenance‘.
While there are clear guidelines that you cannot leave home to go somewhere and stay overnight, as yet there is no DHHS direction about how far you can drive if you live in regional VIC. This implies that day visits to the mountains are still possible if you live close enough. ‘Where possible, carrying passengers in your car should be avoided, unless they live in your household’.
All alpine national parks are closed.
Parks Victoria have announced closure of the Alpine National Park Buffalo and Baw Baw National Parks. .
These restrictions do not impact on resorts in NSW.
UPDATED: Sat August 8. Please feel free to send updates to firstname.lastname@example.org