Lapland ski resorts close early over fears of extra tourists

The resorts were going to close anyway next Friday due to coronavirus but have been forced to bring the closing date forward.

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Composite picture of coronavirus warning signs at Levi Ski Resort, March 2020 / Credit: ski.fi

Popular ski resorts in Lapland have closed a week earlier than they were planning, after concerns that tourists were heading north as a way to get out into nature and be able to practice social distancing.

In reality, that would bring more crowds to the bars, restaurants and ski lifts of resorts like Levi, Ounasvaara, Pallas, Luosto, Ylläs and Pallas.

The resorts had committed to ending their seasons early, and shutting down by next Friday but media reports of more customers arriving was the opposite effect that resort operators were hoping for.

“According to the news, the threat is that our decision has turned against itself and that next week the number of customers in our ski resorts would have increased rather than gradually decreased” says Pertti Yliniemi and Jouni Palosaari who co-signed a statement on behalf of several resorts in Western Lapland.

“The pandemic is constantly evolving and we are actively following the instructions and regulations of the authorities and changing our operations accordingly” says Levi Ski Resort in a statement.

“This measure is undertaken in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With this action, Levi Ski Resort wants to secure the health and wellbeing of both customers and employees, and to support the measures taken by the Finnish Government.”

Anyone who already bought a lift pass for next week will have their money refunded.