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Photo: George Rose/Getty Images

A collection of resorts across the U.S. are beginning to reopen their mountains to skiers by implementing fresh rules to prevent the coronavirus from spreading this winter season.

Why it matters: The ski industry, as many other service and recreation-based businesses, suffered from shutdowns at the start of the pandemic. Winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, involve "an element of risky behavior when it comes to viral infection, such as the closeness of riding lifts and trams," the Wall Street Journal writes.

  • Vail Resorts, the largest resort operator in North America, lost around $200 million in for the fiscal year that ended in July, per The Colorado Sun. The company reported $503.3 million in earnings for its fiscal year 2020, but last year told investors it expected earnings between $778 million and $818 million.

The big picture: Resorts throughout the U.S. will require guests to wear masks in lift lines, inside lodges and other buildings. Social distancing will be enforced as much as possible, WSJ notes.

  • In Colorado, visitors are required to wear masks in all indoor and outdoor spaces, per USA Today.
    • Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort, for example, requires masks "while inside and in congested spaces," and is urging visitors not to visit if they feel sick.
  • There will be fewer on-mountain indoor restaurants and instead an emphasis on outdoor dining.
  • Some mountains are eliminating group lessons and requiring advanced ticket purchases and reservations.
  • Season pass-holders are advised to check with resorts for specific requirements.
    • Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort, located in California, is prioritizing lift access to pass-holders and will control crowd levels by regulating the number of daily passes allotted, which are for advance purchase only.
    • Some resorts, like Michigan's Boyne Mountain Resort, are encouraging people to look at state or county-specific guidelines for handling the virus.

In Europe, each country is handling the sport differently.

  • France, Italy, Austria and Germany have all ordered that high-altitude lifts remain closed so resorts can operate at peak-season once the infection rate slows, according to Reuters.
  • Switzerland, which has approximately 290,000 confirmed cases, is counting on social distancing, masks and social-gathering limits so that tourism, one of the country's biggest sectors, can continue without fueling the pandemic.

Go deeper

14 hours ago - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.

12 hours ago - Health

Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate

Golden Gate Park. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty

Counties around the San Francisco Bay Area will adopt California’s new regional stay-at-home order amid surges in cases and ICU hospitalizations, health officials said Friday.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.