We’re just as excited for Monday 11th May as you are – really. We can’t wait to get back into the mountains for fun – they’ve been tempting us for eight weeks in beautiful weather. However, rushing back up those hills could have a very serious impact on our ‘green’ status as a department. Although the infection rate of COVID-19 is very low in the Haute Savoie, we don’t have a huge number of intensive care beds required for very sick patients. If we compromise this bed supply by being foolish in our mountain pursuits and putting extra pressure on the health service, our prefecture are very likely to review our ‘green status’ and could re-confine us. Who knows what our summer tourist season would look like then?
We’re fine with being called the Fun Police. But to add some weight to our ask, Source contributor and volunteer at Secours en Montagne Aisling Donnellan spoke to Philippe Dumur, president of l’Association Départementale des Sociétés de Secours en Montagne de Haute-Savoie (ADSSM74 for short) on our behalf. Here’s his statement in French, we’ve translated it to English below.
“Nous comprenons la frustration liée à tous ces jours de confinement et à l’approche de ce 11 mai. Cependant tout n’est pas fini. Il s’agit aujourd’hui de commencer le retour à la normal, en progressivité pour éviter un retour de la contamination. Les services d’urgences, de réanimation sont encore bien occupés par le COVID-19. Il serait donc imprudent de reprendre trop rapidement toutes nos activités outdoor, notamment en montagne ou les accidents et donc les traumatismes ne sont pas anodins. Les équipes de secours étaient aussi au ralenti depuis longtemps (en tout cas les nôtres), nous devons aussi nous remettre en forme. J’appelle donc la communauté sportive, montagnarde à reprendre progressivement ces activités avec humilité, ce qui n’empêche pas le plaisir afin d’éviter tout risque d’accident et de complication de la situation sanitaire. Merci à tous”
And in English…
“We understand the frustration linked to all these days of confinement and the approach of May 11th. However, it is not all over. Today it is a matter of starting to return to normal, progressively to avoid a the contamination and emergency services are still busy with COVID-19, so it would be unwise to resume all of our outdoor activities too quickly, especially in the mountains or accidents and therefore trauma is not harmless. The rescue teams have also been idle for a long time (at least ours), we also need to get back in shape. I therefore call on the mountainous sports community to gradually resume these activities with humility, which does not prevent pleasure to avoid any risk of accident and complication of the health situation. Thank you all.”
Here’s what we know about the rules of the mountains from 11 May onwards:
- We’ll still need to respect social distancing rules. These are currently 5 metres if you’re hiking in a group and 10 metres if you’re cycling or running.
- You shouldn’t venture more than 100km from home
- You should only be in the mountains during the day, not in the evening by prefectural order
- The French Ministry of Sports is get to confirm the official list of prohibited activities
- Safety precautions are even more important at the moment as there’s no information on mountain conditions currently available
- Mountain refuses and shelters are not currently open
- The borders into Italy and Switzerland are currently closed
Your local Mairie in your town or village will always be able to provide you with guidance on the new rules. Here’s an excellent link to the La Chamoniarde website, which includes lots of information and is constantly updated.