EASING OF MEASURES: SECOND MEETING OF COVID-19 TASKFORCE
The UIAA Covid-19 Crisis Consultation Taskforce held its second online meeting on 14 May. Representatives from the UIAA Executive Board, Management Committee, Commissions and Office participated.
The meeting opened with a tour de table of short reports from some of the participants regarding their respective countries.
- Belgium: Step by step approach, climbing gyms and 40 – 50 climbing areas still closed, reservation system for outdoor rock climbing areas in operation as of 28 May. You can only go climbing as a club, not individually. Regional diversity and complexity of rules.
- Switzerland: Clear rules and communication by government, lifting of Covid-19 restrictions implemented in two steps: 27 April, 11 May, climbing gyms, schools, restaurants are opening – but all having to follow strict rules – with social distancing, disinfection mandatory, no more than five people in a group, and each area having to turn in a protection concept. This is true for huts, for climbing gyms, and Alpinism for which the SAC has taken the government’s protection concept as a base and adapted it accordingly. These have been approved by the government and now each hut, each gym, has to adapt the SAC’s concept to fit their facilities. Cable cars, mountain transport are not open yet. On 27 May, a new communication is expected from the Federal Council.
- Germany: Similar situation as in Switzerland, diverse situation per Bundesland, Bavaria with most infections and restrictions, huts re-opening slowly, accommodation on reservation only, no groups, hut capacity at 50% due to social distancing rules. Climbing gyms reopening under protection rules. Good ventilation of climbing gyms and huts reduces infection risk.
- Austria: full name, address, telephone number required for hut reservations.
- Travel between Germany, Austria, Switzerland and possibly France will soon be possible. Europe planning to restore full Schengen area system.
- India: Individual regions/states in charge of setting their own rules, green (no infections, no limits), red and orange zones (severely affected, massive restrictions, no air/rail travel), with 70,000 infected and 2,000 deaths, the situation is encouraging considering issues related to healthcare in India. Himalayas: poorest region massively affected by lack of tourism. Needs: how to generate support for poorest areas including Pakistan, Nepal; propose/support exit strategies/protocol.
- Nepal: No air traffic at all, devastating situation for Nepal due to lack of tourism. From a medical point of view: expect several waves of Covid-19 over the next two years, well lead to enormous poverty. On the positive end: environment recovering, less other infections due to people wearing masks and washing hands etc.
In terms of the support the UIAA could provide member federations the following topics were discussed:
- Re-distribute information on easing of restrictions related to climbing, federation activities, huts, climbing gyms and access to the mountains. Please refer to the UIAA Covid-19 website page.
- The UIAA to look at providing greater info on travel restrictions, cross-border activities.
- Climbing countries in the Himalaya, especially India, Pakistan and Nepal, looking for guidance. Generate/provide a protocol of guidance for once things open up. Organisations areas are in particular are seeking advice.
- Creation of a fundraising page for Covid-19 activities. This has now been launched with further details coming soon.
- UIAA to provide general international guidelines and recommendations for climbing during Covid-19 and post Covid-19. These will be published shortly.
Regarding the UIAA General Assembly scheduled for 24 October in Antalya, Turkey, the UIAA Office continues to liaise with the event organisers and medical experts about the staging of the event and potential scenarios, including an online GA. Discussions will continue during 5 June’s Management Committee meeting.
In terms of communication, the UIAA has dedicated significant resources to its Covid-19 page.
- Response to lockdown, impact on member activities, cancellation of events and climbing
- 45% of membership and nearly 60% of countries now represented
- Aim to cover 70-80% countries in coming weeks
- Members sharing knowledge, experiences and best practices
- In parallel, information is provided on UIAA activities, impact on commission projects, wider climber advice
- Lockdown easing in some regions
- Main questions of ‘when can I climb again?’ and ‘how can I climb?’ being addressed.
- Already some very useful information from a number of federations, in particular British Mountaineering Council, FCMP Portugal, FEDME Spain, German Alpine Club, Swiss Alpine Club, American Alpine Club and Norwegian Climbing Federation.
- Requests for information from members is increasing.
- Online forms to be published on 25 May to allow the UIAA to collect data on general trends in different regions and information on specific areas.
- Donate area – solidarity fund has been set up to support those worst hit and slowest to recover from Covid-19.
UIAA Operations under Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions were also addressed.
- UIAA fully operational under home office conditions
- Successful shift to e-meeting routine: office, EB, MC, Commissions
- Technology in place for large e-meetings including voting procedures
- Regular, intensified contact with all stakeholders
- Projects ongoing, some (MPA, RTM) on hold due to pandemic
- Annual Report 2019 (to be published shortly) and closing of accounts complete
The next CCC meeting will be held at the end of May.