How is the Omicron Variant Affecting Winter Travel Destinations?

How is the Omicron Variant Affecting Winter Travel Destinations?

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As we head into 2022, many of us have long weekends and other getaways planned to make the most of the cold weather (or to escape it!). With the surge of the Omicron variant affecting nearly every country, we've taken a look at the current precautions in some of the most popular winter destinations. Note that Japan is currently closed to leisure travelers, so we've left our favorite Japanese ski destinations off this list.

Countries have different rules regarding vaccination status and testing but almost all destinations currently require masks in indoor, public areas (Well+Good has a list of recommended winter face masks here). With a bit of planning, you can have a wonderful and safe winter trip. 

Aspen, Colorado
Aspen is open and accepting visitors for all mountains. Masks are currently required in all indoor public spaces throughout Aspen, regardless of vaccination status. Most outdoor spaces do not require masks, but it varies from business to business. Many of the hotels, including our favorite The Little Nell, require proof of vaccination for all overnight and dining guests aged 12 and over. All three of The Little Nell's dining areas, Element 47, Ajax Tavern and The Wine Bar, are fully open, as is their 24-hour in-room dining and the complimentary mini-bar. The amenities are now open as well, including the sauna and spa, and twice per day housekeeping service (of course, if you'd prefer less, that can be arranged, as well). For concerned or high-risk visitors, call the hotel concierge ahead of your visit; they would be happy to assist with private transportation, one-on-one ski lessons, or a private visit to their wine cellar. If you'd prefer more space and privacy, consider booking a private chalet through Airbnb Luxe; we love this 5-bedroom townhouse, featuring exposed wood beams, rustic charm, a full kitchen, fireplaces throughout, and a hot tub.

Megève, France
Per French law, anyone over 12 years old entering restaurants, bars, or spas will be asked to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a COVID-19 test (rapid antigen or PCR) showing a negative result taken within the past 72 hours. Most luxury hotels require the same at check-in, as well as mandatory masking in indoor common areas. While there are several hotels in the area that offer consistently excellent service, including the Four Seasons and Armancette, our top choice this year is Zannier Le Chalet due to its secluded location and spacious accommodations. Book one of the suites (Suite 1 is the largest and our preference) to enjoy mountain views, a large patio, fireplace, private dining room, office space, and two bedrooms. Be sure to take proper safety precautions while traveling in France as it is still on the CDC's list of Level 4 Covid Destinations (Very High Risk).

Whistler, Canada 

British Columbia's top ski destination is a favorite for families as the village centre is completely free of cars. Whistler's village is a lovely area to explore with your family. Canada is open only to fully vaccinated individuals from other countries. While restaurants remain open, bars, pubs any other venues that don't serve full meals are currently closed due to Covid-19. Social distancing is enforced in all public venues and masks must be worn. In Whistler, we recommend the classic Four Seasons; the hotel offers private walking paths and complimentary shuttle service to all the villages, as well as a beloved tavern, a steakhouse, and spacious accommodations. Book the townhouse to enjoy a private whirlpool on the balcony surrounded by panoramic forest views. Canada is on the CDC's list of Level 3 Covid Destinations (High).

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
If you're looking for a safe escape to warm weather, consider the British Virgin Islands - they are ranked as a Level 1 Covid Risk (Low) by the CDC . The entry process is a bit more rigorous than other locations and does require testing but is very doable if you're fully vaccinated. If you're not fully vaccinated, or a member of your party is not, you will have to adhere to stricter quarantine guidelines, but a long trip could make it worth it. Click here for up to date information regarding visiting the area. Visitors are asked to wear masks in all public indoor locations and any time they are in a crowd. Once your Covid-19 test and vaccination status have been approved, head to Rosewood Little Dix Bay for unbeatable luxury. Depending on the level of privacy you seek, book a room, suite, or villa to enjoy the hotel's luxurious spa, private beach, pool, tennis courts, sailboats, and multiple restaurants embracing local Caribbean flavors. Each of the spacious private villas has a private pool and dedicated butler; these are an excellent choice for a private and safe beach getaway. 

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