Croatian Skiers Sue Austria for Resort Chaos – “They Should’ve Closed Earlier!”

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 31st of August, 2020, what was announced just a few months ago is now coming true. The first hearing on tourist-launched lawsuits against the state of Austria for the coronavirus infection will be held at the Federal Court in Vienna, Austria, on September the 23rd, 2020. A group of Croatian skiers are involved in the matter.

The case regards infection with the new coronavirus at the famous Ischgl ski resort in Tyrol, from where the infection began to spread in late February and during the first weeks of March. The Vienna Consumer Protection Association (VSV) also sided with those who became infected there after receiving about 6,000 complaints.

In the end, a thousand of them from 45 countries declared that they were ready to file a lawsuit according to well known Austrian journalist Peter Kolba, told Slobodna Dalmacija. Nine of them are Croatian skiers.

“At the end of September, we’ll have six to eight test cases. These involve victims from Germany, Switzerland and Austria. In two cases, a compensation claim of 100 thousand euros was issued, because in one situation there was a fatal outcome, and in the other the party was connected to a respirator for a long time when in intensive care in hospital, and had to be rehabilitated later on.

We plan to seek justice for other people, including Croats, through a collective lawsuit. As things stand now, however, it will take from half a year to a year for that to enter the court proceedings,” Kolba explained.

“They should have warned us or closed a week before”

He also said the administration should have warned everyone a week in advance or closed the ski resorts rather than waiting until March the 13th to begin doing so.

“We’re suing Austria as a state, because it is the federal minister who is responsible for the health of all people in its territory. This, of course, doesn’t diminish the responsibility of the regional authorities in Tyrol, nor that of the municipality in which Ischgl is administratively located, but there were no instructions and strict measures from Vienna. The administration should have warned people a week before or actually closed the ski resorts a week before, rather than wait until March the 13th. That’s when the chaos started,” Kolba said.

He added that not only tourists were damaged by that situation…

“In addition to tourists, we have damaged people who served in hotels there and also fell ill. We plan to represent them as well,” Kolba said.

Ischgl also announced the start of next season for November the 26th, 2020 last week. How this group of nine Croatian skiers and others fare against the Austrian state is yet to be seen.

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