Will COVID write off France's whole ski season?

At the popular French ski resort of Chamonix, the lifts are closed, restaurants shuttered and bars empty.

Business owners there have seen their earnings slashed due to lockdowns.

And now, they are worried that they might not be able to welcome skiers back at all.

Or, at least, not before the snow melts and the season ends.

Restaurateur Francois Montorcier is one of them. He has lost around 90% of his normal revenue.

"This is a catastrophe. I'm afraid a lot of people will not make it. This is a very long period despite the financial help, because we still have a chance to have that help. But it's not enough. You cannot fill a season's turnover with financial help, this is not possible."

Some other European countries, like Switzerland and Spain, have resisted closing all of their resorts to allow people some time on the slopes.

But France is not one of them. French ski resorts were stopped from opening their cable cars and lifts at the start of the season.

This drove away the majority of their visitors - who come to the slopes for downhill skiing.

The government had discussed the possibility of re-opening the lifts in early January.

But that plan was squashed after authorities decided it would be premature.

A decision is now due on January 20th.

Mathieu Dechavanne is CEO of a cable car company, La Compagnie Du Mont-Blanc.

"Several unions quantified a loss of 1.6 billion euros if we were to close until January 7. If we have to close until the end of the season, that's going to cost us several billion euros, that's for sure."

Some winter sports enthusiasts have done their best to enjoy the mountains regardless.

But the streets of Chamonix are unusually quiet, and will stay that way, until the restrictions are lifted.