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Austrian prosecutors have said they are ending an 18-month investigation into a coronavirus outbreak at the ski resort of Ischgl, which has become one of Europe’s first super-spraying sites.
In a statement released today, the Innsbruck public prosecutor said he was closing his investigation into criminal responsibility for the Ischgl outbreak without a charge of wrongdoing.
Ischgl was one of the first Covid-19 hot spots in Europe. Despite the growing number of people who fell ill at the resort in February and March 2020, its bars and slopes remained open, leading to thousands of subsequent infections across Europe as holidaymakers returned from ski trips.
“There is no evidence that anyone was guilty of doing, or refraining from doing, anything that led to an increased risk of infections,” the prosecutor said.
The investigation focused on accusations that local officials, including the district governor and the mayor of Ischgl, had lobbied to keep the resort’s facilities open, even though they were aware of the deterioration of the public health situation.
The investigation was completed this year, but has only now been examined by senior prosecuting authorities and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Justice.
A separate civil action against the Ischgl authorities is ongoing in Vienna.
Ishgl was set to open its winter ski season on Thursday, with a weekend of celebrations scheduled to mark the resort’s takeover.
As of Monday, however, the Austrians have again been placed in a nationwide lockdown. Bars, restaurants and reception areas are closed until mid-December in order to stem an upsurge in coronavirus infections.