Austrian prosecutors have said they are ending an 18-month investigation into a coronavirus outbreak in the ski resort of Ischgl, which became one of Europe’s earliest superspreader locations.
In a statement today, the Innsbruck state prosecutor said it was closing its probe into criminal liability for the Ischgl outbreak with no charges of wrongdoing.
Ischgl was an early hotspot for Covid-19 in Europe. Despite rising numbers of people becoming sick in the resort in February and March 2020, its bars and pistes stayed open, leading to thousands of subsequent infections across Europe as holidaymakers returned from skiing trips.
“There is no evidence that anyone was culpable of doing, or refraining from doing, something that would have led to an increase in the risk of infections,” the prosecutor said.
The investigation looked at accusations that local officials, including the district governor and Ischgl’s mayor, had lobbied to keep the resort’s facilities open, even though they knew of the deteriorating public health situation.
The probe was completed this year, but has only now been reviewed by senior prosecutorial authorities and the Austrian federal ministry of justice.
A separate civil suit against Ischgl authorities is taking place in Vienna.
Ishgl was poised to open its winter ski season on Thursday, with a weekend of celebrations planned to mark the resort’s recovery.
Since Monday, however, Austrians have again been put into a national lockdown. Bars, restaurants and hospitality venues are closed until mid-December in an effort to stem a surge in coronavirus infections.