MEGEVE, France - Megeve, in the foothills of Mont Blanc, was gearing up to welcome back skiers before Christmas after a COVID-19 lockdown was eased. But France's government - while allowing cinemas, museums and theatres to reopen from Dec. 15 - says its ski slopes must stay off limits until 2021, leaving those who make their living in the Alpine village frustrated and, in some cases, perplexed. "When you're outside, when you're doing sport outdoors, that's not the moment when you're going to give COVID to someone. COVID is passed on in enclosed places," said Pierre de Monvallier, director of ski school Oxygene, which operates in several resorts including Megeve. Announcing a phased easing of the lockdown on Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron said it was "impossible to envisage" re-opening ski slopes for Christmas and New Year, and that he preferred instead to do so during January. "It felt like the door had been slammed in our face," said Catherine Jullien-Breches, the mayor of Megeve, whose currently green slopes are generally covered with snow by mid-December. "Unfortunately it's a real drama for the economies of the villages and the winter sports resorts." People who live within 20 km (12 miles) of France's Alpine resorts will able to visit from this weekend, but with the lifts staying shut, the main draw is missing. "It's like going on holiday on the Cote d'Azur and being told the sea is off limits," said David Le Scouarnec, co-owner of Megeve's Caf,
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