Despite earlier indications that the markets would be closed – or even worse, would be restricted from selling alcoholic drinks like Glühwein – the Vienna Chamber of Commerce on Thursday assured patrons that the markets would go ahead – and that hot wine would be available.
Christmas markets in Innsbruck are also set to go ahead, while authorities in Graz are hoping to find a way to open this year.
But while the markets will go ahead – at least in some parts of the country – they’ll do so subject to a strict set of rules.
How will Christmas markets look this year in Austria?
According to the hygiene plan, all staff and visitors to the market must wear masks at all times, other than when eating and drinking.
Hand sanitiser will be freely distributed throughout the markets.
The hygiene and protection plan submitted by authorities to host the Christmas market at Vienna’s Rathausplatz this year has a number of significant changes that patrons should be aware of.
As reported in Austria’s Kurier news site, this includes a restriction on attendees, video surveillance and traffic lights at the entrance to the markets.
Vienna’s Rathausplatz will have fewer stands – with last year’s 150 reduced to 120 in 2020. This has been done to make more space for patrons at the markets.
Each stand will be behind plexiglas – which will be installed at the cost of the city.
Entry to the market will be restricted to a lower number of visitors than in previous years.
This will be regulated at the entrances to the markets, where ‘traffic lights’ have been installed. These will flash green when patrons can enter the market, but will turn red when the market is full.
These lights will be made visible online.
In order to preserve one-metre of distance between guests, markings will be installed on the grounds.
The market will have designated ‘consumption zones’ where people can eat and drink. These ‘zones’ will be separated from the rest of the market.
Staff at the markets – dressed in angel wings – will roam the grounds to inform attendees about the measures and to encourage compliance. This will be in addition to a larger security presence.
In addition, the Christmas market will be overseen with video cameras.