Covid-19: Bavaria warns Austrians against cross-border shopping

Bavarian authorities have urged people in Austria not to go shopping across the border while most of the country has been classed as a risk zone by Germany.

Covid-19: Bavaria warns Austrians against cross-border shopping
Shoppers in Munich in May. Photo: DPA

As Austrians celebrate their National Day on Monday, which is a public holiday throughout the country, there are fears that people will travel and cross the border into Bavaria for non-essential reasons, such as for tourism or shopping purposes.

But Bavarian Health Minister Melanie Huml, of the conservative Christian Social Union, pointed out on Sunday that if people in Austria crossed the border to go shopping they would face quarantine in the southern state – even if they were only visiting for a short time.

“Even though we like to have our Austrian neighbours with us under normal circumstances – cross-border travel for shopping only is not a good idea in the current corona infection situation and is not permitted anyway,” Huml said.

The daily increasing numbers are worrying and contact of any kind should be avoided as far as possible, she added.

The obligation to quarantine for 14 days applies to everyone entering Bavaria from a foreign risk area, Huml emphasised. The quarantine period can be ended after a period of five days at the earliest with a negative coronavirus test.

A shopping trip, no matter how short it is, is no exception, she said. According to the current entry quarantine regulation, anyone who has stayed in a risk area for more than 48 hours and enters Bavaria is obliged to go into quarantine. The Minister underlined: “And this is the case for people living in Austria.”

In Austria, eight out of nine federal states have been classed as risk zones by Germany – only Carinthia is not considered a risk area.

READ ALSO: UK, Switzerland and most of Austria placed on Germany's quarantine list

The 48-hour exception does not apply to people living in Austria

Authorities were keen to point that the so-called '48-hour quarantine exception rule' does not in principle apply to people who live permanently in a risk area and enter Bavaria from there.

According to information from the Health Ministry, the exception applies to Bavarians who were briefly in a risk area (for less than 48 hours) because they work there or were visiting a partner.

Huml said: “I ask everyone to use common sense. This is not the time to travel and meet. We want to avoid the spread of the virus as much as possible.”

Covid-19 is spreading rapidly in Bavaria. On Monday 20 Bavarian cities and districts including the capital Munich exceeded the threshold of 100 new corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days. According to data from the State Office of Health (LGL), this is nine more municipalities than before the weekend.

Cases are also rising in Austria, where new coronavirus measures have been introduced to try and slow down the spread.

READ ALSO: 'There's a danger of Covid-19 getting out of control': Bavaria orders tougher measures

On Friday October 23rd, a new rule was introduced that means commuters who enters Bavaria from a foreign risk area, including Austria, for professional or educational purposes at least once a week must regularly submit Covid-19 tests to the relevant health authority.

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Ten things you will notice as a parent with a child at school in Austria

Get a giant sweet filled cone ready and set your alarm for an early start if you are getting ready to send your child to school in Austria.

Kids with Schultute
Christof STACHE / AFP

Most kids have a great time on their first day of school

On the first day of school, all children are given a giant cone or Schultüte filled with sweets.

This considerably enhances the first day of school experience for most children. 

No uniforms

Children in Austria do not wear uniforms, pretty much any outfit goes at school, especially during Faschingsfest or carnival, when fancy dress is obligatory.

In a similarly informal vein, children address teachers by their first names and use the “du” form rather than the more formal “Sie”, at least at primary school. 

A woman dressed as Maria Theresia (Photo by SAMUEL KUBANI / AFP)

Austrian schools can be surprisingly traditional

On the other hand, Austrian schools are surprisingly traditional. Compulsory schooling started in Austria in 1774, under the reign of Maria Theresia, Austria’s first and only female head of state. Since then, many have tried to change the system, but  there have been few reforms.

In 1869 and 1962 new laws were passed which extended compulsory schooling to its current nine years and ended the control of the Catholic church. However many aspects of Austrian schooling are still the same. For example … 

Set your alarm clock

… school starts at the rather early time of 8am, which many parents find a struggle, particularly combined with a commute to work. 

School teaching often ends at around lunchtime or early afternoon. Many primary schools do offer after school options in the form of a Hort, while another option are Ganztagsschule (all day schools), offering learning support and structured activities throughout the afternoon. 

Your child’s teacher will be very important

In primary school, your child stays with the same teacher and classmates all the way through four years of school. How your child is taught and assessed largely depends on the teacher he or she is assigned. 

Ice skating and skiing trips at school?

As you would expect in an alpine state obsessed with winter sports, ice-skating and skiing feature on the sport curricula of many Austrian schools.

You can also expect your child to learn a lot of traditional Austrian folk songs, and even yodelling, as they become fully immersed in a new culture.

Your child will develop a love of Austrian cuisine

Apart from the sweet filled first day at school junk food and sodas in school are generally frowned upon, and school dinners often feature organic options and traditional Austrian dishes such as Kaiserschmarrn (fluffy pancakes) or Rindsuppe (beef stock soup). 

What comes comes after primary school or Volksschule?

After primary school (Volksschule), your child can continue on a vocational path at a Hauptschule or at a more academic secondary school, known as a Gymnasium.

Often these schools will specialise in particular subjects.

For example, Gymnasium schools concentrating more on mathematics and science are called Realgymnasium, and the business-oriented schools are known as Wirtschaftskundliches Realgymnasium

What about English?

Many schools in Vienna offer teaching in English. There are a number of state bilingual schools in which lessons are taught in both English and German.

GEPS (Global Education Primary School) schools have a strong focus on English, and normally feature one hour of English tuition with a native speaker each day.