FOR MEMBERS

UPDATE: What you can and can’t do in Austria this Christmas

UPDATE: What you can and can't do in Austria this Christmas
Do you want to be the one to tell Santa or should we? Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP
Christmas in Austria in 2020 won't feel so much like Christmas. Here's what you will - and won't - be allowed to do.

Austrian authorities have a number of changes to the rules which will apply over the Christmas period, including a relaxation of the existing measures on the 24th and 25th of December – along with a subsequent tightening on December 26th. 

Here's a breakdown of what applies as of December 17th. 

From December 26th, the following rules apply

EXPLAINED: What are the rules of Austria's upcoming coronavirus lockdown?

When can I leave the house?

Up until the 24th of December, a stay-at-home order applies from 8pm to 6am.

While you may now leave the house during the day regardless of the reason, leaving the house at night can only be for four reasons: work, exercise, to care for others or for the ‘necessary and basic needs of life’, i.e. to avoid emergencies, etc.

UPDATED: When am I allowed to leave my home under Austria's coronavirus measures?

The nighttime curfew does not apply on the 24th and 25th of December.

How many people can I meet?

During the day, you may meet with a maximum of six adults and six children from a max of two households. 

These rules will however be wound back on December 24th and 25th.

On those days, you may meet with up to ten people from any number of households, in public or in private. 

Children do not count towards the tally. 

Keep in mind that hotels are closed until the new year, so if you are going to spend time with family you will need to have somewhere to stay. 

What are the rules for entering Austria?

One final aspect to consider is the Christmas quarantine requirement.  

Under the new rules, anyone arriving or returning to Austria from a high-risk area will be required to quarantine for ten days. 

After five days in quarantine, people will be entitled to have a free coronavirus test in order to leave quarantine early. 

‘High risk’ countries will be any country which has a 14-day incidence rate of more than 100 positive cases of coronavirus per 100,000 residents. 

Currently, each of Austria's neighbours is classified as 'high risk'.

The quarantine requirement will kick on on December 19th and will stay in place until January 10th, 2021. 

There are some limited exceptions, including for partners and for commuters. More info is available at the following link.

UPDATED: What you need to know about Austria's Christmas quarantine rules 

Can I do some last-minute Christmas shopping?

Yes, although shops have been forced to take a variety of steps to make things less crowded – and more importantly, safer. 

Only one customer will be allowed per ten square metres. 

Mask and nose protection must also be worn while shopping. 

OK, OK, but can I get a Glühwein to keep me going?

Despite an outside hope that Christmas markets would be allowed in some restricted form this year – including an announcement from the Vienna Chamber of Commerce in October that the markets would go ahead subject to strict hygiene and distance rules – the government dealt a death knell for the markets on December 2nd. 

Due to the announcement, hospitality venues are set to close until January 7th at the earliest. Opening may be allowed if infection rates continue to fall. 

Christmas markets were expressly forbidden as part of the announcement, Kronen Zeitung reports

There was also bad news for anyone who wants a Glühwein or two to beat back the cold. 

From December 7th, a strict ban on takeaway alcohol was also set in stone. This means that only alcohol in sealed containers for consumption at home may be sold. 

Can I go skiing?

Yes – skiing will again be possible from Christmas Eve. Hotels are set to be closed until January 7th, meaning that only day trips are possible. 

In the press conference on Wednesday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said ski lifts would again be allowed to open from December 24th. 

“From December 24th, individual sports outdoors such as skiing will be possible again so that the Austrian population has the chance to engage in sporting activity over the holidays,” Kurz said at a press conference.


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.