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When will tourism in Austria open up again?

The Local Austria
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When will tourism in Austria open up again?
Police along the Austrian border. Photo: Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

Austria has had strict entry rules in place since December. When will these be relaxed?


New rules for entering Austria were put in place on May 19th. Please click here for more information. 

On December 19th, 2020, Austria put in place a 'Christmas quarantine', which was expected to last until January 10th. 

Almost six months later and the quarantine is still in place. 

But there is good news for people wanting to enter Austria - and Austrian residents wanting to head abroad without having to quarantine on their return. 

Austria’s nationwide relaxation of the coronavirus lockdown measures on May 19th will include its strict quarantine.

READ MORE: Austria to relax most coronavirus measures on May 19th

Another thing to remember is that there are two sets of rules for entry. One is whether you are allowed to enter. The other is whether you will need to quarantine. 

Here's what you need to know. 

When will Austria relax its quarantine rules? 

Austrian media reports that the quarantine obligation - which currently requires almost all arrivals in Austria to quarantine for ten or 14 days (depending on the state) - will be relaxed for arrivals from almost all EU/Schengen/EFTA zone countries.

UPDATED: Which countries are now on Austria’s quarantine list?

The likely exceptions within this group are to include high-incidence countries or regions, or areas where virus variants are particularly prevalent.


How will the relaxation of quarantine rules work?

As yet, this has not been finalised - with Austrian media reporting that the government is unlikely to put in place a free for all, i.e. the situation before the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, the scheme is likely to be based around the EU health agency ECDC’s traffic light system, which differentiates between areas depending on the prevalence of coronavirus infections.

For countries coloured green or orange, entry is likely to be allowed unfettered, according to Austria’s Der Standard newspaper. 

When a country is coloured light red, negative coronavirus tests or proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus are likely to be required.

UPDATED: Everything you need to know about Austria’s quarantine rules

Travellers from dark red areas will need to comply with a ten-day quarantine obligation, with the possibility of leaving quarantine after the fifth day.

This system therefore resembles that which is currently in place federally (with some states having expanded the scheme to 14 days).

It is as yet unclear as to whether Austria would adopt a system which places entire countries on a risk list, or would do this on a regional basis.


What about arrivals from outside the EU/EFTA/Schengen Zone?

In effect, entry into Austria is restricted to Austrian citizens, Austrian residents and citizens of European Union and EFTA countries. 

Travel: Who is allowed to enter Austria right now?

Austrian citizens and residents will not be restricted from entry regardless of which countries they have been in for the past ten days, although in most cases they will need to quarantine. 

People transiting through Austria without stopping will also not be restricted from entering. 

Arrivals from a handful of non-European countries will be allowed to enter: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea. 

Also, people from Iceland and the Vatican will not be required to quarantine. 

More information on this requirement is available at the following link. 

UPDATED: Which countries are now on Austria’s quarantine list?

Arrivals from almost every non-European country are restricted.

This means that American citizens are not currently allowed to visit Austria, unless of course they hold Austrian or European citizenship and residency. 

LATEST: When will Americans be able to travel to Austria again?

In effect, tourist travel is not banned for people with Austrian or European citizenship/residency – however strict rules in place regarding quarantine and the closure of hotels means that few people will actually be able to enter. 

Official information is available here.

As yet, there is no indication as to when this will change. However, Austria as a EU member will participate in the bloc's decisions regarding visas and entry. 

So should I book my trip now then?

While looking at the current infection rates and making a decision on travelling on May 19th is like deciding to go swimming in a month based on today’s weather, there are several countries which currently sit below the threshold.

This includes Italy, Spain, Greece, Iceland, Portugal, Malta and Finland.

Germany - the country from which the most people arrive in Austria - would also fall.

However, arrivals from France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia and Lithuania would still need to quarantine.


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