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COVID-19 RULES

Tyrol town tightens Covid measures after apres-ski parties

A town in Tyrol has brought in stricter Covid-19 restrictions after videos surfaced showing illegal partying in apres-ski venues.

Tyrol town tightens Covid measures after apres-ski parties
Apres-ski venues are currently closed by law in Austria. File photo: David Klein/Unsplash

Apres ski businesses are currently closed by law along with nightclubs, while a 10pm curfew applies to other restaurants and bars, along with other restrictions for gastronomy and events.

The town of Kitzbühel is currently hosting the Hahnenkamm Alpine Ski World Cup — and also has an incidence rate (new Covid cases per 100,000 residents over seven days) of more than 3,000, significantly above the already high national average of over 1,200.

A prominent Austrian startup founder, Florian Gschwandtner was forced to apologise after sharing a video on Instagram of a rowdy party in an apres-ski bar in the town. The video showed violations of several Covid rules, including guests drinking at a bar when currently eating and drinking may only take place while seated.

Gschwandtner said that it was a “mistake”  to join the party and that he should not have done it given his status as a “role model”.

The local authorities have responded by closing outdoor gastronomy for the rest of the week, while the Hahnenkamm Races ski event is ongoing, and stepping up Covid checks in the town.

Police confirmed to the Kurier newspaper they had completed their report into possible violations of Covid laws at the bar.

“We know where the video was taken and sent a report to the district authority and reported the facts,” a police officer told the newspaper.

Police also confirmed that the restaurant had been the subject of reports over rule violations previously — though these were minor.

Asked about the video, Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger said she had “absolutely no sympathy” with business owners who broke Austria’s current Covid rules, and noted that businesses which violate these rules are subject to repay financial aid they received from the government during the pandemic. Businesses which break Covid rules can also face fines.

Köstinger said that hospitality businesses which violated the rules in place were a “danger for the entire industry”. Austrian press agency APA has reported that the bar shown in the video from the weekend received €137,000 in coronavirus aid, according to an EU database which records aid of over €100,000 given to businesses.

Member comments

  1. wondering whether the apres ski in Semmering (Liechtensteinhaus?) should be closed as well – 8 Jan I was there and, entering the tent and wearing a mask (no one else was), a guy came to me and asked whether I’m a Polizist.

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COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: Do I need to wear a mask on flights to/from Austria?

The EU has eased recommendations for face masks on flights and in airports, but member states are free to put their own rules in place.

Reader question: Do I need to wear a mask on flights to/from Austria?

Since Monday, May 16th, it is no longer mandatory to wear a medical-grade face mask on flights and at airports within the EU.

But Austria will continue with the rule for now, meaning that masks are required on flights to Austria.

The implementation of the EU recommendation is based on the national rules in individual countries. 

For flights, where a destination country has a mask rule in place, then masks must be worn. 

An Austrian Airlines spokesperson told the Kronen Zeitung: “The easing of the mask requirement is an EU recommendation that must be reflected in a national regulation in order to also apply in Austria.” 

The aviation safety agency EASA and the EU health authority ECDC states that if masks are mandatory on public transport at the point of departure or at the destination, then the regulation should also continue on board the aircraft.

According to current Austrian Covid-19 regulations, wearing an FFP2 mask is still required in hospitals, elderly and nursing homes, public transport (including stops and stations), taxis, customer areas of vital trade, such as supermarkets, and administrative buildings.

READ MORE: LATEST: What are Austria’s current Covid-19 rules

In addition to Austria, masks are still compulsory in some public areas in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy – all key tourism destinations for travellers from Austria.

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