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COVID-19

EXPLAINED: The Covid rules you need to know if you’re skiing in Austria

Half term holidays are coming, and for Austria that means the winter tourism season will be in full swing.

Skiers in Austria
Families and ski enthusiasts are expected to descend on Austrian ski resorts in the next few weeks during half term holidays. (Alex Halada/AFP)

But what are the new rules regarding vaccination, test and recovery you will need to hit the slopes, stay in hotels or go to bars, restaurants and shops during February? And what happens if you are on holiday with your kids? 

The rules for all these activities change a lot during February. Here is our roundup of what you need to know. 

A word of warning. Individual states and venues in Austria may implement new rules at short notice, so it pays to check ahead with your hotel or ski school before planning trips and holidays. The following acts as a general guide.

Until February 19th Austria has the so-called ‘2G’ rule in place (the ‘G’ stands for Geimpfte which means vaccinated and Genesene which means recovered). This means anyone who wants to go to a cafe, bar or use a ski lift has to show a vaccine or recovery certificate.

Until February 12th you even need to show a 2G certificate to go to a shop in Austria, unless you are shopping for essentials in a supermarket or a pharmacy. Late night venues are closed at present, including night-clubs and apres ski venues.

READ MORE: How Austria’s Covid restrictions are changing in February

FFP2 masks must be worn indoors (including in cable cars) and outdoors if you cannot maintain a 2m distance between others. Pregnant women and children aged 6-14 can wear MNS (masks which cover the mouths and nose) instead. Children aged under six years old are exempt from wearing masks. 

What you can do in Austria depends a lot on how many vaccine doses you have had, or if you have proof of recovery from Covid-19.

Fully boosted (three doses)

Life will be easy for tourists aged 12 and over as long as they have had three vaccination doses including the booster jab in the nine months (270 days) before the end of their stay.

As long as you have a valid vaccination certificate such as the digital EU Covid Pass or the NHS Covid Pass you can access ski lifts, hotels, restaurants and cafes without a problem. Austria’s curfew will also move to midnight on Saturday February 5th, giving you longer to relax and enjoy a drink or food after skiing. 

Double vaccinated and recovered 

To prove you have recovered from Covid-19, you can show your EU Covid pass (Grüner Pass in Austria) or the UK’s NHS covid pass. A recovery certificate is valid for 180 days from the date of the first positive test in the infection. If you have been vaccinated twice  in the previous nine months and can show a recovery certificate you should be given the same status as someone who has received their booster.

Vaccinated once and recovered

If you have been vaccinated once and recovered from Covid-19, your certificate will be valid for 180 days.

Double vaccinated with no proof of recovery

If you have only been vaccinated twice and have no proof you have recovered from Covid-19 then your vaccine will only be considered valid for six months after the second dose. There’s an exception for people aged between 12 and 18: in this age group, two doses will be valid for seven months (210 days). 

A word of warning, since January 3rd, the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccination is only valid for 2G proof with a recovery certificate (if you recovered from Covid-19 before you were vaccinated) or a second vaccination. 

There is a vaccine calculator here if you want to check how long your jabs are valid for.

Unvaccinated but recovered from Covid-19

In order to access venues with proof of recovery, visitors must have a medical document proving past infection and showing the date of recovery.

This should appear in the EU Covid Pass (Green (Grüner) Pass in Austria) or the UK’s NHS Covid Pass. A recovery certificate is valid for 180 days from the date of the first positive test proving infection.

Unvaccinated adults

Unvaccinated adults with no proof they have recovered from Covid-19 will be unable to access bars, hotels, restaurants or ski lifts until the rules change on February 19th. On this date most states in Austria will allow unvaccinated people to access these venues with a recent negative Covid-19 test. For adults PCR test results will be valid for 48 hours and antigen tests for 24 hours in restaurants and bars.

However, in Vienna, the restrictions for unvaccinated people will not be lifted at the same time as the rest of Austria.

READ MORE: Vienna to keep tighter Covid measures in place for bars and restaurants

Some venues in Austria may decide to impose their own rules, so always check ahead before making plans.

Rules for children aged 12 and over

The rules depend on how old your children are. Children aged 12 and over (born on or after September 1st 2006) can use a Holiday Ninja Pass which you can find here as 2G proof within Austria. The Ninja Pass records that children have the correct negative PCR or antigen test results to access 2G venues, such as  restaurants, cinemas or cable cars.

Teenagers are required to take at least 2 PCR and one LFT test during a week-long period and record the results in the Holiday Ninja Pass. For teenagers PCR tests are valid for 72 hours, LFT/antigen tests for 48 hours. If a PCR test was shown to enter Austria, this can count towards the first test

There is free Covid-19 testing available in ​​Tirol, Salzburg, Vorarlberg, Carinthia, Styria and Vienna

Rules for children aged under 12

Before their 12th birthday, children are exempt from having to show evidence of being vaccinated, tested, or having recovered from Covid-19 in Austria.

However, rules may vary from state to state (particularly in Vienna where rules are often stricter) and at different venues, so we recommend you check to see if your child needs to provide a negative PCR or antigen test result.

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COVID-19 ALERT

Travel: What Covid rules are in place when visiting Austria this summer?

From entry rules to local Covid-19 restrictions and the latest data, here is what you need to know before visiting Austria in the summer of 2022.

Travel: What Covid rules are in place when visiting Austria this summer?

Austria is a very popular tourist destination, especially during the summer months, with its pristine lakes and beautiful cities ready to receive thousands of travellers.

However, the pandemic is still not over and many tourists are left with several questions when they decide to visit another country.

Here is what you need to know about the Covid-19 situation, rules, and requirements before visiting the Alpine country.

What are the entry rules?

First of all, what are the rules for entering the country? That’s an easy one: there are currently no Covid-19 restrictions for entering the country.

More specifically: there is no need to show proof that you were recently vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19 or tested negative for the disease.

You also don’t need to quarantine upon entry or fill in a specific online form.

This could change on short notice, though, in case any variant of concern is found in Europe or further afield. 

Here is the official website where you can find more information in English.

Are there any Covid-19 restrictions?

Austria has lifted most of its coronavirus-related restrictions, and life is almost as it was over two years ago. However, there are still a few rules to keep in mind, especially concerning masks.

There are also some differences when it comes to Vienna and the rest of the country, as Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) chose to stick with the “Viennese way” and keep some restrictions, most notably the mandatory use of masks in public transport.

Currently, masks are no longer mandatory in essential stores or public transport in most of Austria.

READ ALSO: LATEST: These are the Covid rules in Austria and Vienna from June 2022

According to the federal government, there is still an FFP2 mask mandate in “vulnerable” settings. These include hospitals, elderly and care homes, and health services.

Vienna has a few more restrictions when it comes to using of masks. In the capital, they are still mandatory in pharmacies, health care, and public transport (including the stations).

Besides the mandatory FFP2 mask usage in the entire country, Vienna also has a PCR test obligation to visitors. There are no longer visitor restrictions, though.

Self-isolation rules: what if I test positive?

In Vienna, the quarantine after a positive test lasts for ten days. It ends automatically if, during the last 48 hours, the person has shown no symptoms. People can test themselves free after five days if the PCR result is negative or a CT value above 30.

In the rest of Austria, people who tested positive but had a mild course of the disease and showed no symptoms for 48 hours can leave quarantine on the fifth day of isolation.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Austria should do if they test positive for Covid

If they test negative, they are free from restrictions.

Still, if they do not get tested or get a CT value below or equal to 30, they go into “traffic restriction” and need to wear a mask and not visit events or gastronomy for the next five days.

Can I take a free Covid-19 test as a tourist? What about a free vaccination?

Technically, yes. With the tests, it can be a bit more complicated, but we wrote a complete guide on how to get free Covid tests in Austria as a tourist.

READ ALSO: How tourists, visitors (and residents) can get free Covid tests

There are still “test streets” and “test boxes” where you can get tested for free without having an Austrian social insurance number. Remember to carry a picture ID and wear an FFP2 mask in those places, though.

As for vaccination, it is also possible to get a Covid-19 vaccine for free and without Austrian health insurance in the country. You will also need a picture ID and to wear a mask.

What if I get Covid-19 before my trip to Austria?

You are not allowed to enter Austria if you know you have Covid-19 – though there are currently no more checks, this falls largely into personal responsibility.

If you need to cancel your trip due to a positive test result, here is what you need to know about your rights.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Can I get a refund after cancelling my Austria trip due to Covid?

Airline companies are not required to refund you or allow you to make changes to your flight for free – unless the ticket you purchased entitles you to these rights.

The same is valid for hotel reservations. Most of them, primarily if you have used an online booking platform, will have different fees, and travellers have additional rights. It is essential to understand each tariff and what they entitle you to.

What is the current situation regarding Covid-19 in Austria?

Coronavirus numbers are rising in Austria, with many experts alerting to a Covid-19 wave, as The Local reported.

On Monday, July 4th, Austria reported 7,745 new coronavirus infections after 60,917 PCR tests. There were 929 hospitals with Covid-19 and 51 people in intensive care units. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 18,798 people have died from the disease in Austria.

Just under 62 percent of the population has all the necessary vaccination doses for a valid “green pass”, according to the Health Ministry.

READ ALSO: 11,000 new cases: Will Austria reintroduce restrictions as infection numbers rise?

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