Austria to Crackdown on Foreigners Staying & Skiing in its Resorts Illegally

It follows a series of raids in St Anton that revealed widespread abuse. The Interior Minister has now said the government will ‘intensify controls’.  Local Austrians have welcomed the move as some general restrictions in Austria are eased from Monday 8th February.

It seems some foreign skiers and snowboarders are using loopholes in the country’s coronavirus lockdown to travel to ski in the country’s ski resorts.

Ones that are citizens of an EU country simply register as looking for work, and then do no such thing but go skiing instead.

“We will intensify controls” in Alpine ski resorts and at the border the Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told a news conference.

He also announced tougher border measures, including a requirement for cross-border commuters to register with authorities and get tested on a weekly basis.

The ski lifts and slopes in Austria can only be used by local people.

Last Friday police and health officials raided 44 accommodation addresses in St Anton in the Tirol.

133 people were interviewed, with 96 given ‘notices.’

Some were ordered to take a Covid PCR test and one person was placed in quarantine.

15 police officers took part in the operation.

The people were mainly young and came from UK, Denmark, Germany, Australia, Ireland and Sweden.

Many had arrived by train from Zurich.

We reported on the police raids at the time:

The majority now face fines of up to €2,180 (£1,930).

Since the raids 30 foreigners staying in St Anton have left the resort.

It is unclear where they have gone.

“This was a clear message that nobody should come — we’re still under lockdown. Now some clam will return,” said the mayor St Anton, Helmut Mall, to the AFP news agency.

On Monday Austria announced that it would keep some lockdown measures and ease others.

Ski resorts remain open but it is mainly just the lifts turning with most other facilities shut.

It appears that hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes in ski resorts, and elsewhere, will have to wait longer before being allowed to reopen.