Tighter Restrictions in Parts of Austria

The eastern states of Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland will re-enter a strict coronavirus lockdown on April 1st. It follows rising cases in the states with a record number of people in hospital in Vienna. What may the impact be elsewhere in Austria?

It follows rising cases in the states with a record number of people in hospital in Vienna.

Austria is seeing as surge in cases with the greatest impact in the east of the country.

The authorities met until the early hours of the morning on Tuesday to thrash out a response.

These are the new measures being put in place after long discussions this week.

Ski resorts and regions have been impacted by the new rules:

  • A 24-hour stay at home order
  • The closure of all non-essential shops and services
  • An extension of the school holidays.
  • FFP2 masks will be required outdoors wherever crowds form
  • FFP2 masks will be required in indoor settings where more than one person is present
  • Commuters in risk areas must be tested twice per week
  • Police will carry out more border checks
  • Companies are to ask employees to work from home or be tested at least once per week.

The states have no major ski areas, as the main ski areas are further west, but they have dozens of smaller ones many have which have closed their winter activities.

The resort of  Mönichkirchen Mariensee in Lower Austria had been due to close on March 27th but it is now shut even though snow conditions are looking good.

These were the rules in place when it was open:

Protective measures and security advice at Mönichkirchen Mariensee:

  • Masks mandatory in all lifts and ski buses
  • Visitor management in waiting areas (keep your distance)
  • Lift tickets available online
  • Masks mandatory at restaurants, ski rental and shops
  • No Après Ski
  • Daily disinfection measures

The new lockdown measures are due to come into force from Thursday, April 1st.

Some measures may end on April 6th, while others will remain in place indefinitely.

If retail opens again on April 7th people will need to show evidence of a negative test to go into non-essential stores

“If we don’t see results in a timely manner, we will have to go beyond this package,” says the Mayor of Vienna, Michael Ludwig.

“Eastern Austria is much more confronted with the ‘British variant’, which is also related to the neighbouring countries Slovakia and the Czech Republic, where the variant is widespread. “

The British variant is currently less widespread in Switzerland and Germany.

The Health Minister, Rudolf Anschober, said that the measures may be extended across the country if infections continue to rise.

This would affect the main skiing area in the Tirol, Salzburg, Voralberg, Carinthia and others.

“Eastern Austria is a pilot region, it could easily be the same in other federal states,” he said.

Covid-19 is now spreading in many parts of Europe as we have reported:

Austria is pressing ahead with vaccine passports in an attempt to boost summer tourism:

In the western state of the Tirol skiing and snowboarding continues into May in some of the glacier areas.

Hintertux is open year round.

A couple of winters ago we were skiing in Stubai in early May with deep powder snow.

Mid-May in Stubai

Mid-May in Stubai. Image © PlanetSKI

See here for a full report from our editor, James Cove

Mid-May in Stubai

Mid-May in Stubai. Photo c/o PlanetSKI

The other states in the Austria will be watching closely to see if the measures in the east work and whether they may be extended.

Here at PlanetSKI we will be watching closely too as we are hoping for a summer trip to the mountains in the Tirol should conditions allow.

Fingers crossed.

Austrian Alps in the summer

Austrian Alps in the summer. Image © PlanetSKI