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Covid-19 Restrictions Set to Ease in Austria as Summer in the Mountains Beckons

Hotels, accommodation providers and businesses can reopen on May 19th.  Some glacier skiing is hoped to be on offer too with other summer activities available. We also look at the situation in some of the other ski nations of Europe. UPDATED

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The Austrian federal government has announced extensive reopening for accommodation providers, gastronomy, leisure as well as culture facilities and events for May 19, 2021 under strict safety measures.

“We are on the final stretch in our fight against the pandemic,” said the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.

Further far-reaching reopening steps have also been announced for the beginning of July.

An easing of the entry requirements for foreign nationals was also promised starting on May 19th, 2021.

For an entry to Austria the following needs to be presented from this date:

– Proof of a past Covid-19 illness

– A negative Covid-19 test or

– A vaccination certificate

A mandatory quarantine for 10 days after entering Austria, with the earliest possibility of free testing after the 5th day, should only be apply from high-risk areas or virus variant areas.

However, in terms of travelling from the UK  it remains to be seen what the requirements will be on returning from travel in Austria.

The UK government has said it will announce which countries have what restrictions on May 17th.

Countries will go into a green, amber or red category in a new risk-assessed traffic light system.

These will determine testing and quarantine requirements for various countries.

“We are of course very happy about the opening steps! The businesses in Tirol have prepared extensively for this new start,” UK marketing director at the Tirol, Elena Protopopow, to PlanetSKI this week.

“With the first announced opening steps, there is now a perspective – both for the sectors and areas affected and for the people,” Elena added.

See here for details of summer in the Tirol.

Summer in the Tirol

Summer in the Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

So, will it be too late for skiing and snowboarding?

It looks like some glacier skiing may be on offer.

Hintertux in the Tirol is open year round.

“GOOD NEWS – Here we go again,” said the area on Facebook.
“Gastronomy, hospitality and leisure facilities are finally allowed to reopen on 19. May 2021 🤩
“Of course, we will keep you updated on all the safety measures.
“We are looking forward to being able to be there again soon – Until then,  stay healthy and see you soon!”

Other alpine resorts may not be able to offer skiing but they are set to open for summer with all the fabulous activities on offer.

“The moment we have all been longing for has finally arrived, Austria will reopen for tourism on May 19th,” said the ski resort of St Anton.

“With very cautious opening steps and clear safety concept, the holiday region of St. Anton am Arlberg will start the upcoming summer season on June 19.”

The resort of Ischgl is now also promoting its summer activities.

3 x 3,000m peaks – © TVB Paznaun – Ischgl

People going to events or visiting restaurants and hotels will need to show evidence of a negative test.

For outdoor sports are possible but negative tests must be provided.

Tests must be provided to participate in indoor sports such as a gym or fitness centre.

Public events can also restart with  at 1,500 people at indoor events and 3,000 people outside.

Chancellor Kurz said that Austria was being “careful”, and the relaxation of measures could go ahead due to the country’s vaccination scheme.

Austria has a population of 9m and it is predicted a third will have received their first dose of a vaccine by mid-May.

“We are on the final stretch in our fight against the pandemic,” Chancellor Kurz said.

So, what of the general situation in other alpine nations?

Italy

Restrictions were eased on Monday 26th April  across most regions of Italy as they moved into the lower-risk category of yellow from orange or red.

Restaurants and cafes are able to re-open for table service outdoors in the lower risk yellow zones.

Shops can open and outdoor sports are allowed.

However, five regions remain categorised as orange – or moderate – risk, including the ski region of Valle d’Aosta.

The others are Basilicata, Calabria, Puglia and Sicily.

Sardinia is the only area of Italy in the highest-risk red zone.

A national curfew from 10pm to 5am remains in place.

France

It starts a four-phase reopening on Monday 3rd May.

From Monday people can travel without restriction beyond the 10km (6 mile) current limit and this will give a boost to movement to and within the Alps and the Pyrenees.

From 19th May museums, theatres and cinemas can reopen and people can eat outdoors.

On 9th June people are allowed to eat indoors and sport can resume outdoors.

The curfew is put back to 23:00, and foreign visitors can return with a health pass.

The rest of the restrictions are set to be lifted on 30th June.

Daily cases remain just below 30,000 with intensive care cases high at 5,879.

Switzerland

Some measures have been eased with ore set to come if control measures continue.

We reported on it earlier:

Switzerland in the summer

Switzerland in the summer. Image ©PlanetSKI

Spain

The Pyrenees could be an option (if UK citizens are allowed to travel to and return) to Spain.

The Spanish government has said it hopes to open up to overseas travellers and tourism from June.

The Tourism Minister, Fernando Valdés, has said a pilot scheme would take place next month so Spain can welcome people in June.

We will be updating with news from the other mountain regions in Europe shortly.

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