Austria Tightens Covid-19 Restrictions as Omicron Spreads

Another lockdown is not ruled out as the country’s Covid Crisis Coordination Commission meets. Masks are now needed outdoors & other measures are tightened. Ski resorts are watching developments closely with World Cup ski racing called off. NEW

An FFP2 mask is now required in all outdoor settings when people can not guarantee keeping a distance of 2m.

This applies across ski resorts in the country.

Quarantine time is cut to five days and the validity of vaccine certificates will be limited to 6-months.

Proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 will be required in all shops from next week.

Working from home is to be the norm rather than the exception.

The health minister has described the new measures as a ‘paradigm shift’ and said the numbers of covid cases will be higher ‘than we ever wanted to imagine’.

It comes after the federal government met provincial leaders and pandemic task force experts.

Austria reported 8,263 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

That’s almost three times higher than the daily average last week .

The majority of cases are currently in Vienna followed by the ski provinces of the Tirol and Salzburg.

FFP2 mask on the ski slopes of Austria

FFP2 mask on the ski slopes of Austria.

The women’s World Cup race in Flachau in the Province of Salzburg has already been called off by the Austrian Ski Federation.

It was due to have taken place on January 11th.

“Due to the high contamination figures in Flachau that state of Salzburgh has voted against holding the race,” said the Federation.

Preparations for Kitzbuhel’s Hahnenkamm race in the Tirol continue but concerns are rising about if it will take place and what measures may be put in place.

It is due to take place 21st – 23rd January.

Ski resorts remain open across Austria with Covid-19 rules in place.

More snow has been falling this week.

PlanetSKI reporter, Graeme Wallace, is currently in Zell-Am-See and will be positing for us shortly on what it is like skiing in Austria these Covid times.

Graeme has also visited Kaprun and Saalabach.

On Friday in Zell am See the sun made a welcome return after some fresh snow.

“Sunny slopes in Zell this morning,” said Graeme.

“The snow has transformed the resort with quiet pistes.”

Zell am See, Austria. Image c/o Graeme Wallace

Zell am See, Austria. Image c/o Graeme Wallace

Zell am See, Austria. Image c/o Graeme Wallace

Zell am See, Austria. Image c/o Graeme Wallace

Zell am See, Austria. Image c/o Graeme Wallace

Zell am See, Austria. Image c/o Graeme Wallace

The local authorities are keen to keep ski resorts open.

The governor of the Tirol, Gunther Platter, has spoken out against any new lockdown measures.

He said any further measures would unsettle the population.

He went on to point out that cases of omicron are expected to be milder than previous strains of Covid-19.

The government has expressed concern that the expected number of cases will bring staff shortages and threats to the country’s infrastructure.

“We need to do everything we can possibly do together to prevent another lockdown,” said the Chancellor, Karl Nehammer, on Thursday.

Last month Austria imposed stronger measures against people arriving from the UK.

The border remains open for those eligable.

Flying into Innsbruck

Flying into Innsbruck.
Image © PlanetSKI

Here are the current rules for entering Austria as described by the UK government:

Although the UK has become a virus variant area with effect from 25 December 2021, travellers from the UK (and the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway) can still enter Austria without the need to quarantine provided they are either: triple vaccinated (with the third vaccination done at least 120 days after the second); or double vaccinated following recovery from COVID (where the first vaccination was at least 21 days after a positive test or antibodies); or double vaccinated with Johnson and Johnson.

Additionally, travellers from the UK will need to present a negative PCR test no older than 48 hours at time of entry.

There are some exemptions, including for Austrian citizens, EU/EEA citizens and people with permission to reside in Austria, those with family emergencies, and those deemed to be in Austria’s national interest.

Such travellers must be fully vaccinated, or have recovered from COVID within the last 180 days, complete a pre-travel clearance form not more than 72 hours before entry to Austria, and provide either a PCR test (not more than 72 hours old) or proof of a booster.

They must also quarantine for ten days on arrival. There is the option to reduce quarantine from the fifth day at the earliest if a further PCR test produces a negative result.

You should check whether you also need to complete a pre-travel clearance form not more than 72 hours before entry to Austria.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you are generally not permitted to enter Austria coming from any other country.

There are exceptions to this, including residence or habitual abode in Austria or another EU member state, pregnancy, health issues that mean a vaccination is not possible or for some work reasons.

See the official Austrian advice for what is required in these cases.

Austria will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record and proof of COVID-19 vaccination issued in the Crown Dependencies.

If you are travelling with a printed PDF proof of vaccination status, it must date from after 1 November 2021 to ensure that the certificate can be scanned successfully.

Austrian immigration officials will insist on QR codes, as provided by the UK COVID Pass, as proof of vaccinations and boosters, and have denied entry to those without this evidence.

Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of full vaccination.

The negative molecular biological test ((PCR, LAMP, TMA) must not be older than 48 hours at time of entry.

There are some exemptions for professional purposes, as set out in Austria’s entry requirements.


Children up to the age of 12 do not have to provide a test result if travelling under supervision of an adult. If the accompanying adult has to self-isolate, the child must self-isolate too. The child can then leave self-isolation at the same time as the adult. If travelling unattended, the same requirements apply as for adults.

Children aged 12-15 who are not yet fully-vaccinated can take advantage of a “Holiday Ninja Pass” to access venues at ski-resorts. Find out how to apply online.

Related Articles

France set to ease some border restrictions with the UK

Pre-departure test to come back to England scrapped

What may skiing look like for the rest of the season?

British skiers refused entry at Innsbruck airport

We do our very best at PlanetSKI to ensure the information provided here is as complete and up-to-date as possible. However, please be aware that we assume no liability in this respect. Information provided by PlanetSKI should be checked with the official information provided by the authorities. The situation regarding travel warnings and local rules changes quickly.

Image © PlanetSKI