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What is the current situation regarding travel to Austria

 Poster: A snowHead
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Bavaria has just announced that the 24 hour exception will no longer apply to "leisure" activities ie no issues for Grenzarbeiter , family visits or similar but visits to "risk areas" for skiing, walking etc will mean quarantine on return (to Bavaria not other parts of Germany). I would interpret this to mean that the Bavarians think the Austrians are planning to join the Swiss in opening the ski resorts in the not too distant future.
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DB wrote:
mitcva wrote:
FYI:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/26/austrians-and-swiss-go-off-piste-in-christmas-skiing-covid-row


Nothing new there, if it wasn't for the picture I wouldn't have known what offpiste skiing looks like. Confused


the picture looks very like Hemel snow dome....very gnarly offpiste
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munich_irish wrote:
Bavaria has just announced that the 24 hour exception will no longer apply to "leisure" activities ie no issues for Grenzarbeiter , family visits or similar but visits to "risk areas" for skiing, walking etc will mean quarantine on return (to Bavaria not other parts of Germany). I would interpret this to mean that the Bavarians think the Austrians are planning to join the Swiss in opening the ski resorts in the not too distant future.


I wonder how they will police this? Will they stop everybody at the boarder? Will this lead to massive traffic tailbacks on the German / Austrian boarder? Will the workers that need to cross the boarder to get to work be caught up in this traffic?
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@DB, Does that mean in Salzburg we would have the "Donald" in charge Shocked
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radar wrote:
@DB, Does that mean in Salzburg we would have the "Donald" in charge Shocked


If I knew what you meant by "Donald" I might be able to answer, but probably not - everything is up in the air at the moment.
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@DB, Salzburg was in the American sector , the reference is to Donald Trump being in charge , maybe a slightly oblique attempt at humour as all the speculation on this thread is wearing me out, can't wait for the chancellor to make his statement.
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radar wrote:
@DB, Salzburg was in the American sector , the reference is to Donald Trump being in charge , maybe a slightly oblique attempt at humour as all the speculation on this thread is wearing me out, can't wait for the chancellor to make his statement.


Ah OK I thought you were refering to my last post which was about the German/Austrian boarder. I might have worked it out if you had quoted the post you were replying to.
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@DB, I hadn't noticed we moved on a page Embarassed
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@DB, I would guess it will simply be random checks, it is also pretty easy to spot folk who are likely to be on their way back from a walk (despite the fuss there is actually no snow on the horizon) rather than on their way to / coming back from work etc. The police could simply stop people with non local plates, as there would be little official reason for say Munich based folk to drive to Kufstein or Salzburg. I suspect that if you simply walk over one of the myriad of paths that cross the border it is extremely unlikely that anyone will notice.

I wonder what the Kleinwalsertal and Jungholz will do if Vienna allows the lifts to run (assuming there is enough snow) but Bavaria doesnt want anyone going skiing?
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munich_irish wrote:
I wonder what the Kleinwalsertal and Jungholz will do if Vienna allows the lifts to run (assuming there is enough snow) but Bavaria doesnt want anyone going skiing?


Yes it will be interesting. I wonder if Germany can stop Austrian residents from visiting Austrian ski resorts that are land-locked by Germany. The locals will probably just go skitouring.
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Will cross-country be included? There must be a fair few trails that cross the border (Mittenwald-Scharnitz for example).
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@PrimroseAndBlue, no one will know until the Chancellor makes the announcement on 8 December . I’m viewing it from an Austrian perspective.


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Thu 26-11-20 19:35; edited 1 time in total
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@PrimroseAndBlue, the announcement today means anyone entering Austria from Bavaria for "leisure" purposes for even a brief time will then be subject to quarantine on returning to Bavaria. So yes a cross country , cross border ski track would be covered. Whether other parts of Germany will follow suit (health regulations are a Länder responsibility not a Federal one) is unclear but in reality it is only Baden Wurtemburg that would matter as the other Länder are too far away. Assuming the ski track is wholly within Germany then it would simply count as exercise, the issue is lifts not skiing itself (Bavarian ministers have already said ski touring would be OK) All pretty theoretical as no snow at the moment.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Germans travelling to Austria including the previously 24hour day trip will need to Quarantine for 10 days on return..

Anyone affected will be not entitled to loss of earnings..

https://www.kleinezeitung.at/international/corona/5903397/Coronavirus_Bayern-verhaengt-Quarantaenepflicht-fuer-Touristen

Markus Soder (Bavarian President) days they implement traffic (wintersports) spot checks attempting to cross the border to Austria .

https://www.sueddeutsche.de/bayern/bayern-corona-soeder-bund-laender-beschluesse-1.5128301
________________________________________________________________________________________________

British travellers could face Covid-19 restrictions in Europe from January

https://www.thelocal.at/20201126/british-people-could-face-covid-19-travel-restriction-in-europe-from-january

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Meanwhile here in Switzerland

I will not be going anywhere near any of the Swiss Ski stations and will be staying well away from all transit areas (airports,railway stations)

The situation here in Switzerland i not good and letting in 100'S thousands of foreign tourists is a very bad idea.

https://www.srf.ch/news/schweiz/skifahren-an-weihnachten-profitieren-die-schweizer-skigebiete-vom-alleingang?
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Austria seems to be quite firm on opening the lifts before Christmas, with Platter (Tirolean Landeshauptmann) today saying that "we will not let Bavaria take skiing away from us", that it's not just about tourism but also about locals who want to ski over Christmas, and that "Bavaria will have to accept this."

Tourism Minister Elizabeth Köstinger also said: “We don't give France any advice as to when it can open the Louvre again" Laughing
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@clarky999, : Very Happy
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No I wasn't being naive. Toofy Grin
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@queenie pretty please, Laughing
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Interview in "Der Spiegel" with Austria's tourism minister yesterday, explaining the rationale behind Austria's intention to open its ski resorts before Christmas:
https://www.spiegel.de/reise/europa/oesterreich-tourismusministerin-das-virus-holt-man-sich-nicht-auf-der-piste-a-38f55482-d30b-44ff-b05c-ac36ebb0cd35
Austria's Minister of Tourism on the winter season
"I'm not at all afraid of being infected there"
When can the ski lifts start up again? Angela Merkel calls for the winter sports areas to be closed. Austria's Minister of Tourism, Elisabeth Köstinger, doesn't think so - the vacation in her country is safe.
An interview by Claus Hecking • November 27, 2020, 1:17 a.m.

SPIEGEL: Minister, you and your Chancellor Sebastian Kurz promised in September that there would be "skiing fun" this winter. Would you still say that despite soaring infection numbers and a new lockdown with curfews, schools and business closings?

Elisabeth Köstinger: We will do everything we can to ensure that the number of infections falls and that a winter holiday in Austria is possible. I assume that we can do this with a joint effort. Tourism is indispensable for all of Austria, especially for the rural regions. And we showed in the summer: Holidays in Austria are safe.

SPIEGEL: Chancellor Angela Merkel has doubts about that. She calls for the Europe-wide closure of all ski areas.

Köstinger: I can't get anything out of this approach. That is also not a European responsibility. I don't know on what legal basis the EU should order the closure of ski areas. Apart from that, Austria is taking all measures to enable safe holidays. You don't get the virus on the slopes, but when you party afterwards. That's why there won't be any après-ski this year.

SPIEGEL: How do you want to ensure that a skiing holiday in Austria is safe?

Köstinger: By eliminating all sources of danger. There are comprehensive concepts for the winter season that guarantee this security. Our Ministry of Health has carried out detailed cluster analyzes of previous infections. In the hotel and catering industry, the incidence of infections was very low. Most cases occur where people know each other well: in the family environment and in the leisure sector. We also have the largest free trial program for hotel and tourism employees in Europe . More than 500,000 tests have now been carried out. Before Christmas we will test the population all over Austria.

SPIEGEL: But last March, thousands of ski tourists in Austria were infected with the virus. You can't afford a second Ischgl .

Köstinger: We couldn't afford the first Ischgl either. But we all learned something new in dealing with the corona pandemic.

"The situation in gondolas is no different from that in a subway or tram."
SPIEGEL: What if the neighbor coughs in the gondola or in the bubble chair lift?

Köstinger: 85 percent of all lifts are open anyway, in the fresh air. The covers of the chairlifts are partly removed, partly they cannot be closed. And wearing mouth and nose protection is mandatory in all lifts. The situation in gondolas is no different than in a subway or tram. The operators are instructed to always ensure fresh air supply. And there is no cable car in Austria that takes longer than 15 minutes to travel. The risk of infection is low.

SPIEGEL: Images recently went through the social networks. In Austrian ski areas such as the Zillertal or Kaunertal glacier, they showed crowds of tourists crowding in front of cable car stations.

Köstinger: These pictures from the Zillertal and Kaunertal were catastrophic. We held intensive discussions with the cable car operators so that this would not happen again. The operators have comprehensive prevention concepts that they also implement. There are floor markings and disinfectant dispensers everywhere at the entry and exit points. And on the following weekend, these scenes no longer existed: because the health authorities and the police took over control on site. The cable car companies learned quickly - and so did the skiers. We trust that after nine months of the pandemic, people will have internalized the rules.

SPIEGEL: But what if some don't follow the rules?

Köstinger: Every cable car company has its Corona officer. There will be security services at critical points, and police or cable car employees will also take over supervision.

SPIEGEL: How should that work with food - in deep winter, in closed rooms?

"We don't give France any advice on when it can reopen the Louvre."
Köstinger: With 50 or more guests, every company has to present a prevention concept. These include: regular ventilation, sufficient space, strict rules at the buffet. Employees and guests must wear mouth and nose protection and guests are only allowed to take off their masks at the table.

SPIEGEL: Then they can still infect each other.
Köstinger: You can do that in other places within your group. Personal responsibility is required here. Our concept prevents the different groups from infecting each other. You know: in the summer we had an eruption on Lake Wolfgang. This cluster mainly affected young employees. It was able to be completely contained within a very short time without many visitors being infected. We carried out thousands of tests on site - and had extremely fast contact person management. That worked extremely well.

SPIEGEL: What have you prepared in case there is an outbreak in a ski resort?

Köstinger: If guests need health care, it will of course be made available to them anyway. The tourist regions have agreed on a system of "safe houses" for milder developments. That means: Special accommodations are provided in which the corona infected are accommodated. They can no longer infect each other. This is how we ensure maximum security for everyone involved. In consultation with the German health authorities, infected people can also be brought home without symptoms.

SPIEGEL: The restaurateurs have invested a lot of time and money in their new concepts. Nevertheless, they had to close in early November, in the second lockdown.

Köstinger: My heart bleeds that we had to close the catering and hotel tourism business even though they did everything to create maximum security. But we had to restrict contacts, and the exit restrictions from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. are taking a large part of its business away from the catering trade. It was important to me to compensate the companies as much as possible for the failures. We replace them up to 80 percent of their turnover. And the strict measures now open up prospects for the winter season.

SPIEGEL: But what if the season is cancelled or starts late, as the governments of Germany, France and Italy are calling for?

Köstinger : We don't give France any advice as to when it can open the Louvre again. Nor do we prescribe in Italy or Germany when cafes, restaurants or schools can reopen. Each country should make its own decision based on its infection rate. The EU Commission has now made it clear that it does not intend to regulate this across Europe.

SPIEGEL: What do you do if the number of infections does rise again in January after the lockdown is lifted?

Köstinger: It is clear that we will have to prepare for tough, difficult months, not just in Austria, but throughout Europe. We will do everything we can to ensure that the number of infections remains down - with strict hygiene concepts and more personnel.

SPIEGEL: How much tourism do you expect this winter?

Köstinger: We now expect a slump of up to 50 percent compared to normal years. That's a problem. The hotel industry in Austria has only eight percent equity base.

SPIEGEL: How do you intend to prevent companies from going bankrupt en masse?

Köstinger: We provide guarantees for loans, hourly taxes, offer fixed cost subsidies, and short-time work for employees. We have reduced the sales tax for restaurants and hotels to five percent. And we offer the companies a reimbursement of 80 percent of the turnover compared to the same period in 2019. In the holiday hotel industry, the majority of the companies will make it: with massive support from the state. How big the support has to be depends on the number of visitors.

SPIEGEL: What does it depend on how many guests come?

"The risk of getting infected in a hotel in Hamburg is no smaller or greater than in a hotel in Serfaus."

Köstinger: Almost half of the visitors come from Germany. The quarantine requirement for returnees from Austria currently applies there. The greatest risk of infection comes from acquaintances - not from the hotel industry, where people wear masks and keep their distance. The risk of getting infected in a hotel in Hamburg is no smaller or greater than in a hotel in Serfaus in Tyrol . In my opinion, it would be key here to enable the most free. That means: If you come from Austria, a negative PCR test should be sufficient and you don't have to be in quarantine for days.

SPIEGEL: Virologists would disagree: In some patients in the early stages, the tests show no infection. Do you expect the German authorities to be convinced of your argument?

Köstinger: I believe that we need to deal with the corona pandemic differently. Of course, measures such as wearing mouth and nose protection, keeping your distance and maintaining hygiene are necessary. But I believe that quick tests will be a real game changer. We use them to filter out super spreaders very quickly. You know, we are the only country in the world that regularly tests employees in the hotel and catering industry. In the summer, we were able to isolate employees who tested positive very quickly, and the virus did not spread.

SPIEGEL: Will you go skiing yourself this coming winter?

Köstinger: Definitely . I'm not at all afraid of getting infected there. Distance, mouth and nose protection and hygiene concepts ensure maximum safety; there is no après-ski. And you don't get the virus out skiing. I'm looking forward to skiing fun.
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A quote from Sebastian Kurz earlier today, which rather unsurprisingly suggests Markus Söder and others should ********* right off!

Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz once again emphasized on Friday that the country would decide for itself whether to open ski areas. "We make these decisions responsibly," said Kurz at a press conference. "But we have to make them ourselves, because they depend on the infection rate in our country." Kurz said there are policy areas in which the European Union should act in a coordinating manner. What it can certainly cannot do, however, is to regulate "when football can be played, where you can go running and when you can go skiing".

I suggest the conclusion to be drawn from this and the other posts above is that the lifts will be running in the not too distant future, snow permitting
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Söder is a bit of a born-again evangelist on all of this. I was in Garmisch the weekend that Austria had its first confirmed cases, and the authorities were very blasé. Even in the hotel, there was a small bottle of hand sanitiser hidden away, when you'd already seen it appear more openly in the UK.

The night we got there was a carnival night in Partenkirchen, and there was a large stand covered in jokes about covid, frequented by blokes dressed in germ costumes... All run by the local CSU!
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Despite his regular denials, Markus Söder is making a play to be the Union candidate to take over from Angel Merkel. There is a certain amount of irony that the two Länder with the highest infection numbers Bavaria & North Rhein Westphalia are lead by the two main contenders Armin Laschet and Markus Söder. Söder's main play is to come across as super efficient and decisive as opposed to the supposedly somewhat wimpy and vacillating "middle of the road" Laschet. Hence all the comments about skiing, "no second Ischgl" etc. The persistent numbers of cases in Bavaria (with a much higher rate than NRW) and various localities with very high rates somewhat undermine his case, which only makes him want to try harder to appear decisive. I suspect any CSU member making public virus jokes now would pretty quickly not be a member anymore!
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@munich_irish, I notice that his coalition partners the Freie Wähler don't seem happy. Possibly connected to their Landtag leader being from Oberammergau...
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munich_irish wrote:
Despite his regular denials, Markus Söder is making a play to be the Union candidate to take over from Angel Merkel. There is a certain amount of irony that the two Länder with the highest infection numbers Bavaria & North Rhein Westphalia are lead by the two main contenders Armin Laschet and Markus Söder. Söder's main play is to come across as super efficient and decisive as opposed to the supposedly somewhat wimpy and vacillating "middle of the road" Laschet. Hence all the comments about skiing, "no second Ischgl" etc. The persistent numbers of cases in Bavaria (with a much higher rate than NRW) and various localities with very high rates somewhat undermine his case, which only makes him want to try harder to appear decisive. I suspect any CSU member making public virus jokes now would pretty quickly not be a member anymore!


thats true...f**k...i hope it will never happened...i find his attitude so selfish and arrogant...if anything like this will happend i thnink we have to move again to another country...(not that Laschet is better, aber i find him not so arrogant)
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I read this morning that Ischgl is targeting 17th Dec to open.

Cannons are on at Mayrhofen again.
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Canons were all pumping it out last night in Flachau, what a lovely sight!
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I've just read an article in Salzburg24 that states Kurz will outline his plans for the ski resorts on Wednesday, but as much as it hurts, ski resorts won't be among the first business to open when this lockdown is eased.
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Quote:

Canons were all pumping it out last night in Flachau, what a lovely sight!

Ditto in Saalbach. The roaring of the snow cannons lulls me to sleep at night - a real comforter Smile
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Kooky wrote:
Canons were all pumping it out last night in Flachau, what a lovely sight!


Looks like there‘s snow coming your way next weekend.

https://www.bergfex.at/kitzsteinhorn-kaprun/wetter/berg/
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Zillertal Arena showing 17th opening date on their website. Nothing yet for Mayrhofen or Hintertux.
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Saalbach still opening on the 7th, probably waiting for Wednesdays announcement
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Cannons and piste bashers have been pretty busy over the past few days. My guess is they are trying to build a firm base before the natural snowfall that is forecast this week. Seems to have been a lot of lift testing too.
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I am reading in the TT comments on locals only proposal:

“The ski areas are to be opened as soon as possible as soon as the number of infections allows, says Tyrolean cable car chairman Franz Hörl. When this will be the case is still open. At yesterday's meeting it was decided that the cable cars wanted to offer a wide range of services despite the threat of losses. And for the time being, this will probably only be available to the locals. "An offer especially for the Tyroleans out of our responsibility for the country with certainly optimal conditions on the slopes."
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Just reported on Der Standard ahead of the government announcement tomorrow. Shops and schools can reopen on 7th December but hotels and restaurants will remain closed until January. Ski areas can open with the agreed safety measures. There will be a government rescue package for hotels and restaurants.

So basically locals and day trippers can ski, bringing their butties and thermos flasks but no ski holidays.
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From Die Presse:

In the elementary schools, classes should start again on Monday. This time trading is only available as a complete package. And the ski slopes could also open (for locals).

Negotiations continued until the end. Between the government partners of the ÖVP and the Greens. According to reports, the Greens are pushing for schools to be opened, the ÖVP for trade and ski slopes to be opened up. What the compromise looks like will not be known until Wednesday morning. After the Council of Ministers, the “opening package” is to be officially presented.

Blame Google for the poor translation Very Happy
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@queenie pretty please, I don’t see how the lift companies can possibly open on that basis, it’ll not be economically viable. Unless of course they just open a small area of the resort but with that comes a lot of cost and rescue responsibility etc? There’s also going to be a lot of yellow snow about too....and bored shop staff.
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@Markymark29, the lift companies are already working, paying wages, renting the land. Surely the opportunity to recoup some of that cost by selling lift passes is better than nothing? Of course the situation is far from ideal, but the less government support needed the better.

As for yellow snow, the toilets in lift stations will be open. wink
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i think St.Anton already said that they will offer ca 60-70% from the whole Skiarea
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are self catering apartments in the same class as hotels?
Also, wondering if that means we could stay in Samnaun and ski over to Ischgl?
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Still very vague with what they mean in January, seems like they're buying themselves a bit more thinking time. My holiday is 9th January in Austria, I'm cutting it fine!
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