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What is the current situation regarding travel to Austria

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@munich_irish, I am just a bit surprised (actually more than a bit) that the authorities are not intending to limit the numbers that will be travelling in such enclosed spaces during the winter. Ski buses and gondolas are singularly the biggest worry I would have in managing my own risk profile; I would certainly not travel on either at full capacity, but of course that is my choice and one I would make for myself.

While use of public transport may not have been restricted in Austria, a lock down was implemented that reduced interaction between people and Austria Info website still references this requirement “ 1. Distancing in public. Keep at least 1 metre (4 feet) away from strangers.“ - not sure how you can do this on a full ski bus or in a gondola ?

Perhaps with windows open and air flowing and for a short 10 minute ride it should be a low risk activity, but the flip side is that we are generally breathing much harder up the mountain in ski gear and lugging it around.

It will be interesting how this all works out.
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The social distancing (or lack of) in Austria is quite different to the social distancing I am seeing in Portugal. Except for in supermarkets I really didn’t see people wearing masks or trying to social distance in other shops or enclosed spaces in Austria. In Portugal local people are wearing masks around the streets, walking between the door and the table in restaurants, all serving staff are wearing masks (not that common in the uk either). I was really surprised by Austrian attitudes especially given the increases they have been seeing as a result of returning tourists.
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rayscoops wrote:
@munich_irish, I am just a bit surprised (actually more than a bit) that the authorities are not intending to limit the numbers that will be travelling in such enclosed spaces during the winter. Ski buses and gondolas are singularly the biggest worry I would have in managing my own risk profile; I would certainly not travel on either at full capacity, but of course that is my choice and one I would make for myself.


Oh, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they do add further limitations on numbers and capacity. As hinted (maybe in another thread) the discussions about exactly how to handle winter/ski stuff have only really recently intensified, and I fully expect further changes.

I think you can consider the plans so far outlined as a baseline for what's generally intended over the winter, that the ski season should go ahead, but have to bear in mind that things can (probably will) change at short notice as neccessary.
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The Corona 'traffic light' system for Austria has gone live today.

Here's the website (in German):

https://corona-ampel.gv.at
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@queenie pretty please, so mostly back to green Very Happy
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@holidayloverxx, yes. Seems a pretty simple system, nothing changes for us right now.
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The Austrian Chancellor , Sebastian Kurz, stated this morning that "Winter tourism and skiing will be possible," see https://liveblog.tt.com/414/coronavirus/79491/kurz-will-im-winter-skigebiete-und-schulen-offenhalten. basically it is too important for the economy for there to be too many restrictions.
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topped out at over 500 cases today ... highest number since April 1 Shocked
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340 of which are in Vienna.
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@rayscoops, It is, in part, down to a mess up with reporting the test results. From TT via google translate "There were 340 newly identified infections from Vienna , which, according to the crisis team there, are partly due to older test results that have now been supplemented." . So probably no different to the past few days.
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Also, like all other countries, the recorded numbers in April are a load of cobblers and are entirely meaningless as a comparison. Thankfully, the Austrian govt has not set their thresholds as low as the UK, so we are not being overly restricted. The infection numbers have stabilised over the last few weeks since the last noticeable increase. There is no cause for alarm.
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So hopefully the UK government may relax the quarantining soon then? NOT.

I havent booked the tunnel yet, but still hopeful that restrictions may have eased a little by the beginning of October to get across
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The Austrian numbers are not particularly positive again this morning, over 500 for the second day, Innsbruck is almost certain to be added to the "orange" list by the end of the week. The Austrian government seem to want to keep things as "normal" as possible but I would guess little immediate prospect of Austria being removed from the UK's banned list anytime soon.
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munich_irish wrote:
Innsbruck is almost certain to be added to the "orange" list by the end of the week.

Small correction there: the Austrian traffic light has four rolling eyes colours, and the second one is yellow, not orange. Orange is the third level. Yellow is the expected change (masks in shops and other businesses but only staff in restaurants). Most other changes are industry or event specific, afaik.

Not sure why they're going for it this week and not last week – numbers were pretty similar, clusters are outside the general population (refugee accomm again).
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@Scarlet, apologies, most traffic lights I know only have three colours the middle one being orange. Clearly some Austrian bureaucrat has invented a new type of traffic light Very Happy I suspect most of the increase is down to folk coming back from summer holidays but who knows. It does not look optimistic for UK visitors though, fingers crossed the numbers decline in the not too distant future.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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munich_irish wrote:
The Austrian numbers are not particularly positive again this morning, over 500 for the second day, Innsbruck is almost certain to be added to the "orange" list by the end of the week. The Austrian government seem to want to keep things as "normal" as possible but I would guess little immediate prospect of Austria being removed from the UK's banned list anytime soon.


500+ yesterday, 660+ today ... I worry about international travel being opened up before spring 2021.
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@rayscoops, the latest clusters are very city-focussed, mostly in Vienna. Here in Salzburg it's very much business as usual, certainly no panic or social restrictions. Ski areas are all publishing their plans for winter with regard to mask wearing, social distancing and changing the concept of après. There's a lot of confidence that a reasonably successful ski season can go ahead safely. Whether or not Brits will be able to travel here is an unknown, but that's a minor consideration, the Germans will be welcomed of course.
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@queenie pretty please, the best thing for ski resorts will be the local market so hopefully Austria will be full of Dutch, Croatians and Germans arriving in their cars and Austria will have a good season.

Austria is my favourite and ‘go to’ country for snowboarding but I don’t think I will/can visit this year, but hopefully I will be closer to Japan & S Korea this winter and maybe get some snow there Smile
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@rayscoops, Not at the moment you won't and not looking good for the winter. Both Korea and Japan have 14 day mandatory quarantine for pretty much all foreign travelers. Korea (where I currently sit) makes all short term visitors quarantine in a Government facility at their own expense.
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@RedandWhiteFlachau, yes I know, but geography means that they are likely to be the only options for me. If the quarantine is through out the season then no boarding at all for me
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So, AIUI, the current situation is this;

i) Austria has no restrictions on entry for UK citizens/passport holders ? - you don't have to provide evidence of a negative test, or anything ?

ii) UK has Austria on it's quarantine list - which doesn't necessarily mean that you can't go - but that the FCO advises against travel, therefore you're uninsured, there's unlikely to be any flights running, and of course you have to isolate for 14 days on your return.

I believe the mechanics/indicator used for item ii is the number of cases per 000k in Austria being above 20 ? this one ? https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/cases-2019-ncov-eueea or another source ?

But is there a measure/indicator for item i ? and what is it / where is it ? or is it just political ?

I know it's only December, and I know it's only a bloody holiday, and I know it's trivial in the grand scheme of things, so you don't need to chip in with all those opinions ( thanks though Very Happy ), I'm just trying to understand a bit more...........
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@Timberwolf, at the moment the UK is graded yellow, which is considered high risk, but no travel warning. There are currently flights between the UK and Austria but people arriving in the UK from Austria face quarantine restrictions. However Ryanair have cancelled a lot of the flights up to Christmas due to lack of bookings. I'm not clear what criteria the UK uses to determine quarantine restrictions, and it seems you do not have the alternative there of presenting a negative test result.
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@Timberwolf, The UK seems to base its decision on the 7 day rate see https://www.statista.com/statistics/1139048/coronavirus-case-rates-in-the-past-7-days-in-europe-by-country/. The key number appears to be 20 cases/100,000 though in recent weeks this has not been completely definitive, some countries that have gone above that number have been kept in. There does seem to be an attempt for the regulations to be more regionally focused but very difficult to know where this will all be in two weeks time let alone December (there is a push in the UK for a test based regime for travel but difficult to know if this has any chance of being realised)

Case numbers in the UK have been going up, if that continues then the UK will quite possibly get added to Austria's list, who knows.

Cases have being going up in Austria in recent days (around 600 again this morning) and there is now a "traffic light" system in use so any restrictions are locally based rather than for the whole country (there are some area that have had hardly any cases) see https://npgeo-corona-npgeo-de.hub.arcgis.com/app/fd4701f7653543d4afdccd2a386e639b and https://corona-ampel.gv.at/ (note a good part of the Tirol is yellow).

Not much help with trying to workout what might be possible come December. If I had to guess I would say that there will be skiing, not too far from "normal" though party type apres will be not be happening. Whether UK visitors will be welcome/practical is very difficult to know.
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@Timberwolf, it’s a mixture of indicators but the one you refer to is the headline one.

Other indicators are tests per million, but more importantly if the number of positive cases are rising or falling proportionally with the increase in testing.

Basically any country that hits the aggregate of 20 positive cases in a week per 100,000 is in the firing line

Otherwise described as a mess !
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queenie pretty please wrote:
@Timberwolf, at the moment the UK is graded yellow, which is considered high risk, but no travel warning. There are currently flights between the UK and Austria but people arriving in the UK from Austria face quarantine restrictions. However Ryanair have cancelled a lot of the flights up to Christmas due to lack of bookings. I'm not clear what criteria the UK uses to determine quarantine restrictions, and it seems you do not have the alternative there of presenting a negative test result.


Thanks QPP. Is there a link where i can see / keep an eye on the grading ?

I got the below from https://www.austria.info/en/service-and-facts/coronavirus-information

Current Entry Requirements to Austria
Open Borders
Travellers from the following countries do not need to show a negative COVID-19 test or commit to quarantine: Andorra, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vatican City.
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https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-countries-and-territories-exempt-from-advice-against-all-but-essential-international-travel



https://www.statista.com/statistics/1139048/coronavirus-case-rates-in-the-past-7-days-in-europe-by-country/
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@rayscoops, I mean on the Austrian view of the UK
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Of course, UK government may revise the 20 positive cases per 100,000 criteria as UK looks to be heading "north" of that figure now itself. Unless of course they're going to go to pretty much the earlier lockdown advice and pretty much try and restrict all non-essential travel
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I still find it a little ironic I had to pay £596 for test to travel to Austria at the end of July when cases were likely much lower than now - when I wouldn't need to do that now. Still, count my blessings as lucky enough to get a holiday and would rather spend money securing a holiday than aborting one.

Got to say plan A for holiday next year is staycation though!
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@Timberwolf, www.bmeia.gv.at
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queenie pretty please wrote:
@Timberwolf, www.bmeia.gv.at


Thanks mate
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I am afraid things are not looking very positive in regard to the UK relaxing its advice on Austria anytime soon. The Austrian "traffic light" map has been updated https://corona-ampel.gv.at/ and as can be seen lots of yellow and some orange (high risk) areas. Some of the Tirol and Vorarlberg are covered by orange warnings.
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waiting until Thursday evening to cancel my Friday flight just in case there is an announcement on Thursday. Decided to write the flights off rather than keep paying to move them
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@munich_irish, I imagine Austria will be adding UK to the red list again too.
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@munich_irish, I think Austria is up to 40 cases per 100,000 in 7 days and rising .... U.K. smashing through the 20 mark and rising but testing a lot of people to get there ... travel not looking good generally in either direction.

I really need to get to Bulgaria and they are down to about 13 per 100k but still on the U.K. list, but of course they test much less.

it’s looking increasingly possible that we will be forced to hunker down until the spring maybe ?
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There is an EU wide system of restrictions in the process of being agreed which is based on no restrictions for areas with a 14 day rate under 25/100,000 (broadly equivalent to 13/100,000 7 day rate). I suspect further details will be worked out. I know the UK wont play along but it is likely to be used as a measure by EU countries for the UK. It should be signed off at a meeting in Brussels on 13th October. Not sure all EU countries will use it (eg Hungary) but certainly Germany and Austria will.
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munich_irish wrote:
I am afraid things are not looking very positive in regard to the UK relaxing its advice on Austria anytime soon. The Austrian "traffic light" map has been updated https://corona-ampel.gv.at/ and as can be seen lots of yellow and some orange (high risk) areas. Some of the Tirol and Vorarlberg are covered by orange warnings.

This has only been running about 10 days and has rapidly become a bit of a farce (relatively speaking. The UK is definitely further into “hold my beer” territory!). Despite the point of it being that they would use the colours to indicate areas of greater restrictions, and these would be updated on Fridays, they have increased restrictions uniformly across the entire country rolling eyes and the traffic light is merely a colour on a map and I only just saw that it had changed this particular Tuesday...

Most areas are going by Bezirke, but others are changing colour on a Gemeinde level just to increase confusion. Not my area, which is yellow, although my Gemeinde has had no cases for about a month. The number of ICU beds in use was supposed to be part of the calculation too – in Tirol as of last night it was one. Nonsense, and no-one seems to have any idea if more changes will be brought in or when. That corona ampel website has been completely rewritten since last week rolling eyes

They've also re-done the national data visualisation site (the arcgis one) so that it shows the traffic light map and a load of useless total infection data. How is it of any use to see how many positive tests have been done since March? Luckily the live case data is still on the local one.
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@Scarlet, must agree is does seem a bit odd that the map has suddenly changed from pretty much all green to lots of yellow / orange when as far as I can see there are not so many cases outside of Vienna. Life does seem much calmer here in Bavaria except for Americans spreading virus around the bars of Garmisch!
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@munich_irish, Yeah, Vienna has about half the total cases, and about half the positive tests each day. It's like the govt has ignored it for the summer, and then gone into panic mode and overreacted in order to scare people. I think people are more scared of quarantines and unnecessary lockdowns than they are of the virus now. Also, the problem in some areas is that the population is so small that it only takes a few infected households to send the per 100,000 numbers right up (e.g Landeck).
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I was thinking about Italy for a ski trip next year as France, Austria etc not an option due to restrictions. Thinking about Selva which is only 1h45 from Innsbruck over the border, but I'm now thinking that this wouldn't be allowed, even if only transferring and not actually staying/stopping over in Austria? (based on the current situation, things can obviously change at a later stage)
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