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What is the current situation regarding travel to Austria

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@Markymark29, same way as it currently works in normal schools I expect. Tough times call for tough measures.
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queenie pretty please wrote:
@Markymark29, same way as it currently works in normal schools I expect. Tough times call for tough measures.


Not quite sure it is “working” in the schools. Some of the treatment of the kids has been horrific. I know several parents who have felt forced to unregistered their child and switch to homeschooling. For a lot of people you don’t feel able to do this. I have looked at moving to independent schools for my eldest, but haven’t done so yet... if she were a year younger I probably would have done (and I may well regret not doing so).

Ski school is far more optional to people.
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Markymark29 wrote:
This ski school thing for young kids is going to be a logistical nightmare and imo will not work. At break times and lunch time they get together and cram into self-service restaurants on the hill and there's often 100's all running around together, and the ski instructors all stand about whilst havoc ensues, how is that going to work?


"just" by staggering times, choosing different restaurants can easily see it being workable.
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Bored in the office so spent 10 minutes working out the equivalent infection rates for Vorarlberg & Tirol to the 7 day / 100000 used in Germany and also UK when deciding "safe countries". Annoyingly the Austrian figures dont seem to be published in that form. Approximate 7 day rates for Vorarlberg are 60 and for the Tirol 55. Innsbruck is really high at 120 (though this is likely to drop as there is one day of much higher numbers even so will still be around 80). In Germany 35 is seen as a warning level and 50 means high risk forcing increased local measures (Munich has been hovering around the 50 mark but seems to be below again, most districts are around the 20 or below mark). The number of daily infections in Austria needs to drop a good deal before the travel warnings are likely to be lifted.
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Once the season starts, I wonder how long it will take for numbers to increase to the level where they need to shut down again, end of Jan?
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@munich_irish, Austria 7 day moving average was 709 yesterday, meaning over 60 cases per 100,000k population in the 7 days.

in U.K. we are seeing numbers rise at the moment as schools and universities open and people generally head indoors - will it be any different in Austria ?

If cities are hotspots and higher than the average, then are they likely to be above this 50 threshold ?
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@JimboS, numbers of active cases are higher now than they were in March when everything shut down. The difference now is that tracing and testing is in place and the services have a better idea of what they are dealing with. No one is panicking at the moment as it is expected that infection rates will fall during the off season, but it is clear that we need to be far more vigilant than perhaps we were at the start of the summer season. Death rates remain low here and almost exclusively people over 70. There's no indications of any shutdowns, business closures, school closures. The plan is very much one of dealing with the virus, taking sensible precautions, and getting on with normal life as much as possible. I am aware that most ski areas are allocating some hotels to deal exclusively with quarantining tourists for the winter season.
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queenie pretty please wrote:
numbers of active cases are higher now than they were in March when everything shut down.

I don't think so. Numbers of known active cases are higher, based on the number of positive tests, but the level of testing in March was nothing like it is now. I despair every time the media refer to the case numbers being “as high as March”, as cases in January – April, probably longer, were massively underestimated.

TBH, it now feels like measures in Austria are being driven by international pressure from potential travel warnings, rather than any particular need within the country. We have a state-wide pub curfew and 25 people in hospital rolling eyes
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@Scarlet, my understanding was that all suspected cases were tested back in March/April, but that it was very reactive whereas now the testing has been extended to contacts rather than just people who have suspicious symptoms. I've been tested twice for example, no symptoms whatsoever, just as part of the contact tracing thing.

We have a 22:00 curfew in Salzburg too, very much as a result of Germany, Netherlands, etc. sending out travel warnings, although in fairness the summer tourism season is drawing to a close.
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@JimboS, I’d work on about 8th January, just time enough to get the seasonal revenues in prior. Personally I think 20/21 season is a non-starter based on where we are currently but I guess time will tell.
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@queenie pretty please, Only cases with symptoms were being tested, so that could potentially have excluded circa 70% of cases. I don't think that much testing was going on in quarantined areas either – the roadblocks solved the spread problem in a rather low-tech way. That makes comparison of the two sets of numbers meaningless. Hospital admissions would be a better guide, but I don't have historical data for that (I don't think looking at deaths on a state-by-state basis would be that useful either, as they are so low that they are probably statistically insignificant).

I've been lucky not be be caught by contract tracing yet – the times I do mix with others would probably be considered high risk by many, but I don't do it very often.
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One thing that does not work to the benefit of the mountain areas of Austria is the relatively small populations. Innsbruck has less than a tenth of the population of Munich. For Innsbruck the 50/100000 case level is approximately 20/day whereas for Munich it is 100/day so a small outbreak at a factory or a wedding or whatever could push Innsbruck over the limit but not have much effect in Munich. Large number of tourists skew the figures too (though that is hardly an issue at the moment.....)
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@Scarlet, yes I see what you mean, any asymptomatic cases from March would have been missed. I don't think the world was fully aware of them at that point.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@munich_irish, yes agreed, here in Pongau we are now on "yellow alert" but essentially it's a couple of localised clusters.
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@munich_irish, yep, that is exactly what has happened in Innsbruck – something like 130/200 cases can be traced back to one wedding and one evening in a bar, and the press goes nuts, the govt goes nuts and the Germans and Dutch issue a travel warning. It's nonsense. I was also considering that in somewhere like Landeck (I guess Pongau is similar), the population numbers are so low that a few infected households is enough to tip the figures into the red zone.
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@Scarlet, perhaps the best thing would be to ban folk from getting married Very Happy
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@munich_irish, Max 10 at a wedding these days, so they basically have rolling eyes
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As widely predicted the German government has added the Tirol to the list of "high risk areas".
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@munich_irish, of course they did.

I notice that Landeck has joined the orange traffic light today, whatever that means. High risk zone. Landeck has 26 active cases. In total, not daily.
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@Scarlet, as far as I can see Landeck has recorded 34 cases in the past seven days, one of those was zero, one was one and one was minus one! However the 34 cases is equivalent to a rate of around 75/100000 in 7 days which is presumably why it is orange but given the small population the rate can change significantly from one day to the next.
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Germany has taken two small parts of the Vorarlberg and Tirol off the "high risk" list. The Kleinwalsertal and the small village of Jungholz. In both cases road access is only possible from Bavaria. The Kleinwalsertal is over the mountains north of the Hochtannberg Pass near Warth but the only road in comes from Obertsdorf and Jungholz is an exclave. Despite the ski lifts in both places I doubt they would be high on the list of places folk would choose to ski!
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@munich_irish, I’m glad they’ve done that – every time the borders close, those people are disproportionately affected and not at all considered by those who make border decisions. They have to campaign every time.
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@Scarlet, This time the folk living there were not inconvenienced, short trips for whatever reason are unrestricted. As far as I can see it was about tourism, there have been practically no cases in either place and the locals want to be able to welcome folk from across the border.
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munich_irish wrote:
Despite the ski lifts in both places I doubt they would be high on the list of places folk would choose to ski!

I don't know. I enjoyed a week in Oberstdorf & the Kleinwalsertal, many moons ago.
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@munich_irish, I know I am biased, but Kleinwalsertal is a pretty decent ski area. Not many go there from Munich, but loads from Stuttgart do.
The closure was a disaster for them, my SIL had to close down her Cafe/Konditorei for the season as a result. For the second time this year. Not sure she is going to make it tbh.
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@Steilhang, I was thinking from a Munich or brit perspective (given that "brit" covers most here) but can see that Kleinwalsertal is an attractive spot as it the entire Allgäu alps. Given it is peak mountain walking season hopefully the local businesses will benefit.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@munich_irish, Thanks for type-casting us as "brits" - I suggest most of us "brits" can read a map and are sufficiently well travelled for the last few decades and ski-savvy enough to know the merits and potential advantages that Kleinwalsertal potentially could offer, and where it sits geographically. It would potentially provide a skiing opportunity but has never been on my radar until now, perhaps that may change. One thing for sure if I was a chicy-micky (well used phrase of the Tiroleans for upmarket Munich dwelling Bogner adorning type folk) it'd not be my first choice for weekend skiing.
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@Markymark29, if I could afford Bogner ski kit I would spend the money on something else Very Happy In any case it is off limits for many UK based folk as Germany has declared much of UK (including Yorkshire and Humber) as high risk.
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You know it makes sense.
@munich_irish, not North Or South Yorkshire, only West I believe.

Me too regards Bognor, it’s awful.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Over 1,000 cases today Shocked
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@Markymark29, @munich_irish, Wales and Northern Ireland are on the German high risk list- in terms of population and land mass, these are not 'most of the UK' they are 50% of UK members, however (if half is most!).
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@Snowsartre, The official list from the RKI in Germany is for Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, North East, North West & Yorkshire and Humber. No idea what percentage either area or population but that seems to be "much" see https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebiete_neu.html
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@munich_irish, I stand corrected Embarassed
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The Austrian Embassy here confirmed that Australia is a low risk country and we can enter Austria without restrictions. One hurdle down. Now just need to be allowed to exit Australia. That’s going to be tougher. The official line is that we in a suppression strategy, but the case targets for opening up are clearly based on an elimination strategy.
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Axamer Lizum near Innsbruck have announced that they do not want to open this season:

https://tirol.orf.at/stories/3069794/
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...well, they have not updated their website. Using Google Translate, I got:

Quote:
Dear guests of Axamer Lizum,

Preparations for winter operation 2020/21 are already in full swing. The coming season raises a few questions – but the most important answer first: From today's point of view, as every year, you can look forward to the start of the season from the end of November and a largely unrestricted ski operation in the Axamer Lizum.

The health and safety of our guests and employees is of course the top priority for Axamer Lizum Aufaufs - AG. All coVID-19 regulations, which have been established by the Federal Government and the State of Tyrol and are constantly updated, are strictly adhered to by us. In addition, we have laid down further clear regulations and measures to ensure safe skiing and to offer you an unforgettable visit to the Axamer
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Publicity stunt? There's going to be a lot of angry people at tomorrow's meeting. This announcement has come after the season passes have gone on sale, and is largely visited by season pass holders, who they apparently don't give a stuff about Evil or Very Mad
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queenie pretty please wrote:
Axamer Lizum near Innsbruck have announced that they do not want to open this season:

https://tirol.orf.at/stories/3069794/


That seems strange. Out of all the ski resorts in the Alps, I would've thought that somewhere like Axamer Lizum, which is close to a big city and attracts mostly locals, would be in one of the least risky positions regarding the coming season.
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Post on FB showing the letter they sent: https://www.facebook.com/axamerlizum/posts/10157764533603284 (sorry it's an image so no translation available).
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I can see this from the perspective of the lift company. I suspect (happy to be wrong) that this is not the most profitable company. Once they commit to opening there are a lot of fixed costs in closing the operation down again if that proves necessary with little or no income. I believe the Austrian Kurzarbeit system is very similar to the German one so that the staff can receive around 75% of their nett salary plus have their health insurance paid if they are not working. So it may well be that the most sensible decision from a financial point of view is simply not to open the lifts at all this year. Much of any loss would be able to be written off against tax in future years, their staff would be protected and the possible "profits" are at best small. I guess they will not be the only lift company thinking along similar lines. Where the lift company is owned by the local community there might be a greater incentive to open as there is a wider benefit (hotels, restaurants etc) but from a purely commercial point of view the benefits could be marginal at best.
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