Following a nationwide lockdown triggered by a spike in new Covid cases, Austria has relaxed its strict Covid rules.
National containment began on Monday, November 22 for all, and ended on December 12 for those vaccinated only. As of December 20, everyone was released from lockdown rules, although the so-called “2G” rules for entering local sites remain.
“The infection situation in Austria has eased,” read a statement on the website of the tourist office Austria.com.
“With the reopening of hotels and restaurants / cafes / inns in Vienna on December 20, the national lockdown in Austria comes to an end. Travel to Austria for tourism is once again possible for vaccinated and cured people!
However, the testing requirements for entry have also changed and now depend on whether or not you have received a booster vaccine.
So what do the new rules mean for travelers? Here’s what we know so far.
Can the British travel to Austria?
Only fully vaccinated (at least two doses) and recently recovered people can visit Austria for tourism purposes.
Unvaccinated people cannot visit, with the exception of Austrian residents, who must self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival.
For people who have been vaccinated, whether or not you need to show a negative test result to participate depends on whether or not you received a booster injection.
If you have been to certain African countries in the past 10 days, you may not be allowed to enter Austria, regardless of your vaccination status.
“Entry from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini is currently prohibited. This also applies to people who have stayed in these countries in the last 10 days, ”reads the current guidelines of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
What are the rules for travelers visiting Austria?
As of December 20, only fully vaccinated people – or those who can prove that they have recovered from Covid-19 in the past 180 days – can enter Austria.
For this second category, the tourist office gives this warning: “Warning: For people arriving from the UK, the NHS email / sms you have tested positive is not sufficient.”
For people with a double bite and those with a booster, Austria will accept the UK’s NHS Covid Pass.
From December 20, fully vaccinated people who have not yet had a booster will also have to provide a negative PCR result of a test carried out within the previous 72 hours.
“When you enter Austria, you must provide either proof of vaccination against Covid-19 or proof of recovery from Covid-19. In addition, from December 20, 2021, you must provide proof of a current negative Covid-19 test, if you have not had a recall ”, we read in the current opinion of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Those who have received a booster dose are exempt from the PCR test on arrival, and your booster dose is considered valid from the first day after receiving it.
And you need to make sure your vaccination is always up to date – Austria is one of the few countries that has introduced an expiration date for vaccine passports.
This means that, to be considered fully vaccinated, your last dose of vaccine must have been given between 14 days and 270 days before your arrival date.
Assuming you meet these criteria, fully vaccinated travelers do not have to register with a health clearance form or self-quarantine upon arrival.
Children of any vaccination status up to the age of 17 can enter Austria without the need for quarantine if accompanied by a fully vaccinated or recently recovered adult.
However, those aged 12 to 17 must show proof of a negative PCR test, full vaccination or recent recovery on arrival.
For unvaccinated travelers:
Currently, only unvaccinated citizens and those residing in Austria can enter and must self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.
Are there any restrictions in place once there?
Austria has so-called “2G” rules in place, which means fully vaccinated people can access more places, services and public places than unvaccinated people.
You must show full proof of vaccination to enter hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, recreation centers, gymnasiums, cultural institutions such as theaters, Christmas markets, ski lifts / cable cars and hairdressing salons.
Restaurants and cafes currently close at 11:00 p.m. (although New Years Eve is an exception). Bars and clubs remain closed for the moment, as does the après-ski scene.
FFP2 face masks – the European equivalent of the N95 respiratory masks – must also be worn on public transport and in taxis, as well as in shops, banks, bakeries, cable cars, museums, libraries, post offices, pharmacies and medical offices.
For children and adolescents who have not yet had both jabs, they can request a Ninja Pass and undergo regular testing instead of having to show proof of vaccination.
The Austria.info portal states: “After the current lockdown ends, the 2G rule (proof of full vaccination / past infection) will again be in effect in Austria, as will the FFP2 mask requirements in many regions. “
This means that unvaccinated people remain off limits to restaurants, hairdressers, cinemas, Christmas markets, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, theaters and hotels.
Can I cancel my vacation in Austria?
If you are going on holiday to Austria, your cancellation rights will depend on what you have booked. If you have purchased a package travel, you are protected by the Package Travel and Related Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018; it is likely that your supplier will allow you to postpone the dates or request a full refund.
If you’ve reserved separate items, things get more complex. Whether you can get a refund from the airline will depend on whether or not the flight you need to take is canceled. If it is still working, the carrier is not obligated to reimburse you. However, many airlines have introduced more flexible booking change policies during the pandemic, so you’ll likely be offered a voucher or the option to change your dates instead. Likewise, if you contact your host, they may be willing to postpone your reservation.
Also check what is covered by your travel insurance – depending on the terms of your policy, you may be able to request a refund through this.
What are the rules for entering the UK?
As of the end of November, all arrivals to the UK must provide a negative result on a pre-departure test (PCR or antigen) carried out on the day of departure or within two days before departure. This whatever the vaccination status.
They must also book a ‘second day’ test upon arrival in the UK or within two days, which must be a PCR test, and complete the UK Passenger Tracking Form within 48 hours before the arrival date. ‘arrival.
Immunized arrivals must now isolate themselves between returning home or to their accommodation and obtaining a negative result of their second day test.
Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated arrivals must also self-isolate for 10 days and reserve another PCR test for the “eighth day”. They also have the option of paying extra for a “day five” or release test that might release them from quarantine a little earlier.