Austria has been under a lockdown, and also restricted most travelers from entering the country since November 22 due to a high number of COVID-19 cases. That lockdown, which is the country’s fourth since the pandemic began, is set to end today for people who are fully vaccinated or have proof they have fully recovered from COVID-19.
“The lockdown for the unvaccinated continues,” Chancellor Karl Nehammer told reporters, Newsweek reports. “I understand that the people who are affected by it feel aggrieved. At the same time, there is the offer of science, that by getting vaccinated these troubles can be quickly put aside and that common freedom can then be enjoyed together.”
The Latest Lockdown
The government of Austria imposed the latest lockdown on November 22 because COVID-19 infection rates were rising too quickly.
Under the lockdown, Austria’s citizens were allowed to leave their homes only for a specific set of reasons, including to buy groceries, to go to the doctor’s office, to exercise, and, of course, to get vaccinated. Although schools remained open, parents were asked to keep children at home, if possible.
While the lockdown was met with protest, there’s no doubt it was effective. Earlier this week, Austria’s 7-day infection rate was 535.6 cases per 100,000 residents, which is about a 50 percent reduction from when the lockdown began, an Associated Press story reports.
Some Restrictions Remain
Now that COVID-19 infection rates have steadily declined, Austria is opening back up again — with some important caveats.
Indeed, Chancellor Nehammer said the lockdown may be ending but it also is “opening with a seatbelt,” the Associated Press reports.
Here’s what that entails. As the lockdown ends, the “2-G” will be in place again to “keep locals and visitors safe,” Austria’s Official Travel Portal explains.
That policy means proof of full vaccination/full recovery is required to enter many public places and face masks are generally required everywhere.
For example, anyone over the age of 12 who wants to enter a hotel, restaurant, leisure center, gym, or cultural institution such as a cinema or theater must show documentation of full vaccination/full recovery. The rule also applies to Christmas markets, ski lifts/cable cars, and “body-related services” such as hairstyling.
What’s more, proof of a negative COVID-19 test cannot be used instead of proof of full vaccination/full recovery documentation.
Restaurants, cafes, and inns also must close at 11 p.m. each night. Bars and clubs remain closed for now.
Finally, as expected, face masks are still required in all public enclosed spaces. For example, face masks are required inside restaurants, cafes, and inns when patrons are not seated at their table, the Official Travel Portal explains.
You can find more information about current restrictions here.
If you’re planning to travel to Austria, you can find the latest entry requirements here.
Know Before You Go
If you’re thinking about traveling to Austria, the good news is that 68.76 percent of the country’s eligible population is vaccinated for COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That said, 51,294 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Austria in the last week, and there were 419 deaths.
You should also note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a “Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19” advisory for Austria, noting that U.S. citizens should “Avoid travel to Austria.” Based on that guidance, the U.S. State Department issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory for Austria, bluntly stating “Do not travel to Austria due to COVID-19.”
While you may be considering travel to Austria, be sure to read the rest of our Austria coverage, including: