Note: Last update of this article occurred on December 15th.
Notice: Austria has issued a warning for the whole of the Czech Republic as well as partial travel warnings for Bulgaria and Croatia, for the Belgian regions of Brussels and Wallonia, for mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands, for the French regions Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Île-de-France (including Paris), for the Portuguese regions Norte and Lisbon, for the regions North East, East Midlands and Yorkshire and The Humber in the United Kingdom, and for the Chinese province of Hubei.
1. Are Austrian borders open?
The borders are open since June 4th but with some restrictions. As of October 17, there are no entry restrictions for travellers from the following countries:
- 🇦🇺 Australia
- 🇧🇪 Belgium (except the regions Région de Bruxelles-Capitale / Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest, Wallonia)
- 🇧🇬 Bulgaria (except the regions Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Jambol, Kardzhali, Montana, Plovdiv, Rasgrad, Shumen, Sliven, Smoljan, Sofia, Stara Zagora, Targovishte, Varna)
- 🇨🇦 Canada
- 🇭🇷 Croatia (only the regions Brod-Posavina, Istria, Koprivnica-Križevci, Osijek-Baranja, Šibenik-Knin, Varaždin, Zadar)
- 🇨🇾 Cyprus
- 🇩🇰 Denmark
- 🇪🇪 Estonia
- 🇫🇮 Finland
- 🇫🇷 France (with the exception of the Île-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur * regions)
- 🇩🇪 Germany
- 🇬🇷 Greece
- 🇭🇺 Hungary
- 🇮🇪 Ireland
- 🇮🇸 Iceland
- 🇮🇹 Italy
- 🇯🇵 Japan
- 🇱🇻 Latvia
- 🇱🇮 Liechtenstein
- 🇱🇹 Lithuania
- 🇱🇺 Luxembourg
- 🇲🇹 Malta
- 🇲🇨 Monaco
- 🇳🇱 Netherlands
- 🇳🇿 New Zealand
- 🇳🇴 Norway
- 🇵🇱 Poland
- 🇵🇹 Portugal (with the exception of the Lisbon and Norte regions)
- 🇸🇲 San Marino
- 🇸🇰 Slovakia
- 🇸🇮 Slovenia
- 🇰🇷 South Korea
- 🇪🇸 Spain (Canary Islands only)
- 🇸🇪 Sweden
- 🇨🇭 Switzerland
- 🇺🇾 Uruguay
- 🇬🇧 United Kingdom (except East Midlands, North East, Yorkshire and The Humber regions)
- 🇻🇦 Vatican
Additionally, upon entry travelers must prove that they have stayed exclusively in Austria or one of the states or territories just mentioned within the last ten days.
If the condition is not fulfilled, entry is possible with a medical certificate that confirms a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours.
If no medical certificate can be presented, a 10-day (home) quarantine must be started immediately at the patient’s own expense.
More information available here
Entry and transit declaration available here
2. Is there a quarantine when entering the country?
In accordance with the ordinance of the Federal Minister of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection on entry into Austria in connection with the containment of SARS-CoV-2 (Federal Gazette II No. 263/2020 as amended), individuals who:
- Are not covered by the exemptions stipulated in the ordinance enabling them to enter the country without restrictions or
- Are not in possession of a medical certificate (in German or English as per Appendices B and C) confirming their state of health and thus are unable to prove that a molecular biological test for SARS-CoV-2, demonstrably taken no later than 72 hours before the time of arrival, was negative
are required to self-quarantine at home or in suitable accommodation for a period of ten days. Confirmation of having accommodation available must be presented and the costs for such accommodation borne by the individual. It is not permitted to leave the home or accommodation for this period of time and this must be confirmed by signing this declaration. The only exception here is cases where the individual will immediately leave the country again. In these cases, the individual has to confirm their immediate exit or transit without any stopovers.
This ten-day quarantine may be ended early if the mandatory molecular biological test for SARS-CoV- 2 taken during this time returns a negative result.
Please note that certain nationals must self-quarantine for ten days as outlined above even if they are in possession of a corresponding medical certificate, unless they are covered by an exemption. These nationals cannot take a test to end the quarantine early.
Please consider the special regulation in place for individuals arriving within the context of commercial travel or for commuters. It is permitted to transit Austria without making any stopovers.
More information available here
3. Under what conditions is free cancellation of a package tour possible?
Section 10(2) of the Austrian Package Travel Act (PRG) provides for a right of cancellation free of charge for the traveller if unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances occur at or in the immediate vicinity of the destination which significantly impair the performance of the package tour or the transport of persons to the destination. The traveller shall be refunded all sums paid for the journey. However, the traveller is not entitled to any further compensation.
The PRG defines unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances as circumstances beyond the control of the party invoking them, if the consequences of such circumstances could not have been avoided even if all reasonable precautions had been taken. As an example, the recitals of the Package Travel Directive mention, inter-alia, the outbreak of a serious illness at the destination.
In addition to unavoidable and exceptional circumstances, there must be a significant impairment of the performance of the journey or of the passenger’s transport.
According to the previous case law, the right to withdraw from the contract free of charge also depends on the proximity of the date of departure. If the start of the journey is not imminent, further developments must be awaited.
Please note that it is difficult to provide blanket information and each case must be treated individually.
Whether a cancellation should be accepted free of charge depends on various factors:
- Is there a partial travel warning for the destination?
- Is the trip imminent?
- If I change the itinerary due to the travel warning, can the traveler cancel free of charge?
- Due to travel bans, guests cannot enter Austria. As a tour operator, do I have to accept a cancellation free of charge?
- Due to exit bans, guests cannot leave the country as planned. Who has to bear the costs for the involuntary stay of guests?
The Austrian Package Travel Act (PRG) offers in its § 9 (2) another possibility to withdraw from the package travel contract – without paying any compensation – if the tour operator is forced to change one of the essential characteristics (these are main services – such as the type of travel) before the start of the package tour and the traveller does not agree to this change.
4. Under what conditions is free cancellation possible in accommodation establishments?
In principle, the cancellation options are based on the agreements in the accommodation contract and the included terms and conditions. If the fulfillment of the contract was impossible due to official orders such as official prohibitions to enter the country, entry restrictions, quarantine measures, etc., the accommodation contract must be reversed and all liabilities must be cancelled. In agreement with the guest, other arrangements are of course also possible (e.g. vouchers or the postponement of the booking or rebooking to another period). Accommodation contracts for the period concerned must also be reversed in the federal states affected by the closure of establishments.
5. Catering, events and celebrations
Catering establishments can now open their business premises for guests from 5pm to 1 a.m. Persons in a joint group of visitors need to stay at a minimum distance of 1 meter. From October 25th, a visitor group is limited to a maximum of 6 adults indoors or a maximum of 12 adults plus 6 underage children outdoors or exclusively of people who live in the same household.
Employees and operators are obliged to wear mouth and nose protection when in contact with customers in closed rooms and from October 25th this is also compulsory outdoors. From November 7th, the protection must be tight-fitting. For restaurants with more than 50 seats, a COVID-19 officer must be appointed from November 1st and a COVID-19 prevention concept must be implemented. From October 25th, after the curfew, alcoholic beverages may not be consumed within 50 meters.
6. What to do if symptoms of an illness appear?
Common signs of infection with the novel corona virus include fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. If you have symptoms or fear that you may be ill, call the 1450 Health Care Telephone and follow the instructions given there. Detailed information on the current situation of the coronavirus as well as on the official obligation to report it can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection.