Austria is closing all hotels and restaurants until January 6: “The virus is still among us”

AustriaPhoto: Daniele Buso / Unsplash

The Austrian government has decided to close hotels and restaurants until January 6. The move closes off the country to ski tourists during the Christmas and New Year weekend.

The authorities have also decided that travelers from countries with more than 100 infected per 100,000 inhabitants over the last two weeks must be quarantined for five days after arrival.

Among Austria’s neighboring countries – in the broadest sense – only a few Nordic and Central Asian countries are currently below this limit, according to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Norway is currently not among them.

The Austrians themselves, whether they are locals or day tourists in their own country, are welcome out on the slopes.

Heavy pressure

Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz announced the decision after several days of heavy pressure from the governments of Germany, France, and Italy to close ski resorts throughout the EU as part of the fight against the spread of the corona pandemic.

Austria makes big money on ski tourism and pushed back against such a development for a long time.

“The pandemic is not over. The virus is still among us, and the infection rates are still very high,” Kurz said while explaining the reasons behind the decision. 

Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, has made it clear that the ski season will go on as normal. 

Still, the tourism industry expects foreigners to be mostly absent due to travel restrictions and quarantine orders in their home countries.

French measures

On Wednesday, the French government announced that French citizens would be quarantined for seven days if they travel to French ski resorts at Christmas. 

The intention is meant to prevent the spread of the virus across regions and parts of France.

In Italy, the government has not yet announced its measures for Christmas, but Italian media expect a curfew, closed ski resorts, and strong family gatherings restrictions.

The European Commission warned member states on Wednesday against easing the restrictions and called for common regulations and coordinated efforts to prevent infection proliferation. 

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


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