Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Austria to gradually ease COVID-19-related restrictions from May 15. Continued business, transport disruptions likely.

This alert affects Austria

This alert began 18 May 2020 20:23 GMT and is scheduled to expire 08 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Easing of COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: From May 15
  • Impact: Easing of restrictions; business and transport disruptions remain

Austrian authorities are gradually easing coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related restrictions from May 15; food and drink establishments are allowed to operate 0600-2300 with a maximum of four adults per table. In addition, places of worship, museums, exhibitions, libraries, and zoos were allowed to reopen. From May 29, accommodation facilities, tourist sites, swimming pools, and other leisure facilities will be allowed to reopen for visitors.

Authorities previously eased other restrictions. Starting May 1, nationwide movement restrictions were lifted; however, residents must still observe a one-meter (three-foot) social distancing requirement. In addition, public gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed; major events are banned until June 30. Beginning May 2, hairdressers, beauty salons, and stores with more than 400 square meters (4,300 square feet) of floor space were allowed to reopen; as were all stores that sell goods. Additionally, on May 4, students in their final year of secondary education were allowed to return to school.

Airports in the country remain open, albeit with a reduced schedule; Austrian Airlines (OS) have suspended commercial flights until May 31.

The following COVID-19-related restrictions remain in place in Austria:

  • Travelers entering Austria must either present a medical certificate no more than four days old showing a negative COVID-19 test result or else they are required to begin a 14-day quarantine. Testing is available at Vienna International Airport (VIE) for citizens and residents of Austria.
  • Rail services between Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Switzerland remain suspended; trains to Germany and Czech Republic are operating with a reduced schedule; trains within Austria are operating on a normal schedule since May 11.
  • Entry to Austria is prohibited temporarily for travelers from countries outside the Schengen Area.

The implementation of future recovery stages is contingent upon no major increase in disease activity over the coming weeks. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the Austrian government are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks, in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

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