Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Austria to resume gradually easing coronavirus-related restrictions starting May 1. Continued business, transport disruptions likely.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Austria
  • Vienna
  • Graz
  • Innsbruck
  • Salzburg
  • Linz

This alert began 29 Apr 2020 23:00 GMT and is scheduled to expire 23 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions

Summary
Austrian authorities plan to resume gradually easing restrictions that had been implemented as part of the nation's effort to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) over the coming days. The next steps in Austria's COVID-19 recovery plan come two weeks after a preliminary phase during which shops with less than 400 square meters (4,300 square feet) of floor space were allowed to reopen.

Starting May 1 nationwide movement restrictions will be 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. Beginning May 2, hairdressers, beauty salons, and shops with more than 400 square meters (4,300 square feet) of floor space may reopen. Additionally, on May 4, students in their final year of secondary education will be allowed to return to school. Authorities anticipate initiating yet an additional recovery phase May 15, when restaurants and cafes, as well as religious buildings, will be allowed to reopen.

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

  • Travelers from neighboring countries must produce a medical certificate attesting that they have tested negative for COVID-19. The certificate must have been issued within four days prior to their entry into Austria.
  • Rail services between Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic remain suspended; trains within Austria are operating on a reduced schedule.
  • Entry to Austria is prohibited temporarily for travelers from countries outside the Schengen area.


Implementation of future recovery stages are 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.

Advice
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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