Austria and Switzerland relax COVID rules

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It looks like things are looking up for the ski travel industry with both Austria and Switzerland relaxing their COVID rules.

The question for ski holiday operators is, will this result in a surge in bookings to these two destinations for the rest of the 2021/22 season. 

Switzerland

From midnight tonight 17 February 2022, in Switzerland will no longer require travellers to have COVID certificates.  It does not mean all restrictions have been lifted.  Should someone test positive, they still have to self isolate.  This rule stays in place until the end of March this year.  Also mask wearing on public transport and in health care facilities is still required.

Ignazio Cassis the Swiss President, said today, “Switzerland is taking a decisive and important step towards normality.  The virus is here.  We are learning to live with the virus.”

Austria

March also sees Austria lifting most restrictions, even though new legislation went through earlier this month, making COVID vaccination compulsory.

The good news for the ski holiday industry is from the 5 March 2022, requirements to show a COVID pass will be scrapped. However, mask wearing on public transport will still be mandatory.

For skiers in Austria, the 3G rules will apply.  This means vaccinated, recovered or  PCR test will allow access to ski lifts and cable cars. This new approach starts from this Saturday 19 February. However, masks on gondolas and cable cars remain compulsory and even chair lifts, where social distancing isn’t possible.

The other bit of good news for ski holiday companies and skiers alike is, from the 5 March Austria once again will allow Après Ski.

Update to Austrian relaxation 18 February 2022

Thanks to Elena Protopopow of the Tyrol Tourist Board we can now clarify the Austrian’s new rules.

From 19 February 2022

A gradual relaxations will come into force: in all major settings where the 2G rule (vaccinated or recovered) has applied so far, the 3G rule (vaccinated or recovered or tested) will apply in future:

  • 3G in cable cars, on bus trips and on excursion boats
  • 3G in catering and accommodation establishments
  • 3G in services close to the body
  • 3G in sports facilities
  • 3G at events
  • 3G at trade and public fairs

The 24:00 curfew and the ban on night-time catering will remain in place, and the general requirement to wear a mask indoors will also remain in place. The 3G rule in the workplace will also remain.

From 22 February 2022

the entry regulations to Austria will be adapted to the relaxed measures: A general 3G rule will apply as the basic rule on entry. Only entry from virus-variant areas will be exempt. However, no country is currently declared as a virus variant area!

From 5 March 2022

All measures will largely be dropped. This means:

  • No entry regulations
  • No upper limits for persons
  • No general curfew
  • Opening of night catering
  • Consumption allowed at events
  • Mandatory wearing of masks only in vital trade (supermarket, post office, banks, pharmacies, etc.) and public transport. In all other places, there is still a recommendation to wear an FFP2 mask in enclosed spaces.

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