Ski holidays are in doubt for many travelers as Austria agreed to impose quarantine on arrivals from the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway. People who have received their booster shot and can present a negative PCR test will be exempt from quarantine.

The Austrian government confirmed today that the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway have been reclassified as virus variant regions due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, meaning entry to Austria from these places is generally prohibited.

From Christmas Day, Austria will quarantine arrivals from the virus variant countries. The quarantine period is 10 days but can be reduced to five days at the earliest with a negative COVID-19 test result. People who are fully vaccinated and have received their booster shot will be exempt from quarantine provided they can present a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure. 

Children under 12 do not need proof of a booster or indeed a vaccine if they are accompanied by fully vaccinated adults. Nor are they required to take a test.

Austria's measures put Alpine ski holidays in doubt for many UK travelers who have already been banned from visiting France for non-essential reasons until mid-January.

Meanwhile, Austria has also tightened entry rules on visitors from elsewhere, requiring them to show proof of vaccination or recovery to enter the country. International arrivals will also need to show either a recent negative PCR test or a booster vaccination cert. Those who have recovered and have been vaccinated at least once after recovery do not need a PCR test.

Is Austria out of lockdown?

Following almost three weeks in a lockdown meant to slow the spread of the Delta variant, Austria reopened on December 13 just in time for the holiday ski season — at least for those who are fully vaccinated.

The lockdown went into effect on November 22, closing restaurants, hotels and Christmas markets. Since then, new infections have eased across the country, though Omicron cases are rapidly spreading throughout the country.

Still, the country will remain largely locked down for the unvaccinated. Austria will operate under 2-G rules nationwide which require proof of full vaccination or recovery from the virus to enter most places. 

Read more: These hikes in Austria offer a taste of the high life

Skiing Resumes At Ischgl With Restrictions
Austria's ski resorts are looking forward to the country reopening from lockdown © Getty Images

What has changed since the lockdown?

Visitors to Austria will notice some changes as the country continues to try and mitigate the spread of both the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19.

Operating under the 2-G rules, it’ll be mandatory for those 12 years of age and older to show proof of full vaccination or recovery from the virus to enter hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, gyms, museums, cinemas, theatres, Christmas markets, ski lifts/cable cars and services like hairdressers.

Providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test is no longer an acceptable alternative to not being vaccinated. 

FFP2 grade masks are required in all public, indoor spaces. At restaurants and cafes, guests need to wear a mask when not seated at their table. 

Visitors should also plan ahead as restaurants and cafes will close at 11 p.m.  Bars and clubs remain closed as does après-ski at the country's ski resorts. 

You may also like:
Skiing in France during COVID-19: What to know before you go
Ski season begins in the US and Canada: What to know before you hit the slopes in 2021
Skiing in France during COVID-19: What to know before you go

This article was first published December 2021 and updated December 2021

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