Any ski resort in Austria has been able to open their lifts for skiers from Christmas Eve 2020. Many outside the country wrongly think that the borders are closed and tourists are banned from skiing.
However the situation is a little bit more complicated than that. Both national borders and ski areas are open with restrictions and those inside Austria have to comply with various other ‘lockdown regulations’:
- Foreigners entering Austria from ‘high-risk countries’ (essentially the entire principal tourist markets) currently have to undergo a 10-day quarantine.
- Those entering the country and in quarantine can ‘test themselves free’ after five days with a negative COVID result.
- Hotels and other forms of accommodation are not allowed to accept bookings from tourists – only from those on business and work travel which is ‘unavoidable’. Most accommodation is therefore closed to visitors (whether local or foreign).
- Restaurants are only allowed to offer a takeaway service. Mountain huts in Salzburg and the Tyrol are not allowed to open even for takeaway service unless they can be reached by road.
- There is a general daytime curfew (apart from non-contact sporting activities and various other exemptions).
- Several major ski resorts have decided not to open their lifts, for differing reasons, until the restrictions are lifted. The resorts not opening include:
Saalbach-Hinterglemm (Fieberbrunn and Leogang on the Tyrolean side of the ski area are open)
The current restrictions are scheduled to be lifted on January 18 only if the 7-day incidence ratio of infections falls below 100. Persons with a negative COVID-19 test may then be able to visit shops, restaurants and bars. Those without a negative test result will have to remain under the previous regulations until January 25.
The ‘closed’ resorts say they will announce decisions on opening nearer the time.
Added: The resort of Galtür in the Paznaun valley opened its lifts in the New Year.