living reading time: 25 min publication date: 15.03.2020

COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) IN CARINTHIA: CURRENT INFO & FAQ

© Christoph Pfeiler
Information sources about the coronavirus

CORONAVIRUS INFO HUB

WITH RELEVANT DATA COLLECTED FROM DIFFERENT ONLINE SOURCES

LAST UPDATED: 06/08/2021, 8 A.M.

In this post you can find information about the current situation regarding COVID-19 in Austria, and specifically in Villach and Carinthia. Answers to the most important questions are also provided for you here. 

We aim to give you an overview with information collected from different sources. Due to the rapidly changing situation, we recommend that you check out the links provided in the text for more detailed and up-to-date information. Please be aware that there is a lot of fake news spreading right now on social media! Remember to stay calm and keep yourself informed through official sites and trusted media sources.

Basic info sheets in 11 different languages: www.integrationsfond.at

Online questionnaire (by the City of Bern): check your risk of being infected

24/7 access to official and trustworthy information on your mobile phone via WhatsAppinformation service provided by the World Health Organization

Evaluation of risk level of different areas within Austriaofficial map of the COVID-19 traffic light system

Confirmed Corona Virus Cases*

(06/08/2021 8 A.M.)
AGES COVID-19 Dashboard

643,043
total cases to date in Austria (10,383 deaths / 621,536 recovered)
11,124
are currently sick in Austria
40,130
total cases to date in Carinthia (818 deaths / 38,772 recovered)
540
are currently sick in Carinthia

*Please keep in mind that these are only the reported cases - studies (German or English) have shown that there are vastly more cases that go unreported, but which are still fueling the pandemic.

LATEST INFORMATION


    RECENT UPDATES | NATIONAL:

    Here you can find the latest updates regarding COVID-19 in Austria. For general information please take a look at the corresponding section in the FAQ part of the page.

    Protective Measures and Restrictions:

    • UPDATE (05/28/2021): Beginning on June 10th there will be further loosening of restrictions:
       
      • Food service establishments and events may remain open until midnight.
         
      • Food service establishments: Up to 8 adults indoors and 16 outdoors may be seated at one table. The minimum distance is reduced to 1 meter and the 3-G rule still applies for entry.
         
      • Culture and events: Maximum of 1,500 visitors indoors and 3,000 outdoors. The occupancy rate for spaces will be raised from 50% to 75% of the maximum capacity.
         
      • Shops and sport areas: The minimum space requirement is reduced from 20 m² to 10 m² per person.
         
      • Choir and music clubs: no restrictions for people who are vaccinated, recovered or tested
         
      • Traveling: “Pre-Travel-Clearance” - only for entering Austria from countries with high coronavirus numbers and countries with virus variants. Fully occupied longer-distance buses are again allowed. 
         
      • Plans for after July 1st: weddings, birthday parties, etc. will be possible again
         
    • UPDATE (05/28/2021): The Coronavirus traffic light map has been updated: No province is considered a high-risk area anymore.
       
    • On May 19th new coronavirus measures apply in Austria (05/11/2021):
       
        • Private gatherings: The curfew has been lifted, but the minimum distance of 2 meters must still be maintained. From 5 a.m. - 10 p.m. a maximum of 4 adults (plus up to 6 children) may gather together indoors or 10 adults (plus up to 10 children) outdoors. From 10 p.m. - 5 a.m. a maximum of 4 adults (plus up to 6 children) may meet both indoors and outdoors. Large private events such as weddings or birthday parties are still not allowed (the above rules for private gatherings apply). Larger gatherings with up to 50 people must be approved by the authorities and no food and drinks are allowed!
           
        • Food service establishments, tourism, sports & culture: will open in accordance with the “green pass” rules (vaccinated, recovered, or tested)
          • Food service establishments: outdoors: maximum of 10 people at a table; indoors: maximum of 4 adults plus kids. Closing time is 10 p.m. Registration is mandatory and FFP2 masks have to be worn everywhere except when seated.
          • Tourism: See travel section, below.
          • Sport and Recreation: In indoor sports areas (e.g. fitness centers, family spas, public swimming pools, etc.) 20 m² per person has to be ensured. FFP2 masks must be worn except while exercising. For outdoor sports, testing will only be necessary for contact and team sports.
          • Culture and Events: FFP2 masks must be worn everywhere. Indoor events may have a maximum of 1,500 people, outdoor events a maximum of 3,000 people. One seat has to stay empty between separate groups of visitors. The same rules apply for sporting events.
             
        • Schools: On May 17th schools started back to completely normal lessons (full-time, in-person, full classes). However, singing and physical education may only take place outdoors, and masks and regular testing (Monday, Wednesday & Friday) are still mandatory. These test results may be used to gain entry to restaurants, sport clubs, etc. (There will be a special pass for school children and the results will be valid for 48 hours). All remaining school events and trips for this school year are cancelled. 
           
        • Care homes: Daily visits are again possible. 
           
        • Shops: Shops may return to regular opening hours and may now be open until 9 p.m. again.
           
        • Travel: New entry rules will apply based on countries being sorted into one of three categories (details have not yet been released): 
          • safe countries (few cases): no quarantine required, green pass is necessary
          • risk areas: (many cases): only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered may enter Austria; a negative test result and a quarantine will be required for those few people who are exempt from this rule
          • Virus variant countries (currently: South Africa, India, Brazil): continued strict measures: mandatory 10 days quarantine, testing out after 5 days is possible
             
      • Austria’s government plans to introduce a “green passport” for people who have been tested, vaccinated, or who have recovered from COVID-19, which should bring more freedom for these groups of people in terms of attending cultural events or travelling.  The plan is to introduce a smartphone version of this “green passport” with QR code in June. Also, the EU wants to introduce a Europe-wide solution to support travel within the EU by introducing a digital “green certificate” to check tests and vaccinations done in other countries (05/10/2021).
         
        • Vaccines: vaccines are valid beginning on the 22nd day after the first injection and for a maximum of three months, and are valid for nine months after the second dose of the vaccine (for one-shot vaccines like Johnson & Johnson, only one shot is needed for the longer validity).
           
        • Testing: The validity of the test depends on the type of test: PCR test results are valid for 72 hours, antigen tests (such as those done at testing centers and pharmacies) are valid for 48 hours, and home tests (with video and QR code) are valid for 24 hours. Some restaurants and events will offer self tests at the door.
           
        • People who’ve recovered from COVID-19: an official confirmation that you’ve had COVID-19 (“amtlicher Absonderungsbescheid”) is valid for six months, and a positive antibody test is valid for three months

           

      Transportation & Travel Restrictions:

      • UPDATE (05/28/2021): Traveling from Austria to the Czech Republic is possible for vaccinated people beginning May 31st. These people can travel without restrictions. 
         
      • UPDATE (05/19/2021): Entry regulations were adapted on May 19th and again at the beginning of June.
        • Safe countries (3-G rule, no quarantine): For vaccinated, recovered or tested people traveling to Austria from these low-infection-rate countries there is no mandatory quarantine. This applies currently to the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, Czech Republic, etc.
           
        • Virus variation counties (PCR Test and quarantine): Entry into Austria is highly restricted and only possible with a negative PCR test and a mandatory quarantine. These countries include: India, Brazil, and South Africa. 
           
        • Entering Austria from “other countries” (like UK, Russia, Serbia, USA) is only possible in special cases, such as for work purposes. Vaccinated and recovered people don’t have to go into quarantine, but those who only have a negative test result do have to go into quarantine for at least 5 days.
           
      • Crossing the border into Bavaria for the purposes of gathering with friends and family, shopping trips, and other such daily needs, is now possible again (05/11/2021).
         
      • Entry restrictions have been introduced for people coming from India, South Africa and Brazil, while measures have been loosened for those coming for Finland, Italy and Slovakia. (05/02/2021)
         
      • Travelers coming from Finland, Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Vatican City must no longer go into quarantine upon arrival in Austria. (05/02/2021)

      RECENT UPDATES | REGIONAL:

      Here you can find the latest information regarding COVID-19 in Villach/Carinthia. For more general information please have a look at the section “What is the situation in Villach?”

      Restrictions and Protective Measures:

      • UPDATE (05/26/2021): A new online form is available for events and gatherings. If there are more than 11 adults present the gathering must be registered at the local district administration. If there are more than 51 people the gathering/event must be permitted. Please use the following form to register or ask for permission of your gathering.


      Supportive Measures - #WirHaltenZusammen: 

      • UPDATE (05/31/2021): The vaccination site at the Congress Center will be moved to the ASKÖ tennis hall in Warmbad Villach on June 4th. Opening Hours: 8 a.m.-6 p.m., appointments must be made in advance via the online platform! Please note that the regular coronavirus test will still take place in the Congress Center!
         
      • A new testing center has been installed at the Nikolaiplatz in Villach for tourists. Advance registration is not required and it is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
         
      • A new COVID testing center has opened at Villach's Hauptplatz. People can get tested for free (if they have an Austrian social security number) and without an appointment from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. The test result is valid for 48 hours and may be used to enter any business for which you need a negative test result, for example restaurants and coffee shops. If the demand is very high in the first week they may start staying open until 9 p.m (05/18/2021).

      CURRENT SITUATION

      The risk of severe disease associated with a COVID-19 infection for people in the EU/EEA is currently considered moderate for the general population and high for older adults and individuals with chronic underlying conditions. Due to how quickly COVID-19 spreads, serious and significant protective measures to slow its spread were put in place by the Austrian government from March until the end of April. Chancellor Kurz and his administration repeatedly expressed that the highest priority during that time was the protection of the local population as well as workers and guests from around the world, and especially those who seem most severely affected, such as elderly people. The Austrian government called on every single person to do what they could to stop the exponential spread of COVID-19 by reducing social contact to an absolute minimum. As the protective measures were proven effective and helped to reduce the number of COVID-19 infections in Austria, a step-by-step easing of the protective measures was implemented. Now, as the infection rate in Austria is rising again, protective measures have been reinstated or tightened. 

      FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

      WHAT IS THE CORONA TRAFFIC LIGHT SYSTEM?

      The COVID-19 traffic light system is a tool that helps to show the danger of infection by region and helps set adapted protective measures for those areas. It was introduced on September 4th, 2020.

      The different levels of the corona traffic light system are decided based on the region’s rate of infection, the number of conducted tests, a cluster analysis, and resources in the health sector. These numbers are used by the commission to make recommendations on a weekly basis. Thus, the system will be updated at least once a week in order to show the current state of the virus in each of Austria’s regions. Please check out the official corona traffic light map for further information.

      Please be aware that nationwide protective measures supersede the traffic light system regulations. For example, if there is a nationwide measure in place to wear masks in all shops and schools, then this must be done even in "green" districts.

      Special Areas:

      • Kindergartens (08/17/2020):
        • Green: regular Kindergarten; parents should be reachable by digital means; many activities outside
        • Yellow: mouth and nose protection must be used by parents and kindergartners in entry areas; special hygiene concept
        • Orange: no guest teachers; fixed allocation of personnel; no mixing of groups; special arrangements for arrival and pick ups
        • Red: high safety measures; staying at home is allowed in the mandatory kindergarten year
      • Schools (08/17/2020):
        • Green: normal school
        • Yellow: mandatory mouth and nose protection outside the classrooms
        • Orange: no school events; distance learning for pupils between 15 and 19 years
        • Red: emergency mode; distance learning for all schools in the district

      ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS ON ENTERING AND LEAVING CARINTHIA AND/OR AUSTRIA?

      At the moment there are the following restrictions on entering or leaving Austria (09/20/2020 - please check the "Latest Information" section above for the most up-to-date information):

      The leaders of the European Union and Schengen area countries still recommend a great deal of caution around incoming travel. The external borders of the EU were closed until June 30th and European countries have reopened their borders to other countries incrementally, though some are now closing or becoming restricted again due to an increase in infections (9/20/20). On the official Re-open EU website you can find detailed and current information on any travel restrictions that may be in place in EU countries.

      Air traffic has slowly resumed in Austria and there are currently no landing bans. Please be aware that there are still limitations and also that schedules and flights may change at the last minute due to the uncertain situation of the worldwide development of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check the websites of the official country authorities as well as the information provided by the respective travel operator. 

      Limitations are still in place when it comes to travelers coming from or going to other countries within Europe. Citizens or residents of Austria, or citizens or residents of the following countries, may enter Austria from these countries without a negative coronavirus test and without a quarantine, provided they have not been in another country for the past 10 days: Andorra, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain (only the Canary Islands), Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Vatican City (09/20/2020). If a citizen or resident of Austria or one of these countries has been in a “risk area” country in the last 10 days, a current negative PCR test or a 10-day home quarantine is required.  For further information and complete details, please see the Austrian government’s official website (German only).

      Entry into Austria from the following “risk area” countries by Austrian or EU/EEA citizens or permanent residents is allowed only with a current negative PCR test or if you go directly into a 10-day quarantine upon entering Austria: Egypt, Albania, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Iran, Croatia, Kosovo, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Senegal, Serbia, Spain (except the Canary Islands), South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Hubei province (China). Entry into Austria from these countries by anyone else is generally not allowed right now, with the following exceptions: health and care personnel, seasonal agricultural or tourism workers, humanitarian aid workers, or diplomatic personnel. Entry by these people is possible only with a negative PCR test and a 10-day quarantine (which can be ended as soon as a negative PCR test can be shown). Note: Children under the age of seven who travel to Austria from risk areas do not have to take a PCR test. For further information and complete details, please see the Austrian government’s official website (German only).

      A recent directive aims to make commuting more efficient for people who have to frequently travel abroad for their jobs. Entry into Austria will be possible without restrictions for commuters from countries which are considered risk areas, but it will be mandatory to fill out a form in order to enter or travel through Austria. (08/22/2020). Please check the Austrian government’s travel warning page before undertaking any travel abroad!

      The train services of the ÖBB are again operating their transnational services(06/18/2020). Check out the official homepage for information regarding schedules and tickets. Please be also aware that mouth and nose protection are required on public transportation and you will be fined in case of non-compliance.

      In order to get the latest information about current travel restrictions and public transportation, as well as short-term changes, we recommend getting in touch with relevant authorities (Austria or Carinthia) before setting out on your journey.

      © RVT | Adrian Hipp
      Villach's main trainstation

      CAN I USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO TRAVEL AROUND CARINTHIA?

      The regular railway and bus schedule within Austria has been in effect again since May 11th, 2020. Please check the ÖBB rail information site in order to get information about train cancellations. When travelling, please keep in mind that it is mandatory to wear FFP2 masks in all types of public transportation and that you may be charged in case of non-compliance. 

      We will provide information if this situation changes.

      WHAT RESTRICTIONS ARE IMPOSED ON PUBLIC LIFE?

      Measures to combat the spread of the virus have been very effective and over the summer a step-by-step reopening of social life and businesses was implemented (all current updates can be found under "Latest Information" on the top of the page). The government calls on everyone to follow the protective measures that are still in effect, in order to limit the spread of the virus due to the reopening of businesses and social life:    

      • Protective measures, such as mouth and nose protection, keeping distance, etc., are still in effect and are being monitored by the police. Violators may be fined! The Austrian government has announced a second lockdown in Austria, which will start on November 17th. In addition to the current guidelines, the following measures have been (re)introduced and will be in effect through (and including) December 6th (11/14/2020):
        • complete curfew (ban on going out) goes into effect again. There remain only four reasons for leaving your home:
          • to fulfill basic needs (grocery shopping, bank, visiting life partners etc.)
          • to work in jobs that are necessary and cannot be switched to home office.
          • You may leave your home for purposes related to work, which also includes voluntary work (e.g. St. Nicholas).
          • to help other people in need
          • for your psychological and physical well-being (walks, exercise, etc.).
          • You may do outdoor activities with anyone you are allowed to meet with under these regulartions (e.g. close relatives)
        • Contact to closest relatives is allowed, and this includes only parents, children and siblings. Only one member of a household may meet one person from another household at a time. Also close Contact persons may be met. This refers only to people with whom one normally has physical contact with several times a week. Internet acquaintances (e.g. from Tinder) do not count as contact people.
        • Only grocery stories, drug stores, pharmacies, banks, post offices, gas stations, and car service stations will remain open. Due to the current situation, shops must close at 7 p.m. at the latest beginning on November 11th. This doesn’t apply to shops at train stations and gas stations. (11/10/2020) All other shops and businesses must close.
        • Food service establishments must close to all on-site guests (they are still allowed to deliver food and prepare to-go orders)
        • Service businesses, such as hairdressers, etc., must close. Services which cannot ensure a minimum distance (e.g. cutting someone’s hair) are not allowed outside the normal business premises. (for example, hairdressers visiting customers in their homes).
        • Kindergartens, primary schools, and middle schools will close for regular classes and start doing distance learning. Tests are postponed until after the lockdown. Kindergartens and schools (1st-8th grades) will stay open for children who need care.
        • Businesses must switch to home office whenever possible
        • Weapons may only be bought for professional use (e.g. policeofficers, hunters)
        • Cultural, sporting and leisure time activities and events are banned (except funerals and professional sports): this ban includes, for example, leisure time facilities such as indoor pools, cinemas, museums and zoos, fitness centers, contact sports, sport events with audiences, as well as other events and celebrations such as weddings or birthday parties
        • Hotels and other overnight accommodations must close to most guests (excluded are travelers doing necessary business)
        • The government is now also empowered to intervene to shut down private gatherings held on one’s property, but only outside of the living space (this means, for example, gatherings held in garages, sheds, outbuildings, basements, etc.)
        • Financial Support:
          • Financial aid package: business which must close will receive from the government 80% of the revenue they reported for the same period last year)
          • Short-time work will be extended
      • Mouth and nose protection is now mandatory in all closed public rooms (all shops, businesses, and offices, in addition to supermarkets, public transportation, pharmacies, and banks etc.). Face shields are forbidden as an alternative to mouth and nose masks, as they have been proven by recent studies (09/26/2020) to be less effective at preventing the spread of the virus via aerosoles. (10/22/2020) FFP2 masks Starting on January 25th FFP2 masks will be required in shops, markets and in service businesses, in administrative agencies and courts, when picking up take-away food, in lobbies of accommodation providers, public transportation and during carpooling. No other masks will be accepted! They provide better protection compared to cloth or surgical masks, but only if they don’t have a valve. The ones with valves only protect you, not other people. Thus, the government requests that everyone use the ones without the valve. FFP2 masks must be worn by people older than 14. Pregnant women and people who cannot wear the masks because of health reasons are excluded from the rule.(01/18/2021) Masks marked with “KN95” may be used as FFP2 masks as long as they have been tested and approved in Europe, which means they must fulfill at least two of the following criteria: designation as a FFP2 mask; CE mark; EN standard; or the four-digit number of the testing institute. (01/25/2021) Mandatory mouth and nose protection is now in effect at work places where the minimum distance cannot be ensured. Furthermore, provinces may impose mandatory wearing of masks outdoors (e.g. when there are bigger gatherings of people) (12/11/2020)
      • Minimum distance to be kept between people has been extended to 2 meters (01/17/2021)
      • In terms of demonstrations, a mouth and nose protection is mandatory when a minimum distance of one meter cannot be ensured. Furthermore, demonstrators should use more streets to march along and make use of further locations to plan for alternatives in case there are too many people in one place. (06/08/2020)
      Welcome2Villach Zitat

      All measures that are important to protect others - like mouth and nose protection in public places and hand hygiene - will remain an inherent part of our social coexistence.

      • Due to the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, night clubs and bars will remain closed for the foreseeable future. (07/16/2020)
      • In hospitals the number of visitors has been limited. Only one visit per week per patient is allowed in hospitals and in retirement homes and care homes. Weekly testing of all employees is planned. Kids may be accompanied by two adults, whereas pregnant women may be accompanied by one person. (11/17/2020) Stricter measures apply to retirement and care homes: employees and visitors must wear FFP2 masks; personnel and residents must get tested twice a week; all visitors need a negative COVID test in order to enter the buildings. (12/17/2020)
      • Visiting prisoners is allowed, but visitors must follow strict rules and hygiene practices. Please contact the prison itself beforehand to ensure a smooth visit.
      • Public worship services will not take place. Churches will stay open for the personal prayer. (11/14/2020)
      • Employers must allow employees to telecommute (work from home) when possible, but working from home will remain voluntary. Also, tax relief will be possible and employees will still have accident insurance. (01/28/2021)People belonging to vulnerable groups (04/22/2020) will be notified by a letter by their health insurance, which patients should take to their general practitioner (nobody is obligated to go to the doctor in person!) to get a medical certificate. This certificate should be given to the employer to make one of three possible protective measures effective:
        • special protection at the workspace (own office, etc.)
        • home office or
        • paid leave of absence
      • Pregnant women may take a paid leave of absence from jobs that involve a lot of contact with other people (Kindergarten teachers, physical therapists, etc.) starting in the middle of December. Employers will be reimbursed for related salary costs. (11/26/2020)
      • School has started normally and the plan is that any restrictions will only be imposed if necessary, based on the traffic light system (see above). The government has called on parents and legal guardians to watch out for possible coronavirus symptoms and, when in doubt, to keep kids home from school. (09/20/2020) The centralized school leaving examinations (Zentralmatura) will start on May 20, 2021. (11/27/2020)
      • Practical driving tests and driving lessons are allowed despite the lockdown. (01/25/2021)
      • “Sonderbetreuungszeit,” the measure that was introduced in order to help parents with childcare when schools and kindergartens are closed, has been extended to four weeks, instead of three. People who receive this no longer have to get the authorization from their employer. The full amount will be paid by the government. The new rules apply until the end of the 2020/21 school year. (11/06/2020)
      • Beginning November 2nd (through March 2021) it is again possible to call in sick to work by telephone. (10/30/2020)
      • The Austrian government has agreed on a new coronavirus law in order to have clear rules in terms of policy around the virus (including guidelines about when a lockdown should be legally valid and what kind of bans on going out are tolerable, as well as how the corona traffic light system works).(09/23/2020)
      • Masks, gloves, and other protective measures such as plexiglass walls have been installed in order to protect employees of supermarkets and shops (03/20/2020). Furthermore, floor markings have been put in place and stores will limit how many people are in the store at once, in order to ensure that everyone can remain far enough away from each other! Also, PIN-free contactless payment for amounts up to €50 has been introduced (04/02/2020)
      • Antigen tests are now available at general practitioners. They are faster and cheaper than PCR tests but less precise. (10/21/2020)
      • The flu vaccine is being offered for free for children this year in order to encourage its use so that the situation in hospitals remains stable. (09/21/2020)
      • The Austrian government has increased the number of COVID-19 tests per day. Also, target group testing for healthcare workers, employees working in sales and commerce, as well as retirement home and nursing home workers and residents is conducted. (04/16/2020) Furthermore, COVID-19 tests are conducted among employees in the tourism sector (05/25/2020) Starting on September 1st the free COVID-19 testing program in the tourism sector has been extended to include employees in food service, at campsites, and in youth hostels. (08/27/2020) The government plans to start voluntary mass testing on December 5th. The first group is planned to be teachers and child carers, followed by police officers. Comprehensive testing for the general population is planned for the period before Christmas. (11/20/2020)
      • The strategy for voluntary vaccination against the coronavirus has been presented by the government. Two vaccine doses per person are necessary. (25/11/2020)
        • 1st phase (January/February): inhabitants of and employees in retirement and care homes; health personnel; high risk groups
        • 2nd phase (March/April): Elderly people and essential employees (policemen, teachers, etc.)
        • 3rd phase (2nd quarter of the year): the general population; the aim is a  vaccination coverage rate of 50%
        Austria’s provinces are now in charge of the organization of the vaccine service in the respective area. The federal government will only provide the provinces with vaccines. (01/08/2021)

      Please be cautious of the numerous fake news articles on social media and stay informed through official and trustworthy sites.

      WHAT IS THE SITUATION IN VILLACH?

      Actions have also been taken in Villach due to the coronavirus. All current updates can be found under "Latest Information" on the top of the page or at www.villach.at/corona (German only!):

      Protective Measures and Restrictions:

      • With January 16th the vaccine service against COVID-19 for inhabitants 80 or plus will get started. All people born 1941 or earlier will receive a letter with all the important information. (01/11/2021)
      • Villach’s city hall has new opening hours and is only open for absolutely essential busines (11/17/2020)
      • Mouth and nose protection is mandatory at the weekly market (Wochenmarkt), the specialties market (Spezialitätenmarkt) and the organic farmers' market (Biobauernmarkt). (08/09/2020)
      • Vaccinations at the Department of Health in Villach are being offered. The service is provided on Tuesdays and Thursdays and only for patients who have made arrangements via telephone (4242 / 205-2517). There will still not be any private health certificates and screenings done! (They will be only conducted in case of suspected cases.) (06/16/2020)
         

      Supportive Measures - #WirHaltenZusammen:

      • The City of Villach has waived municipal administration fees (Gemeindeverwaltungsabgaben) for applications through businesses for those who had to apply due to the COVID-19 crisis. (11/18/2020)
      • Organized buying help has been reintroduced in Villach. Volunteers go grocery shopping, etc. for vulnerable groups and people who can’t do it themselves. The service is available Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. - call 0664 60 205 3030 for more information. (11/03/2020)
      • The City of Villach has agreed on further supportive measures (11/03/2020):
        • The Corona telephone counselling service at the number 04242 205 3040 has been reintroduced for the third lockdown, which is open daily from 3-5 p.m. (12/29/2020).
        • Due to the closing of food service establishments, the fee for operating pub gardens is rescinded through the end of the year.
        • The weekly market and organic farmers’ market continue to take place under protective measures (e.g. mouth and nose protection in the market hall as well as in outdoor areas) UPDATE (11/28/2020) Market stand fees have been waived for producers.
        • The city hall remains open and services are available, but please also make use of online services when possible. If you have to go there personally, please don’t forget to make an appointment in advance.
        • Soldiers are helping the city’s health authority with contact tracing.
      • The City of Villach has announced a third Corona aid package, which, in addition to the free enlargement of pub gardens and artist support, includes special tariffs for the special use (Sondernutzung) of public and private goods of the City of Villach. The tariffs are reduced up to 50% for entrepreneurs, and the remission of charges for artists was extended until the end of the year (09/26/2020)
      • The City of Villach has extended the free enlargement of pub gardens until March 2021 in order to ensure minimum distance between different groups of guests. Also, the free use of the small and large Bamberger Halls (Bambergersaal) and the Paracelsus Hall in the City Hall, as well as of various cultural and educational centers (namely Volkshäuser), by artists on specific dates has been extended until spring 2021 (09/03/2020)
      • For questions and answers about COVID-19, call the Carinthia Corona Hotline: 050 536 53003 (Mon - Fri from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.)
      • The City of Villach has created a combined application form for collection of taxes (Abgabenerhebung), installment payments (Ratenzahlung) and deferments of payments (Stundung) in order to unbureaucratically support businesses and companies that face delays in payments and liquidity shortages. It is only valid for due dates starting on March 1st and applies to people who can prove that their liquidity shortage is due to the Corona crisis.
      • Villach is publishing its city newspaper onlineincluding a lot of COVID-19-related information (only in German) (03/29/2020)
      • Everyone being confined at home during this time may cause an increase in domestic violence. If you face physical or mental abuse in your home or feel threatened by your partner, don’t hesitate to get help from the Women’s Center (Frauenhaus) at 04242 310 31, the women’s helpline at 0800 222 555 (24 hours a day), or from the violence protection center at 0463 590 290! Also, the Frauenhaus Villach is still open and may install temporary quarters if needed (03/25/2020)
      • If you have a relative who receives 24 hour care at home but is now experiencing gaps in care due to border closures, you can find help at Villach’s care emergency (“Pflege-Notruf”) phone number 04242 205 38 37 (Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-12 p.m.). (03/24/2020)
      • The new initiative of Land Kärnten, “Dås Påck Ma,” helps you support regional businesses by ordering their products online (03/23/2020)
      • If you want to participate in voluntary aid programs, check out the following initiatives (information in German only):
      • The province government of Carinthia, Land Kärnten, has a webpage with press releases, including all the current information about COVID-19 in the province (only in Germany).
      © RVT | Michael Stabentheiner
      View onto Villach's downtown

      WHAT KIND OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT IS THERE?

      Businesses and private individuals:

      The national government provides a “Corona Crisis Fund” worth €38 billion for businesses (03/19/2020), in order to support employers and save jobs:

      • €4 billion for an emergency aid package (announced 03/14/2020)
      • €9 billion for loan guarantees
      • €15 billion for the sectors of the economy that are especially hard hit
      • €10 billion for tax deferments
      • UPDATES:
        • The “Härtefallfond” (serious hardship fund) for sole proprietor businesses and small business owners was raised to €2 billion (04/01/2020)
        • The financial support for short-time working has been increased by the government to €10 billion (04/30/2020)

      Also, your electricity, water, and heat will not get cut off in case of delayed payments! This exception for private homes and small business customers will be in effect until the end of June. (05/01/2020) People who can’t afford to pay their housing rent due to the corona crisis are safe from eviction or cancellation of the housing contract. This renter protection applies to the period from April 1st till June 30th. Renters will have until December 31st to pay their back rent (04/02/2020). Furthermore, there is a lot of support for families: An additional €30 million of the Familienlastenausgleichsfonds (family expenses compensation fund) will be provided for families in need due to the Coronavirus crisis (04/09/2020). In addition, the Austrian government plans a one-time payment of €450 for unemployed people and a family bonus of €360 per child. Furthermore, the lowest income tax rate is planned to be reduced from 25 to 20%. (06/14/2020) Also, the government is providing up to 12,000 laptops and tablets for pupils from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and hard hit families who do not have devices for distance learning at home. These will be given out at the end of April and can be borrowed until the end of the school year (04/09/2020) There might also be other institutions which can provide additional support during the Corona crisis: e.g. especially hard hit students (who lost their jobs and aren’t entitled to receive unemployment benefits) might apply for support of the social funds of the ÖH (Austrian National Union of Students federal body of Representatives). A general refund of tuition fees for students is not planned. In individual cases refunds might be possible if university services were clearly not received (05/07/2020)

      The Ministry of Finance has started its own hotline at 050/233770 for all economic questions regarding the Coronavirus crisis (emergency funds, tax deferments, deadline extensions, etc.). On their website you can also find a collection of frequently asked questions. (04/19/2020)

      Moreover, regional governments might have introduced additional financial support, like the social and economic “Corona Aid Package” of the City of Villach, which involves measures to support and take pressure off businesses, employers, and employees, in addition to the federal aid package (03/19/2020). The City of Villach has also decided on a reduced fee for the time when the protective measures are in place for those families who still need their child(ren) to go to kindergarten or daycare. Only the first half of March will need to be paid and then the fees will be waived until after Easter. Parents do not have to pay the normal fee when their kids stay at home during this time. (03/25/2020)

      For more information please contact the responsible authorities (e.g. WKO) or check out their homepage (only German).

      Recent Developments:

      • The Austrian government announced another € 22 million investment to go towards research to find medication against COVID-19 (03/21/2020). Also, €100 million was allocated by the government to prevent shortages of 24 hour, stationary, and mobile care (03/26/2020).
      • A financial aid package in the amount of €500 million is planned to support food service establishments. One part of the package includes a tax reduction for non-alcoholic beverages. (05/10/2020) 
      • An aid package for (freelance) artists of €90 million was agreed upon by the government. (05/29/2020)
      • Starting on May 20th businesses that were severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis (a minimum of 40% loss of revenue) may apply for a fixed costs grant. The government of Austria will cover a maximum of 75% of the business overhead costs for the maximum duration of three months. (05/20/2020)
      • An aid package of €700 million is planned for non-profit organizations (art clubs, sport clubs, and social service organizations) (05/13/2020)
      • As a support for businesses as well as apprentices the Austrian government will provide a financial bonus (maximum of €2,000) for businesses who have hired or will hire apprentices in the time period March 16th to October 31st (05/31/2020)
      • The sales tax for culture, gastronomy, and media will be reduced to 5% from July 1st until the end of 2020, as a support for these industries. (06/12/2020)
      • The coronavirus short-time work will be expanded for six more months. The remastered model will start on October 1st and includes an increase of the minimum working time to 30%. The income will still encompass 80-90% of the regular salary. (07/29/2020)
      • The Austrian Ombudsman Board (Volksanwaltschaft) is offering help to people who have paid fines for unlawful coronavirus protective measures. (07/24/2020)
      • As the event sector has been severely affected by the Corona crisis, the Austrian government has announced that it will allocate €300 million in support of this sector beginning in November: when planned events must be cancelled, costs which cannot be recovered will be reimbursed by the government. (09/25/2020)
      • Starting on February 15th businesses who test their employees, their employees’ relatives, and/or inhabitants of the respective municipality will get €10 reimbursement per test. Businesses may register for this at the “Wirtschaftskammer” (Austrian Economic Chambers). (02/05/2021)
      • The budget for the coronavirus short-time work scheme was raised from €5 to €7 billion. (01/26/2021)
      • Financial support for businesses continues to be provided. Besides the so-called “Fixkostenzuschuss” and the “Verlustersatz”, an “Ausfallbonus” will be introduced, through which people can apply for up to 30% of the revenue of a comparable period in 2019, with a maximum of €60,000 per month. Businesses that lost more than 40% of their turnover are entitled to apply. (01/17/2021)

      CAN I CANCEL MY BOOKED HOLIDAY IN CARINTHIA BECAUSE OF COVID-19?

      There are currently only a few confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Carinthia. Hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities have reopened under safety measures. If you are coming from another country, please check the information provided by your home country government and embassies in Austria that might share more detailed travel information (for example, the US embassy). However, if you decide not to travel to Carinthia even if you have already booked your holiday, please check with your travel provider, accommodation, or travel insurance agent directly regarding possibilities of a refund. If you need more information regarding travel law, contact the free hotline of the Association for Consumer Information (VKI) 0800 201 211.

      I HAVE BOOKED A HOLIDAY OUTSIDE OF AUSTRIA. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

      The unpredictability of the spread of COVID-19 has led to tense situations worldwide. Travelers should check travel warnings and travel provider websites (like the one from the Vienna Airport) frequently. It is, however, important to know that as increased restrictions in air and travel traffic have been imposed, the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs has strongly recommended against taking unnecessary trips.

      © Federal Ministry Republic of Austria
      Coronavirus Hotline

      HOW DANGEROUS IS COVID-19?

      Unfortunately, this is not yet very clear. So far we know that it affects elderly people and those with weakened immune systems and pre-existing conditions quite severely. It does not appear to affect most children very much at all.

      WHAT ARE TYPICAL SYMPTOMS OF A COVID-19 INFECTION?

      It can be difficult to tell the difference between this coronavirus, a cold, and the flu, and the vast majority of people so far have had quite mild cases of COVID-19.

      Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

      • fever
      • cough
      • sore throat
      • shortness of breath
      • difficulty in breathing
      • In severe cases, the infection can lead to severe acute respiratory syndrome, pneumonia, kidney failure and may even cause death. 
         

      It’s important to note that sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, and headaches are not normally symptoms of coronavirus.

      HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM GETTING INFECTED?

      The Austrian Ministry for Social Affairs provides recommendations for protecting yourself against COVID-19. It is recommended that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds several times a day with soap or an alcohol-based disinfectant; greet people with a smile instead of a hug, kiss, or a handshake; avoid direct contact with people showing symptoms of illness; if you have to cough, cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue instead of using your hands; try to avoid touching your face. 

      To add a little fun to all these recommendations, as well as learn how to properly wash your hands to really get rid of germs, you can create your own hand washing instructions accompanied by your favourite song!

      © Österreichisches Rotes Kreuz
      Graphics of the red cross to prevent the spreading of COVID-19

      WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE BECOME INFECTED?

      If you notice symptoms or believe you have been infected, it is extremely important to avoid all social contact with others! Do not go to public spaces, do not use public transportation, and do not go to the doctor or the hospital unless it is a true emergency. Please isolate yourself in your home and call the Austrian health service hotline at 1450. From them you will receive further instructions on how to proceed.

      If you are unsure, you can also do a self-check by answering a questionnaire online.  

      WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?

      For further information please check out the following links and the links provided above in the text for the most important websites providing information in English.

      I WANT TO STAY UP-TO-DATE ABOUT THE LATEST NEWS IN AUSTRIA, BUT I HAVE DIFFICULTIES FOLLOWING THE TV OR RADIO BROADCASTS. WHAT CAN I DO?

      There is a learning app called uugot.it (for Android or the Webapp for iOS and desktop) in its early test phase. It provides the latest ORF videos about COVID-19 with German subtitles and the option to translate single words into different languages. You can find further information on the official website.

      DISCLAIMER:

      We have done our best to ensure that this information is complete and that the most important news is present in this post. Nevertheless, we do not assume responsibility for everything being perfectly up-to-date and complete at all times. We will do our utmost to update it as often as we can! (And please send us a message through our Facebook page if you see something incomplete or outdated!)

      In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!