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COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Carinthia: Current Info & FAQ

Stefanie Kaiser & Nessa Dertnig

Author
2020-03-13

Coronavirus Info Hub with relevant data collected from different online sources

Last updated: 07/23/2020, 10:45 p.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.

If you need information in any other language than English, you can download basic info sheets in 11 different languages at www.integrationsfond.at.

You can also check your risk of being infected by answering an online questionnaire provided by the City of Bern. 

A new and free information service provided by the World Health Organization gives you 24/7 access to official and trustworthy information on your mobile phone via WhatsApp. This super simple system can help you learn more about COVID-19 and current infection rates, how to protect yourself, and get answers to FAQs. 

Current leaflets from the city of Villach

Latest information

CONFIRMED CORONAVIRUS CASES (07/23/2020, 10:30 p.m.):

20,140 total cases to date in Austria (686 deaths / 17,943 recovered) | 452 in Carinthia - Right now only 1,445 people are currently sick in Austria, and 15 in Carinthia. Please keep in mind that these are only the reported cases - recent studies (German or English) have shown that there are vastly more cases that go unreported, but which are still fueling the pandemic.

RECENT UPDATES | REGIONAL:

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

Protective Measures and Restrictions:

  • UPDATE (07/23/2020): There will be more frequent monitoring of Villach’s restaurants, cafés, bars, etc., over the next few weeks, as many food service establishments celebrate a smaller version of the annual Villacher Kirchtag. Compliance with protective measures will be checked and if too many violations are found it is possible that wearing mouth and nose protection will again become mandatory, and even that a ban on alcohol may go into effect.
  • The city of Villach and the police department are working together on a three-stage COVID-19 monitoring system for food establishments, which includes education and information, any necessary interventions, and finally, constraints by legal regulations. (07/15/2020)
  • In Carinthia’s tourism hot spots it is now mandatory again to wear mouth and nose protection in public places. This applies to Velden and other tourism hot spots around the Wörthersee, Faaker See, and Klopeiner See. (07/08/2020) UPDATE (07/16/2020): In Wolfsberg it is now again mandatory to wear mouth and nose protection in public places on weekends from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m.

RECENT UPDATES | NATIONAL:

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

Protective Measures and Restrictions:

  • UPDATE (07/23/2020): The recently reintroduced requirement to wear mouth and nose protection also applies while visiting hospitals, care homes, and sanatoriums, as well as in gas station shops.
  • UPDATE (07/22/2020): Beginning July 24th it is again mandatory to wear mouth and nose protection in supermarkets, banks, and post offices!
  • Beginning at the end of August, it will again be required to get an official confirmation from a doctor in order to take a sick day from work. (07/20/2020)
  • Due to the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, night clubs and bars will remain closed for the foreseeable future. (07/16/2020)
  • In Upper Austria it is again mandatory to wear mouth and nose protection in all public places (e.g. in shops and restaurants) due to increased COVID-19 cases. (07/07/2020)

Transportation & Travel Restrictions: 

  • UPDATE (07/23/2020): Currently, only people who are Austrian citizens or who are permanently resident in Austria may enter Austria from countries considered high risk. Additionally, those people who may enter Austria from one of those countries must provide proof of a negative PCR test and also go into quarantine for 14 days upon entry.
  • UPDATE (07/22/2020): Stricter entry requirements into Austria from risk areas, such as the Balkan countries of Albania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro, have been reinstated. Starting on July 24th a negative coronavirus test done by a certified laboratory will be required in order to enter, and a mandatory 14-day quarantine is required (even with a negative PCR test). Austrian citizens and people with their official residence in Austria may be allowed to hand in the medical certificate 48 hours after entering Austria.
  • Beginning on July 16th restrictions on incoming flights from 18 COVID-19 risk areas will take effect. This applies to the following countries: Egypt, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, United Kingdom, Iran, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, Republic of Moldau, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Serbia, and Ukraine. There will be exceptions made when it is in Austria’s best interest, including care personnel. (07/15/2020)
  • Austria has announced the highest level travel warning for Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Kosovo (07/01/2020) as well as for Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldavia (07/08/2020) due to COVID-19.

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. Now, 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 is being implemented.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why has the government set these severe protective measures?

Without a complete societal shutdown we cannot stop the spread of this coronavirus. However, by limiting our social contact we can definitely slow its spread, which will ensure that hospitals and health services have time to prepare so they are ready when more people do get sick, and do not get overwhelmed with too many patients at once. These measures also help to prevent the exponential growth of the virus (see graphics) and in turn, are necessary to protect the groups who seem to be most severely affected by this disease, namely elderly people and those with pre-existing health conditions. Everybody carries responsibility, so let’s work together! If you have further questions, you can call the coronavirus info service hotline of AGES at 0800 555621.

Check out the video below to see what flattening the curve really means:

Are there restrictions on entering and leaving Carinthia and/or Austria?

At the moment there are the following restrictions on entering or leaving Austria (23/07/2020 - 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 plan to reopen their borders to other countries incrementally. On the official website of the European Union you can find a list of non-EU countries for which the member states of the EU plan to gradually lift the travel restrictions (07/23/2020).

Air traffic has slowly resumed in Austria. 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 world wide 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. UPDATE: Beginning on July 16th restrictions on incoming flights from 18 COVID-19 risk areas are in effect. This applies to the following countries: Egypt, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, United Kingdom, Iran, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, Republic of Moldau, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Serbia, and Ukraine. There will be exceptions made when it is in Austria’s best interest, including for care personnel. (07/15/2020)

Limitations are also in place when it comes to travelers coming from or going to other countries within Europe. Citizens or residents of Austria, or of the following 30 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 14 days: Andorra, Belgium, Croatia, 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, Switzerland, & Vatican City (07/23/2020). However, there are still strict entry requirements into Austria from risk areas. The Austrian government has announced the highest level travel warning for the following European countries: Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Kosovo (07/01/2020) as well as for Romania, Bulgaria, Moldava (07/08/2020), Sweden, and the UK due to COVID-19. Starting on July 24th a negative coronavirus test done by a certified laboratory is required in order to enter Austria from these countries, and a mandatory 14-day quarantine is also required (even with a negative PCR test). Austrian citizens and people with their official residence in Austria may be allowed to hand in the medical certificate up to 48 hours after entering Austria from these countries. (07/22/2020). Please check the Austrian government’s travel warning page before undertaking any travel abroad!

As the borders to nearby countries are now open, the train services of the ÖBB have restarted their transnational services. Check out the official homepage for information regarding schedules and tickets. (06/18/2020) Please be also aware that mouth and nose protection are required on public transportation and 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.

Villach Main Station (c) MSPhoto

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 (05/04/2020). 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 mouth and nose protection 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 thus a step-by-step reopening of social life and businesses has been 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!
    • As of May 1st, the general ban on going out is no longer in effect, but a minimum distance of one meter should be kept between people not living in the same household (04/28/2020).
    • Wearing mouth and nose protection is now mandatory nationwide in the following areas (07/22/2020):
      • banks, post offices, and all food shops (including gas station shops)
      • while using public transportation
      • doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and elsewhere in the healthcare sector
      • in service situations where maintaining a meter distance from others is not possible (e.g. at the hairdressers, for service staff in restaurants, etc.)
    • In Upper Austria it is again mandatory to wear mouth and nose protection in all public places (e.g. in shops and restaurants) due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. (07/07/2020)
    • 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)
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.
  • The following establishments have been reopened during the step-by-step easing of protective measures:
    • Building supply centers, garden centers, car wash businesses, bicycle repair shops, pawnshops, and precious metal trade shops (April 14th)
    • all shops, shopping centers, and hairdressers as well as other smaller service providers (May 1st)
    • Driving schools, outdoor sports facilities, museums, libraries, and archives (May 15th)
    • Leisure facilities (fairgrounds, amusement and theme parks, indoor playgrounds, paintball facilities, betting shops, casinos, ropes courses), fitness centers, hotels, public swimming pools and lakes (May 29th)
  • Food service establishments and cafés were allowed to reopen on May 15th, though their opening hours must be between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. There is no longer a limit on the number of people per table, but a minimum distance of one meter between the different groups of guests should be ensured. Reserving in advance is recommended. (05/29/2020) Though the mandatory closing time for food service establishments is still normally in effect, it is no longer in effect for private events of up to 100 people. (06/29/2020)
  • Hotels and other accommodation providers: Buffets may be offered under strict hygienic conditions (wearing of protective gloves, disinfectant dispensers, and single use cutlery). In wellness areas the same rules apply as for public pools. Also, seminars up to 100 participants can be organized. In the entry areas and the reception, as well as at seminars, keeping a minimum distance as well as wearing mouth and nose protection is mandatory. (05/19/2020)
  • Due to the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, night clubs and bars will remain closed for the foreseeable future. (07/16/2020)
  • The easing of the restrictive measures also impacts regulations on public events:
    • Weddings and funerals with up to 100 guests are allowed again (05/27/2020)
    • Trainings and educational events with up to 100 participants are allowed again (05/20/2020)
    • Larger events and music festivals are banned until the end of August. (04/16/2020). It’s planned that bigger events (indoors up to 5,000 and outdoors up to 10,000 people) may take place again in September, depending on further developments. Reserved seating will be required. (06/29/2020)
    • The easing of protective measures also impacts cultural events (05/25/2020). Starting July 1st indoor events with up to 250 people and outdoor events with up to 500 people will be allowed, and cinemas can also reopen. As of August 1st indoor events with up to 500 people will be allowed and under severe safety regulations also indoor events up to 1000 people. In terms of outdoor events, events with 750 people will be allowed starting on August 1st, and with special permission, events up to 1250 people. The following rules apply:
      • If more than 100 people participate in an event, there has to be assigned seating.
      • A one meter minimum distance between guests has to be guaranteed, or there must be one empty seat between people.
      • If the minimum distance can’t be guaranteed masks must be worn
      • Outdoors, no mouth and nose protection has to be worn
  • Visitors in hospitals as well as in care homes for elderly and care-dependent people are allowed again under severe safety measures. These include the wearing of mouth and nose protection, keeping minimum distance, and allowing only one visitor per room at a time. (05/30/2020)
  • Visits to prisons have been allowed again since May 11th (04/28/2020)
  • Worship services and religious celebrations have been allowed again beginning May 15th.
  • University entrance exams with more than 200 participants (such as the entrance exams for medical school) must be postponed until after the 1st of August. If possible, the exams for medical school will take place at the earliest on August 14th. (05/07/2020)
  • Employers must allow employees to telecommute (work from home) when possible. 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
  • Beginning at the end of August, it will again be required to get an official confirmation from a doctor in order to take a sick day from work. (07/20/2020)
  • 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)
  • The Austrian government plans to increase the number of COVID-19 tests per day to 150,000 (03/25/2020). Is it planned to undertake target group testing for healthcare workers, employees working in sales and commerce, as well as retirement home and nursing home workers and residents. (04/16/2020) Also, the Coronavirus testing experiment has proved that far more people have been infected with COVID-19 then has been reported, thus the number of unknown cases is high. Out of 1,544 randomly tested people, 0.32% tested positive. This result implies that there were approximately 28,500 infected people at the beginning of April in Austria - but it has to be mentioned that the estimated range is wide, ranging between 10,200 and 67,400 people (04/10/2020). Furthermore, COVID-19 tests will be conducted among employees in the tourism sector. This comprehensive and preventive testing in order to guarantee safety of tourists and employees will start in five pilot regions, namely Montafon (Vorarlberg), Wilder Kaiser (Tyrol), Wachau ( Lower Austria), Spielberg (Styria), and Wörthersee (Carinthia) (05/25/2020)

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:

  • Vaccinations at the Department of Health in Villach are allowed again. 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)
  • In Villach the following Strandbäder (public swimming pools and lakes) have reopened with eased protective measures (limited number of guests, minimum distance of one meter, etc.): The Panorama Beach at Lake Faaker See (former: Strandbad Drobollach), the “Tschebull-Bad” in Egg (Faaker See), the Strandbad Egg, the Seebad St. Andrä at Lake Ossiacher See, the lake entry area at the Lake Vassacher See and at Lake Magdalenersee as well as Silbersee. (05/29/2020)
  • The regular parking regulations with parking fees in Villach’s short-term parking zones are in effect again (05/27/2020).
  • Kindergartens in Carinthia reopened without restrictions on May 18th. It is also planned that child care will be ensured during the summer. (05/13/2020)
  • Visits in KABEG hospitals are possible again under strict safety measures. Visitors have to call to get an appointment, and only one visitor per patient and timeslot is allowed. (05/13/2020)
  • Cineplexx and Kletterhalle Villach have reopened under safety measures
  • Public parks, green spaces, the grill area on the Gail and the Villacher Alpenstraße have been reopened as well as the Wasenboden recreational area and its sports area  
  • TIER e-scooters may now be used again and are placed at their regular parking sites (05/05/2020)
  • The recycling yard (Altstoffsammelzentrum) and the Stadttankstelle (gas station) have reintroduced their regular opening hours (05/04/2020)
  • Villach’s playgrounds reopened on May 1st (04/28/2020)
  • As all large events are prohibited until the end of August, Villacher Kirchtag is also affected and has been officially cancelled. An autumn feast as an alternative is in discussion at the moment (04/17/2020) 
  • Due to the nationwide easing of protective measures on April 14th, the city of Villach has also adapted its measures. Please be aware that the rules for behavior in public (keeping distance, wearing masks, etc.) are still in effect and binding! (04/14/2020)
  • For the protection of the people, strict monitoring of quarantines and groups of pedestrians in Villach is happening (03/18/2020) :
    • Rigorous checks on the compliance of voluntary home quarantine are being conducted!
    • The distance between people in grocery stores is being monitored. 
    • Fines will be imposed in case of violation!
  • The following events have been postponed:
    • The Honky-Tonk-Festival has been postponed until October 10th
    • The Josh. concert will now happen on November 7th
  • V-Club is still closed

Supportive Measures - #WirHaltenZusammen:

  • Villach’s city government has decided to create a second Coronavirus aid package with a total amount of €500,000. It particularly aims to support entrepreneurs, food service businesses, cultural operators, and students. The following initiatives are included in the package (05/01/2020):
    • Free pub gardens: Until the end of August, no tariffs have to be paid for pub gardens. In addition, the used areas may be extended if legally possible.
    • Security deposit aid: A security deposit fund of €200,000 was created for people who can’t afford the deposit at the moment but don’t receive help by other initiatives. 
    • Aid for cultural operators: In order to support artists and other cultural operators, the city of Villach is providing the small and the big Bambergersaal and the Paracelsussal in the town hall free of charge (dependent on availability). Also, Volkshäuser (social, cultural and education centres) may be used without charge.
    • Aid for pupils: To support distance learning, the city of Villach and Infineon are providing 100 laptops for pupils who can’t afford one
    • Aid for leaseholders of public swimming pools and lakes: Until further notice, rent does not have to be paid.
  • In order to give support for filling in digital applications, a free help hotline for seniors has been created at 050 477 7100 (05/07/2020)
  • Villach’s Coronavirus Hotline (04242 205 3040) has changed its operating hours to Mon-Fri 4-9 p.m. & Sat-Sun 3-7 p.m. (04/30/2020)  
  • 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 online, including a lot of COVID-19-related information (only in German) (03/29/2020)
  • For those families who still need their child(ren) to go to kindergarten or daycare, the City of Villach has decided on a reduced fee for the time when the protective measures are in place. Only the first half of March will need to be paid and then the fees will be waived until after Easter. It is recommended that parents do not officially withdraw their child(ren) from kindergartens or daycare, as their place in that facility is then not assured anymore, but parents do not have to pay the normal fee when their kids stay at home during this time. (03/25/2020)
  • 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, 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)
  • 50 emergency beds have been set up by the Red Cross in the Stadthalle Villach as an emergency clinic for milder COVID-19 cases (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)
  • If you face a personal crisis due to the COVID-19 situation, you can call Villach’s Corona telephone counselling service number at 04242 305 3040 (3-9 p.m.) for consultation and help (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 created a page with a complete overview about the current COVID-19 situation in Carinthia (only in German) 
  • The social and economic “Corona Aid Package” of the City of Villach involves measures to support and take pressure off businesses, employers, and employees (this is in addition to the federal aid package) (03/19/2020)
  • The Biobauernmarkt (organic farmers market) and the Villacher Wochenmarkt (weekly market) remain open on their regular days and times 
  • “Organized Buying Help” by the City of Villach at 0664 60 205 3030, for all those who need help (e.g. people in high-risk groups). Information about important purchases will be received by employees of Stadtmarketing and forwarded to volunteers, who will do the shopping and delivery 
  • “Essen auf Räder” (meals on wheels) will remain available while adhering to special safety measures


Villach Old Town (c) Stabentheiner

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).

Others:

  • 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)

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.

Coronavirus Hotline (c) Federal Ministry Republic of Austria

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!

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!

 

PS: And here’s someone you should really listen to. ;-)

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