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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: 03/02/2021, 7:30 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 WhatsApp: information service provided by the World Health Organization

Evaluation of risk level of different areas within Austria: official map of the COVID-19 traffic light system

Latest information

CONFIRMED CORONAVIRUS CASES (03/02/2021 7:30 a.m.):

457,260 total cases to date in Austria (8,439 deaths / 420,402 recovered) | 29,366 in Carinthia - Right now 28,419 people are currently sick in Austria, and 2,149 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.

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 (03/01/2021): The Austrian government has announced steps for a graduated regional reopening of the country:
    • Vorarlberg, which has the lowest 7-day-incidence in Austria, can reopen restaurants and the sport and cultural sectors on March 15th
    • All other provinces will allow school and youth sports (exclusions: competitions and events with an audience) beginning on March 15th, and will reopen pub gardens (“Schanigärten”) on March 27th. A negative coronavirus test will be required.
    • Areas with too high 7-day-incidences will be monitored strictly. More severe measures, such as exit tests or the expansion of the FFP2 mask requirement, may be set.
    • The further loosening of restrictions for restaurants, tourism, and the cultural sector are planned to be announced in April.
  • Local authorities may now set requirements for wearing FFP2 masks in specific outdoor areas. (02/18/2021)
  • Starting on March 1st each person will be able to get up to five free coronavirus tests per month. Important: these tests are not the official ones needed to access close contact services like hair salons, but are only meant for self-monitoring. (02/15/2021)
  • In Tyrol a negative coronavirus test not older than 48 hours is mandatory for accessing ski areas. (02/15/2021)
  • Starting on February 8th some pharmacies will offer coronavirus tests for free. (02/04/2021)
  • The deadline for the written final assignment of the school leaving exams (“Vorwissenschaftliche Arbeit”) has been extended by two weeks. The diploma projects of vocational schools (BHS) are not affected. (02/04/2021)
  • Voluntary coronavirus tests for making use of close contact services must be done at a doctor’s office, pharmacy or other official testing location. Only with an official certificate are the test results valid (no at-home tests will be accepted), and please be aware that the tests need to be less than 48 hours old. In addition, people who have already got their vaccine or people who have recovered from a coronavirus infection within the last six months do not need a test if they are able to show official medical confirmation. (02/04/2021)
  • The Austrian government has announced some first reopening steps after the third lockdown. Starting on February 8th the following measures will go into effect (02/01/2021):
    • During the day a maximum of four adults from a maximum of two different households will be allowed to gather. The curfew will now be in effect from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., during which time one’s own home may be left only for specific reasons (e.g. work, basic needs, recreation, etc.).
    • Shops may reopen with high protective measures (FFP2 masks required for all, 20m² per customer).
    • Close contact services (e.g., hair salons) may reopen. Customers will need to present proof of a negative coronavirus test not older than 48 hours.
    • Schools: after the semester break pupils will return to (partial) in-person teaching, but lower nose swab coronavirus tests will now be required in order to participate in face-to-face school. These will be done weekly for secondary students and twice weekly for primary students. Those who do not consent to the test may remain in full-time distance learning. Primary school children will have full-time normal school, whereas secondary school students (including vocational schools) will attend part-time in split groups (either Monday/Tuesday or Wednesday/Thursday), with distance learning happening on the days they are not present in school. Fridays will be distance learning for all students. Exams and tests are possible. PE and music lessons will be possible with restrictions. Furthermore, teachers will get tested once a week.
    • Public religious services will be possible again with reduced seating, two meter minimum distance, and FFP2 masks.
    • Fitness centers, food establishments and accommodation providers must remain closed.
    • Museums, libraries and zoos will open under strict protective measures.
    • There will be higher fines (€90) for violations of the regulations around maintaining a two meter minimum distance and the mandatory wearing of FFP2 masks.
    • Stricter travel restrictions will be enforced.
  • Working from home will remain voluntary. Also, tax relief will be possible and employees will still have accident insurance. (01/28/2021)
  • 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)
  • Practical driving tests and driving lessons are allowed despite the lockdown. (01/25/2021)
  • 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)
  • Minimum distance to be kept between people has been extended to 2 meters (01/17/2021)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Every two weeks there will be mandatory COVID testing for people who have contact with many other people due to their jobs (e.g. teachers, close contact services, etc.) (12/11/2020)
  • 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)
  • The centralized school leaving examinations (Zentralmatura) will start on May 20, 2021. (11/27/2020)
  • 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)

Transportation & Travel Restrictions:

  • UPDATE (02/24/2021): Switzerland puts Carinthia, Styria and Lower Austria on their list of risk areas. People traveling from these provinces must go into quarantine for a week.
  • UPDATE (02/24/2021): The municipality of Mayrhofen (Tyrol) will be put under quarantine until Wednesday. Shops, kindergartens and schools remain closed. The area may only be left with a negative corona test.
  • UPDATE (02/23/2021): Germany has extended their border controls to Tyrol until at least March 3rd.
  • UPDATE (02/22/2021): The mandatory testing to leave Tyrol has been extended for ten more days.
  • The Tyrolean municipalities of Meran, Riffian, St. Pankraz, Moos in Passeier will be placed under quarantine due to rising cases of the South African virus variation. (02/17/2021)
  • Germany has declared Tyrol as a virus mutation area. Border controls and travel bans are planned. Only German citizens with residence in Germany and health personnel may travel from Tyrol to Germany. There are no exceptions for commuters! (02/12/2021)
  • Ireland has Austria on its “red list”, with strict traveling restrictions. (02/11/2021)
  • Austria has set a travel warning for Tyrol, due to the South African virus variation. Unnecessary trips should be avoided! Also, leaving Tyrol is currently only possible with a negative coronavirus test. The measures are in effect for 10 days and don’t include East Tyrol. Fines of up to €1,450 may be given. (02/09/2021)
  • Austria has increased border controls to all neighbouring countries. (02/07/2021)
  • Border controls with the Czech Republic and Slovakia will be extended until at least February 27th. (02/05/2021)
  • Beginning on February 8th, stricter travel restrictions are in effect. All people entering Austria must register online and provide a negative coronavirus test result (commuters must provide a negative test result once per week). Furthermore, there will be a mandatory 10 day quarantine; the government confirmed that it will remain possible to shorten the quarantine with a negative coronavirus test completed on the fifth day. (02/02/2021)
  • The Czech Republic has closed its borders for non-citizens. Only people who work or study in the Czech Republic, or have a special reason (e.g. funerals), may enter the country. (01/30/2021)
  • Border controls at the borders of Slovakia have been installed due to high infection numbers. Smaller checkpoints will be closed and there will be fixed controls installed. (01/09/2021)
  • A landing ban for all flights coming from Great Britain has been imposed. (12/20/2020)
  • New travel restrictions went into effect on December 19th. Almost all people who travel into Austria will need to complete a 10-day quarantine. It is possible to take a PCR or antigen test after the 5th day, which must be paid for by the person taking it. The only exception to this rule is for people who are travelling directly from: Australia, Finland, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Uruguay, and the Vatican. Furthermore, there are several other specific exceptions to this rule: commuters (those who travel to Austria at least once a month because of their job, family, or life partner), unexpected reasons (e.g. death in the family), for medical reasons, transit passengers, and crossing foreign territories (e.g. Großes Deutsches Eck, travelling to Kleinwalsertal, etc.) (12/15/2020)
  • Risk areas are defined as countries which have a 14-day incidence of over 100 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. (12/03/2020)

Financial Support:

  • UPDATE (02/17/2021): The corona short time work will be extended until June.
  • UPDATE (02/05/2021): 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).
  • 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)

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?”

Protective Measures and Restrictions:

  • UPDATE (08/02/2021): All official buildings and branch offices of the City of Villach are again open to the public. Please do still make an appointment in advance!
  • Starting on Monday 25th there will be a new testing booth at the Congress Center Villach. The opening hours are Monday to Friday from  8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but appointments must be made via the internet platform oesterreich-testet.at. Another testing booth is installed near the Kowatsch-Garagen in the Seebacher Alle. (01/22/2021)
  • Starting on January 11th, a hotline (04242 3 9950 9950)  to register for the COVID-19 vaccine has been installed which will be open from Monday till Thursday (9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.). Also, a registration via an email at coronaimpfung(at)villach.at - including information about name, date of birth, address, phone number and email -  is possible. Please be aware that the vaccine service is now only for people 80 years and older. (01/11/2021)

Supportive Measures - #WirHaltenZusammen:

  • UPDATE (08/02/2021): Regular parking fees apply again in Villach’s short-term parking zones!
  • If you want to take a coronavirus test please choose the right option! If you are suffering from symptoms call the coronavirus hotline at 1450. However, if you don’t have any symptoms and just want to be voluntarily tested (e.g. because you want to make use of the soon-to-reopen businesses) please register at oesterreich-testet.at or call 0800 220 330. (02/02/2021)
  • The City of Villach has bought 20,000 FFP2 masks, which will be given for free to people 65 years or older. Two masks per person will be handed out while stocks last. Distribution centers will be the Stadtmarketing office at Hans-Gasser-Platz and the open air voting booth at the Standesamtplatz. (01/17/2021)

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

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:

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.

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. (09/04/2020) 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

Recent Developments:

  • All districts of Austria are now “red” according to the corona traffic light. (11/05/2020)
  • According to the traffic light system, most of Austria’s districts are now rated as areas with a high (“orange”) and or very high infection risk (“red”). Several districts are ‘yellow’ and only four districts remain “green”. (10/23/2020)
  • The districts Hallein (Salzburg), the city of Innsbruck city, Innsbruck-Land (Tyrol) and the city of Wels (Upper Austria) are “red” now, according to the corona traffic light system. (10/15/2020)
  • According to the traffic light sytem, 10 formerly yellow districts have now been declared orange, and four have been changed back to green. (10/09/2020)
  • Six new districts, including the city of St. Pölten, Hallein (Salzburg) and Hermagor (Carinthia), have been added to the “orange” areas of the traffic light system. (10/04/2020)
  • 10 new districts have been declared “orange.” Twelve were changed from “green” to “yellow.” (09/25/2020)
  • No Austrian province is completely “green” according to the COVID-19 traffic light map. The cities of Salzburg, Villach, Eisenstadt, and Rust, as well as Eisenstadt’s surroundings and Tyrol’s Imst district are now classified “yellow.” The district Zwettel was changed  to “orange,” due to higher risk. (09/18/2020)
  • The Corona Commission has recommended “orange” for Vienna, Innsbruck city, Kufstein, Dornbirn, Bludenz, Mödling, Zwettl, and Neunkirchen. A tightening of protective measures in schools and for events is not planned. In addition, 35 areas have been declared “yellow.” (09/20/2020)

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.

 

  • UPDATE (10/30/2020): Austria announced a travel warning for the Czech Republic, starting with October 31st. Travellers from Czech Republic need a negative corona test.
  • Due to recent developments, Austria and especially Vienna have been declared risk areas by other countries (10/30/2020):
    • Slovakia (11/10/2020): Slovakia has declared Austria a high risk country. When travelling from Austria to Slovakia a negative PCR test is now required. It is also planned that antigen tests will be performed at certain borders.
    • Germany (10/30/2020): When traveling from all Austrian provinces to Germany a negative PCR test or a two-week quarantine is required.
    • Slovenia (10/24/2020): When travelling from all Austrian provinces (except Carinthia) to Slovenia a negative PCR test or a 10-days quarantine is required.
    • The Netherlands (10/22/2020): Travel warning for Vienna, Salzburg, Upper Austria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Lower Austria; 10-day quarantine for travellers coming from these locations
    • Belgium (10/16/2020): PCR test mandatory on arrival in Belgium and 14-day quarantine; travel warning applies for all Austrian provinces except Carinthia and Styria.
    • Romania (10/07/2020): 14-day quarantine for travellers coming from Austria. Travellers may take a PCR test at the earliest on the 8th day of this quarantine, and if the result is negative, the quarantine may end at the earliest on day 10.
    • Slovenia (09/28/2020): When travelling from Vienna, Tyrol, or Vorarlberg to Slovakia a negative PCR test is required.
    • Denmark (09/17/2020): requirement to take a coronavirus test if you want to travel from Austria to Denmark.
    • The UK (08/20/2020): 14-day quarantine for travellers coming from Austria
    • Norway (08/19/2020): 10-day quarantine for travellers coming from Austria
    • Hungary (08/28/2020) has closed its borders to tourists due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Europe. Only Hungarian citizens or travellers with a valid reason may enter Hungary.
    • Finland and Tunisia (07/24/2020): 14-day quarantine for travellers coming from Austria
  • New travel warnings by the Austrian government were announced (starting on September 24th) for Prague, the French provinces of Île de France (including Paris) and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Israel, Kuwait, and the Maldives. Travel warnings are no longer in place for Sweden and Portugal (though a travel warning still applies for the provinces Lissabon and Norte). In total, travel warnings for 37 countries are currently in effect. (09/24/2020)

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 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)
  • Keeping a minimum distance of 1 meter to other people in public places has been reintroduced in Austria. (10/22/2020)
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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. 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
  • 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)
  • “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%

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 online, including 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).


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:

  • 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)
  • 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)

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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