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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: 05/28/2020, 6:30 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 (05/28/2020, 6:30 p.m.):

16,560 total cases to date in Austria (638 deaths / 15,286 recovered) | 414 in Carinthia - Right now only 674 people are currently sick in Austria, and 3 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:

  • Visits in KABEG hospitals will be 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)
  • Kindergartens in Carinthia will reopen without restrictions on May 18th. It is also planned that child care will be ensured during the summer. (05/13/2020)
  • The vaccination service of the city of Villach for tick-borne encephalitis and measles is outsourced until June 13th to Dr. Hoss Jabarzadeh (Trattengasse 42). Office hours to get vaccinated are Monday from 3-5 p.m. (05/11/2020)

Supportive Measures - #WirHaltenZusammen:

  • UPDATE (05/27/2020): Starting on June 2nd the regular parking regulations with parking fees in Villach’s short-term parking zones will be in effect again.
  • 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):
    • City voucher initiative for the downtown: In order to boost businesses, vouchers valid in 130 city shops and food establishments worth €10€ are being sold for €7,50. The difference is covered by the town government. 
    • 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.
    • Free parking: The short-term parking zones will remain free of charge for all of May, but the maximum parking time of three hours will be enforced again starting on May 4th. Please use parking discs, as parking duration will be checked. 
    • 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.

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:

  • The next steps of the incremental easing of COVID-19 protective measures will be begin on May 29th when the following types of businesses and areas will be allowed to reopen:
    • Weddings and funerals with up to 100 guests are allowed again (05/27/2020)
    • Leisure facilities: This includes, for example, fairgrounds, amusement and theme parks, indoor playgrounds, paintball facilities, betting shops, casinos, and ropes courses.(05/20/2020)
    • Trainings and educational events with up to 100 participants are allowed again (05/20/2020)
    • 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)
    • Public swimming pools and lakes: The safety measures include 10m² lying surface per visitor as well as 6m² per visitor in the water. The minimum distance to others must be ensured and mouth and nose protection has to be worn in entry areas. Please purchase your tickets online in advance. (05/15/2020)
    • Fitness Centers under strict safety measures (04/25/2020)
  • The easing of protective measures also impacts cultural events (05/25/2020). The following timetable allows events under specific requirements in terms of seating and the assurance of the minimum distance between people: Beginning May 29th indoor and outdoor events of up to 100 people will be allowed again. 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
  • 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)
  • Transportation & Travel Restrictions: 

    • UPDATE (05/22/2020): The “Deutsches Eck” between Salzburg and Tyrol may be passed through for tourism reasons. Also, it may be used to enter Germany under the given restrictions. Shopping trips and day trips are still not allowed!
    • UPDATE (05/19/2020): Austria is planning to open its borders to Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary in the middle of June.
    • Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic have reopened their borders to incoming travelers. Also, Italy announced that it will open its borders on June 3rd, which makes entering those neighbouring countries possible again. However, the Austrian government has not opened their borders to these countries yet, which means that the Coronavirus entry requirements (14 days quarantine, medical certificate etc.) are still in effect for people coming into Austria from those countries. (05/16/2020)
    • It is planned that starting on June 15th the borders to Germany and Switzerland will be open again, though this still depends on the development of the infection rate. Germany opened some border checkpoints for commuters and residents on May 13th. Also, some checkpoints to Slovenia and Hungary have eased border controls for commuters. (05/13/2020)

    Financial Support:

    • UPDATE (05/20/2020): 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.
    • An aid package of €700 million is planned for non-profit organizations (art clubs, sport clubs, and social service organizations) (05/13/2020)

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 (05/04/2020 - please check the "Latest Information" section above for the most up-to-date information):

On March 17th, leaders of the European Union and Schengen area countries agreed to close the external borders of the EU to non-essential incoming travel for 30 days in order to limit the spread of the virus, and this closure has now been extended until May 15th. Citizens of Schengen area countries, EU citizens, UK citizens, long-term residents and their family members, diplomats, cross-border and healthcare workers, and people transporting goods are exempt.

Austrian Airlines has stopped all flights until May 17th (UPDATE: 05/04/2020). The Austrian government has currently banned all passenger flights coming from China, Korea, Iran, Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Russia and Ukraine.

Limitations are also in place when it comes to travelers coming from or going to other countries within Europe. Due to COVID-19, the borders to Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Germany, and Hungary have been closed to most people, so overland travel to those counties is currently allowed for very few people. For those people still allowed to travel across the borders - someone returning to their country of citizenship or long-term residency, goods transporters, some commuters, and healthcare workers from Czech Republic who work in Austria (03/26/2020)- there are checks at the border crossings to Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Liechtenstein. Austria has extended its border checks until May 31st, which means the current entry requirements (medical certificate, 14 days quarantine, etc.) are still in effect. (05/06/2020) People who want to enter Austria are checked and must show a medical certificate no older than four days. Citizens of Austria and non-citizens whose primary residence is in Austria are allowed to enter but are obligated to self-quarantine for 14 days after entering Austria from abroad (03/21/2020). Additionally, the highest level travel warning has been assigned to 26 countries around the world, as well as parts of other countries, due to the Coronavirus. Please check the Austrian government’s travel warning page before undertaking any travel abroad (04/12/2020).

Local public transportation of the ÖBB (S-Bahn) has been reduced, and during non-peak hours trains will run only every 2 hours. At the moment there are also no train connections to Italy or Slovenia, and all trains that normally go to these countries now end in Villach. Please check the ÖBB rail information site to get information about train cancellations.

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?

Currently there are restrictions on train services from the ÖBB in Carinthia (03/21/2020). Local public transportation (S-Bahn) has been reduced, and during non-peak hours trains will run only every 2 hours. It is planned that the regular railway schedule within Austria will be effective again on May 11th (05/04/2020). Please check the ÖBB rail information site in order to get information about train cancellations.

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 oder to limit the spread of the virus due to the reopening of businesses and social life :    

  • Small shops (less than 400 m²) that don’t have a lot of customer contact, as well as building supply centers, garden centers, car wash businesses, bicycle repair shops, pawnshops, and precious metal trade shops were allowed to reopen under strict safety regulations (limited number of visitors, obligatory hygiene regulations, and wearing of masks, etc.) on April 14th.
  • As of May 1st, the general ban on going out is no longer in effect, but new regulations were announced which will be in effect until the end of June: Going outside is allowed again starting May 1st, but a minimum distance of one meter should be kept between people not living in the same household. Also, gatherings of up to ten people are allowed (04/28/2020).
  • Beginning May 1st, all shops, shopping centers, and hairdressers, as well as all other service providers (except leisure time, tourism or food service providers), may reopen (04/21/2020). 
  • Masks are now obligatory in public transportation as well as in shops, and violators will be fined (04/10/2020). Public transportation may now be used again to get to leisure time activities (04/16/2020). Also, 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 protective measures like mouth and nose protection, keeping distance, etc., are still in effect and are monitored by the police. Violators may be fined! 
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.


  • Food service establishments will be allowed to reopen on May 15th, though their opening hours must be between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. A maximum of four adults (plus their kids) may sit together at one table, and between the different groups of guests a minimum distance of one meter should be ensured. Reserving in advance is recommended as there will be no free table choice. Food service employees must wear mouth and nose protection when in contact with guests, but guests do not need to wear protection when sitting at the table. (04/28/2020)
  • Museums, libraries, and archives may reopen beginning on May 15th. (05/12/2020) Larger events and music festivals are banned until the end of August. (04/16/2020). The easing of the restrictive measures also impacts regulations on public Events:
    • public events with up to ten participants are allowed (e.g. yoga class in a park)
    • Up to 30 people may attend funerals
    • Specific directives for demonstrations will be announced soon
  • Hotels and public swimming pools and lakes (Schwimmbäder) will be allowed to reopen on May 29th (04/28/2020) 
  • Driving schools may again provide their lessons under protective measures (05/03/2020)
  • A new directive regulates measures for carpooling. People who do not live in the same household have to wear mouth and nose protection. In addition, a maximum of two people per seat row is allowed. (05/01/2020)
  • Fitness centers may reopen on May 29th under strict safety measures (04/25/2020). Participating in outdoor athletics and sports such as tennis, golf, horse riding, archery, shooting, and gliding should be possible again starting May 1st. The government is working on a directive about this. Also, it is planned that national league soccer games will take place under severe safety measures and without an audience. (04/15/2020). On May 15th outdoor sports facilities have been reopened for amateur and hobby sports (05/14/2020)
  • Worship services and religious celebrations will be allowed again beginning May 15th.
  • Rehab centers and sanatoriums have been closed (03/20/2020). Visitors are not allowed in hospitals and nursing homes. In specific cases, such as visits to children’s wards or in palliative care units, special arrangements can be made. The protection of hospitals has been further increased by entry barriers, visitor regulations, the expansion of testing (e.g. target group testing), and the use of masks by health care workers, etc. (03/30/2020) UPDATE (04/29/2020): An easing of the ban on visitors in care homes for elderly and care-dependent people is planned starting on May 4th. Special behavioural measures, such as only allowing individual visitors, as well as limited visiting hours, are recommended.
  • Visits to prisons will be allowed again starting on May 11th (04/28/2020)
  • On May 4th preparation lessons for the Matura and final apprenticeship examinations will begin (04/21/2020). After reopening schools for the preparation lessons, classes for primary school students (Volksschule), middle school (Mittelschule), the lower grades of AHS, as well as special need schools will start on May 18th. Starting June 3rd classes for all secondary schools, vocational schools (Berufsschule), and polytechnic schools will reopen. The new school regulations include a maximum of 18 pupils per group. All classes that are larger than that have to be separated into two groups, where one group will be in school Monday to Wednesday, and the other group on Thursday and Friday. The next week, the groups swap days. Music lessons will take place, but without singing. Class schedules will be generally back to normal, except physical education will not occur, and there will be no Schularbeiten (school exams) this term. In addition, kids who belong to vulnerable groups (or live in the same household with people who are vulnerable) may stay home with permission of the school. And contrary to what was first announced, an elementary school student with more than one negative grade may have to repeat the class after all. (05/08/2020)
  • The Matura starts on May 25th with school specialist subjects, then German (May 26), English (May 27), maths (May 28), French/Latin/Greek (May 29), Croatian/Hungarian/Italian/Spanish (June 3), and Slovenian (June 4) will follow in that order. In the case of failed written exams, oral exams will be conducted from the 22nd till the 24th of June. The final Matura grades will be calculated out of the written exam grades and the annual school report grades of the final year of school (04/22/2020)
  • Universities and universities of applied science (Fachhochschulen) have closed their campuses and will continue distance learning for the rest of the term (04/10/2020) 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)
  • Children of divorced parents may still be brought to the other parent as per the normal custody agreement, despite the protective measures (03/24/2020)
  • 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
  • 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).
  • Due to the high number of volunteers, Zivildiener who have served their civil service time may now end it regularly and won’t have it extended.

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:

  • The grill area on the Gail has been reopened. Also, on May 8th the sports area of the Wasenboden has reopened. Please keep distance from others and wear masks. (05/06/2020)
  • 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 have 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)
    • It is now permitted to use the lakes, which means both going for a walk and also swimming are allowed, although sunbathing on the lawns is still prohibited! As Strandbad Drobollach is still under construction, it will remain closed for safety reasons. Public parks and green spaces have also reopened, including the Wasenboden recreational area and the Villacher Alpenstraße (the Alpenstraße will reopen on April 16th). If necessary, a maximum number of vehicles will be enforced.
    • As many shops are allowed to reopen now, an increased number of families needing child care is expected. If you need to bring your kids to Kindergarten or daycare centers, please contact them first so they can plan accordingly. Additionally, the number of children allowed in one group has been increased from 6 to 10.
  • The opening hours at the city hall in Villach have been restricted and the registery office (Standesamt) is no longer open to the public. Starting April 14th employees and visitors have to wear mouth and nose masks when entering the city hall! If you don’t have a mask, one will be given to you upon entry. It is strongly recommended to resolve issues via telephone or email whenever possible and only go there in person only when truly necessary (04/08/2020)
  • 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. 
    • The police are also checking whether individuals in groups of pedestrians live in the same flat or house.
    • Businesses which have to be closed due to the new protective measures will also be checked by the police.
    • Fines will be imposed in case of violation! 
  • Hotels have to be closed . UPDATE (03/27/2020): As some necessary service providers have to travel occasionally, the following hotels in Villach are allowed to remain open if needed under adherence to special hygiene regulations:
    • Hotel Goldenes Lamm
    • Hotel Kramer
    • Hotel Seven
    • Hotel Thomashöhe
    • FEWO Zollner
    • Room Rent 55
    • Hotel Mittelpunkt
    • Moser's Pension zum Wilden Mann
    • Apart of me
    • Gasthaus Gatternig
    • Gasthof-Pension Waldhof
    • Gasthof Bacher
  • Prohibition of all Events! UPDATE (04/17/2020): 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.The following events have been postponed:
    • The Honky-Tonk-Festival has been postponed until May 16th
    • The Josh. concert will now happen on November 7th
  • Universities and universities of applied science are closed
  • Ban of visitors in hospitals and nursing homes 
  • Turnverein Villach has cancelled all sport classes
  • The lessons at Musikschule Villach are cancelled
  • Kärnten Therme V-Club, Cineplexx and Kletterhalle Villach are closed until further notice

Supportive Measures - #WirHaltenZusammen:

  • 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) 
  • Parking in Villach: The short-term parking zones will remain free of charge for all of May, but the maximum parking time of three hours will be enforced again starting on May 1st. Please use parking discs, as parking duration will be checked. (04/27/2020) 
  • 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 people:

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). 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) 

Can I cancel my booked holiday in Carinthia because of COVID-19?

Currently there are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Carinthia. According to the government’s announcement on March 13th, the winter ski season officially ended the evening of March 15th, and most accommodation establishments in Carinthia (hotels, apartments, guest rooms, etc) can no longer accept visitors beginning on March 16th. 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. The Austrian government has also strongly advised Austrians who are traveling abroad to return home as long there are travel options available.

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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