German
English

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: 10/24/2020, 9:45 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

Here you can also find access to the official map of the COVID-19 traffic light system, which shows you the evaluation of different areas within Austria in terms of the development of the virus.

Latest information

CONFIRMED CORONAVIRUS CASES (10/24/2020 21:45 p.m.):

79,770 total cases to date in Austria (978 deaths / 50,692 recovered) | 1,869 in Carinthia - Right now 28,100 people are currently sick in Austria, and 709 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 | 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:

  • Currently in Carinthia, both the city of Villach and the district Villach-Land are assessed as moderate risk areas, whereas Hermagor is classified as high risk with the traffic light colour "orange" - the rest of the federal state remains "green". (10/02/2020)
  • Due to the latest infection cluster, Villach has been officially classified "yellow,” which stands for moderate risk according to the COVID-19 traffic light system. Please be aware that many of the increased safety measures regarding protective masks and events are already covered by the current nationwide protective measures. (09/18/2020)
  • The new nationwide regulations also have an impact on customer traffic in Villach’s city hall, and it is again mandatory to wear mouth and nose protection there. (09/14/2020)

Supportive Measures - #WirHaltenZusammen:

  • UPDATE (09/26/2020): 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.
  • 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)

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 (10/23/2020): 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”.
  • UPDATE (10/22/2020): Keeping a minimum distance of 1 meter to other people in public places has been reintroduced in Austria.
  • UPDATE (10/22/2020): Face shields will soon be 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. After a transition period until November 7th the shields will no longer count as a valid mouth and nose protection.
  • UPDATE (10/21/2020): Antigen tests are now available at general practitioners. They are faster and cheaper than PCR tests but less precise.
  • UPDATE (10/20/2020): Mandatory registration at food service establishments has been introduced in Upper Austria.
  • UPDATE (10/19/2020): The Austrian government has decided to tighten protective measures further, due to the rising number of infections. Starting on Friday, October 25th, the following new nationwide protective measures go into effect:
    • Private gatherings: Limited to 6 people indoors and 12 people outdoors. This applies to restaurants, sports classes, birthday parties, weddings, and club houses (Vereinslokale). Funerals and work meetings remain exceptions. There are still no official restrictions in your private home, but the government calls on everyone to be responsible.
    • Professional events: Limited 1,000 people indoors and 1,500 people outdoors. These events are only allowed with governmental permission, fixed seating, consistent and constant wearing of mouth and nose protection, and no drinks or food may be served.
    • Protection of vulnerable groups: Stricter hygiene measures and screening tests apply
    • Regional measures: The various provinces and districts may introduce local measures which might affect the education sector, closing hours for businesses, bans on alcohol, as well as regional quarantines.
    • Supportive measures will be further extended.
  • Upper Austria has introduced a mandatory registration in food establishments and stricter protective measures in elderly care homes and nursing homes. (10/16/2020)
  • 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)
  • Tyrol is also tightening their protective measures. In food service establishments there is now mandatory registration for guests and there is a closing time of 10 p.m. In “orange” and “red” areas distance learning has gone into effect. (10/15/2020)
  • The province of Salzburg has set stricter protective measures, such as the ban on private parties outside of your own house and the mandatory registration in food establishments. The municipality Kuchl (Salzburg) is under quarantine. (10/15/2020)
  • In the Tennengau  district (Salzburg), a general ban on events has gone into effect. Funerals may still take place but may now only have up to 100 guests. (10/15/2020)
  • Lower Austria will introduce new regional measures on October 5th to stop the increasing spread of the coronavirus: in “orange” districts sport events may only take place without an audience (exception: games in which minors are playing), indoor events with fixed seating are limited to 250 participants, outdoor events are limited to 1,000 people, and food establishments have to maintain a guest list. In “red” districts, food establishments must close at 10 p.m., Kindergarten services will be limited, as will visits in hospitals, care homes, etc. (09/25/2020)
  • In Vienna it is now mandatory for restaurant visitors to leave their name and contact information in order to make contact tracing easier. (09/24/2020)
  • 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)
  • In Salzburg, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg the closing hour of restaurants was shortened from 1 a.m. to 10 p.m. At the moment, the measure is valid only for the next three weeks. (09/22/2020)
  • 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)
  • Extension of the requirement to wear a mask: Customers at food establishments have to wear masks when moving around in the restaurant. Also, the mandatory mouth and nose protection will now apply in all shops and businesses. (09/17/2020)
  • Starting on September 21st mouth and nose protection will be required in any closed rooms in all ÖBB train stations. (09/20/2020)
  • Starting on September 14th the following protective measures went into effect (09/12/2020):
    • Mouth and nose protection is now mandatory in all closed public rooms (all shops, businesses, and offices). This also applies during worship services and while visiting hospitals, care homes, and sanatoriums. Please also be aware that the obligation to wear masks in grocery stores, banks, post offices, on public transportation, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other health related services, as well as during events in closed rooms and during demonstrations, is still in effect (07/24/2020). Masks are also required in schools (outside of the actual classrooms), in the service sector, as well as by employees of food establishments.
    • New rules also apply in the food service industry:  food and drinks may now be consumed only at tables, not in bar areas. The closing time remains 1 a.m.

Transportation & Travel Restrictions:

  • UPDATE (09/24/2020): 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.
  • UPDATE (10/22/2020): Due to recent developments, Austria and especially Vienna have been declared risk areas by other countries:
    • Germany (10/22/2020): When traveling from all Austrian provinces (except Carinthia) to Germany a negative PCR test or a two-week 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.
    • Switzerland (10/09/2020): 10-day quarantine, even with a negative PCR test, for travellers coming from Vienna, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg and Burgenland.
    • 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

Financial Support:

  • UPDATE (10/20/2020): In order to help support unemployed people, the Austrian government will pay them €150 per month until the end of 2020.
  • As the event sector has been severely affected by the Corona crisis, the Austrian government has announced that it will allocate €300 million in support of this sector beginning in November: when planned events must be cancelled, costs which cannot be recovered will be reimbursed by the government. (09/25/2020)

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:

  • UPDATE (10/15/2020): 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.
  • 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.

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!
    • Starting on September 21st the following protective measures are in effect (09/20/2020):
      • Reduction of social contacts: private indoor gatherings of any kind are restricted to a maximum of 10 people (funerals are an exception)! Gatherings in your own home remain officially unrestricted, but the government strongly recommends a 10 person limit and calls on everyone to be responsible.
      • Food establishments: No more than 10 people are allowed at any one table! Food and drinks may now be consumed only at tables, not in bar areas. The closing time remains 1 a.m.
      • 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). This also applies during worship services and while visiting hospitals, care homes, and sanatoriums. Please also be aware that the obligation to wear masks in pharmacies, doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other health-related services, as well as during events in closed rooms and during demonstrations, is still in effect. Masks are also required in schools (outside of the actual classrooms), in the service sector, as well as by employees of food establishments. In addition, customers at food establishments have to wear masks when moving around in the restaurant. 
      • Events are now limited to 3,000 people for outdoor events and 1,500 people for indoor events. However, when there is no fixed seating at the event, only 100 people may participate in outdoor events, and only 50 people for indoor events.
    • The government has published the following recommendations for this coming fall and winter (09/02/2020):
      • Keep your distance and continue to practice hygiene measures like washing your hand with care.
      • Wear mouth and nose protection when the minimum distance can’t be ensured - especially indoors!
      • As many people get infected due to interactions in their personal lives it is recommended to limit private parties to a maximum of 25 people.
    • Starting on July 30th, people who are outdoors will no longer be fined for not keeping distance from others. However, the government still calls on everyone to be responsible and keep as much distance as they can. Please be aware that keeping a minimum distance is still mandatory in public transportation, at events, and in closed rooms. (07/30/2020)
    • 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)
  • Starting in September it is planned to collect the names and contact information from guests at food establishments and at events in order to make contact tracing easily. This will, however, be voluntary for the guests. (08/20/2020)
  • Visitors in hospitals as well as in care homes for elderly and care-dependent people are allowed under severe safety measures, including wearing a mouth and nose protection, keeping minimum distance, and allowing only one visitor per room at a time. Visitor rules vary widely by hospital, district, and province, so it is vital to get in touch with the hospital before your visit. (09/20/2020)
  • Visiting prisoners is allowed, but visitors must follow strict rules and hygiene practices. Please contact the prison itself beforehand to ensure a smooth visit.
  • Worship services and religious celebrations are allowed, but must follow all nationwide and/or district regulations that may be in place regarding indoor and outdoor gatherings (for example, maximum number of people, mouth and nose protection, and so on).
  • 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 until February 2021. Under this regulation, parents can take up to three weeks off work in order to look after their children and still get their regular income. This is only possible with the agreement of the respective employer. (08/27/2020)
  • Calling in sick is now only possible if there is a suspicion that you have coronavirus. For all other illnesses employees must get a doctor’s certificate in order to take sick leave. (09/01/2020)
  • Masks, gloves, and other protective measures such as plexiglass walls have been installed in order to protect employees of supermarkets and shops (03/20/2020). Furthermore, floor markings have been put in place and stores will limit how many people are in the store at once, in order to ensure that everyone can remain far enough away from each other! Also, PIN-free contactless payment for amounts up to €50 has been introduced (04/02/2020)
  • The Austrian government 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)

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:

  • Due to the latest infection cluster, Villach has been officially classified "yellow,” which stands for moderate risk according to the COVID-19 traffic light system. Please be aware that many of the increased safety measures regarding protective masks and events are already covered by the nationwide protective measures. (09/18/2020)
  • Due to the expectation of a large crowd at the unofficial GTI gathering, it is mandatory to wear mouth and nose protection at the GTI hotspots (Velden, Duel and Augsdorf) from September 16th-20th (11 a.m. - 2 a.m.). (09/16/2020)
  • The new nationwide regulations also have an impact on customer traffic in Villach’s town hall, and it is again mandatory to wear mouth and nose protection there. (09/14/2020)
  • 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)
  • Visits in KABEG hospitals are possible again under strict safety measures. Visitors have to call to get an appointment, and only one visitor per patient and timeslot is allowed. (05/13/2020)

Supportive Measures - #WirHaltenZusammen:

  • UPDATE (09/03/2020): 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.
  • For questions and answers about COVID-19, call the Carinthia Corona Hotline: 050 536 53003 (Mon - Fri from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.)
  • Villach’s city government has decided to create a second Coronavirus aid package with a total amount of €500,000. It particularly aims to support entrepreneurs, food service businesses, cultural operators, and students. The following initiatives are included in the package (05/01/2020):
    • Free pub gardens: Until the end of August, no tariffs have to be paid for pub gardens. In addition, the used areas may be extended if legally possible.
    • Security deposit aid: A security deposit fund of €200,000 was created for people who can’t afford the deposit at the moment but don’t receive help by other initiatives. 
    • Aid for cultural operators: In order to support artists and other cultural operators, the city of Villach is providing the small and the big Bambergersaal and the Paracelsussal in the town hall free of charge (dependent on availability). Also, Volkshäuser (social, cultural and education centres) may be used without charge.
    • Aid for pupils: To support distance learning, the city of Villach and Infineon are providing 100 laptops for pupils who can’t afford one
    • Aid for leaseholders of public swimming pools and lakes: Until further notice, rent does not have to be paid.
  • 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:

  • 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. ;-)

JavaScript inactive