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Austria bans unvaccinated (inc children 12+) and those vaccinated 9+ months ago from hotels

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If you have a ski holiday booked in Austria this Winter, you may have a problem.

The Austrian Government has announced sweeping new coronavirus restrictions which will come into force on 5th December. There is no let-off for children over 12 under the initial plans.

Austria is currently seeing a sharp rise in covid cases due to low levels of vaccination.

Hotel Aurelio Lech Austria

This is what will happen from 5th December, as I read it:

  • adults will not be allowed into Austria without quarantine if their second dose of coronavirus vaccine was received more than 9 months ago (the current rule is 12 months) – booster vaccinations will not count as these do not show in the scannable NHS covid app
  • anyone who cannot show full vaccination (two doses, the latter delivered less than 9 months ago) or proof of recovery will not be allowed into hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, leisure centres, gyms, cinemas, museums or theatres – children over 12 are not exempt

As the rules are written, children from the UK aged 12+ will be banned from entering hotels and restaurants in Austria because they will not have received two doses of coronavirus vaccination. They are still allowed to enter the country as long as they are travelling with a vaccinated adult.

The official Government tourist website says that ‘a solution is being worked on’ for children aged 12+ but there is no indication of what this may be. It would be difficult to give children of tourists a waiver to allow them to stay in a hotel when unvaccinated children of Austrian citizens would be banned.

The UK Government is also planning to update the NHS app so that booster jabs show, although there is no time line for this.

Note that gov.uk has not been updated to reflect these changes and still says that a covid vaccination within 360 days of arrival is accepted.

You can find out more on austria.info here.

Comments (154)

  • Kevin D says:

    As a Doctor who has worked tirelessly throughout the Pandemic, I was lucky enough to be amongst the first to be vaccinated back in December 2020 and March 2021. But it seems I won’t now be allowed to go skiing in Austria next month, even though I have had the booster a few weeks back. Disappointing.

    • IONE WIGGINS says:

      @Kevin D although you may not experience the thrill of skying. The Caribbean torquise waters grant you the ability to water ski. You’ll experience a thrill of a life time. Some thing different yet similar you’ll never forget. Why not try it out.

      • Bagoly says:

        I think your icon is actually for a travel agency, but at that minimisation it looks awfully like a Coronavirus with spikes!

    • John says:

      Several other countries are happy to have you

    • His Holyness says:

      You’re one of the few doctors who haven’t had a booster?

      • S says:

        My partner is a doctor and only received a booster last week. They’re rolled out on a trust by trust basis. Even if you were amongst the very first vaccinated on, say, 1st Jan, and had the bare minimum intervals (12 weeks to second dose, 183 days to booster), you’d be at 25th Sept before you got the booster. In reality, allowing for the fact that it took several weeks to vaccinate everyone with their first dose in Jan/Feb in most trusts, and that logistically getting a jab precisely at 12 weeks and 183 days is not usually possible, you can easily add 4-6 weeks to that. All of which takes you to late October or early November.

      • Chris Smyth says:

        The booster does not currently appear on your NHS Covid Pass so you have no way of showing you have had it.

        • Tracey says:

          It’s on your medical record, though not on the travel pass section.
          Some doctors will issue letters listing all your vaccines.

      • Bagoly says:

        Er, he wrote that he had.

    • Jabber by Trade says:

      Yes I too am in the profession and had my 2nd (Pfizer) jab on 3rd Jan 2021; my booster was 6 and a bit weeks ago.
      Why not go to, say, France to ski?…..or take up golf!!

    • James says:

      I’m confused, is there a problem at all? The austria.info page clearly states

      “ The vaccine certificate is valid for 360 days after the 2nd dose for 2-dose vaccines. In people with a past infection + one vaccination, it is valid for 360 days after that one dose. If you have had a third/additional/booster vaccination, it is valid for 360 days from the third jab.”

      So surely we’re good in Austria for a year after second jab and good for a further year following third (booster) jab?

      • Fiona says:

        Look at the bit that says from 6th Dec….

        2-dose-vaccinations are valid for 9 months only after the second dose from 6 December (previously: 12 months).
        The 1-dose-vaccine by Johnson & Johnson is valid until 3 January 2022, after that date a booster is required.

        • Pauline Todd says:

          I’m confused with all this booster is required, how can they discriminate against all under 50’s who won’t be given the booster unless you have serious health conditions?

          • Ryan says:

            How can they discriminate against those who haven’t had the vaccine full stop? (Medically, ethically or just personal choice reasons)?

          • Rob says:

            There is now talk of a lockdown in Germany purely for the unvaccinated ….

          • Ryan says:

            Can’t wait to see the protests that would kick off.. which also get hidden from mainstream news

    • Andrew H says:

      A booster is ok for 360 days in Austria. The NHS App does show these in medical history though you may have to ask your surgery to release that info in to the app. With Austria you have to prove vaccination status. It doesn’t have to be the COVID passport part of the App.

    • Roy says:

      I don’t know specifically if Austria will accept this, but I believe the recommendation for some other countries is to ask your GP to write you a letter confirming the details of your booster dose.

  • Paul says:

    For those of us who can still travel, and especially for February half term travel, these restrictions will probably mean having some resorts to yourself! Particularly those popular with school trips!

    I slip in under the wire by 2 weeks excluding my booster!

    • Andrew H says:

      British are actually form a relatively small part of skiers in Austria. Dutch and Germans are much more numerous. Uk half term being busy is a bit of a myth- other countries’ holidays much more important

      • tony says:

        A few years back I took my son to Kitzbuhel for a couple of days at the start of half term. Booked late, flew out Sunday, got Avios seats when they wanted £500 in cash etc. Anyway, the taxi driver told me how many flights had landed at SZG from the UK the previous day – IIRC it was either 40 or 70. So give or take it’s “only” an extra 10k people, which isn’t much on the ski slopes, but is when you start thinking about hotel capacity…

        • Fiona says:

          When you think that these, largely, family-run hotels have taken a hammering financially in the last 2 years – they are going to need every skier they can get!

        • Andrew H says:

          Yes the airports are very busy at half term. And some resorts like Kitz will have higher number of Brits, but the Germans and the Dutch are most important to Austria. Best to check when their holidays are for a quieter resort… I did go to Kitz in Fasching week once, which was a mistake.

          • Rob says:

            Three years ago the German, Dutch and UK half terms clashed, it was total chaos (and a disaster for the resorts because they were dead for the rest of Feb).

      • Andrew says:

        “UK Half term” is a myth too.

        The Scottish February break and October break are generally 2-3 weeks before the English ones.

        I’m doing childcare in Perthshire in February for the w/c 14th February, and it’s not even called a half term. It’s technically 2 days of staff development and 3 days of “local holidays”.

    • Alex Sm says:

      Looks like they want to cut off older and more vulnerable people while welcoming the younger, fitter skiers who got their jabs later in the year – that’s all

  • Aaron C says:

    Will they not accept a copy of your health records downloaded from the NHS App? It doesn’t seem to say that it has to be the official NHS vaccine passport.

    This isn’t just an issue for Brits but for much of Europe given how far back vaccines were done and how some countries stuck to the 3 week interval for longer.

    • Roy says:

      I believe that the current recommendation if a country requires proof of the booster vaccination is to request a letter from your GP.

  • tony says:

    I think the other bit that’s worth noting off the AT government website is

    “Depending on the situation in Austria’s intensive care units, stricter rules may be imposed.”

    Given how sharply the case numbers are going up, I think they now have a massive problem unfolding and with ski resorts being places where COVID will be more easily transmitted, are we looking at a bigger shut down anyway?

  • BillersJ says:

    There is a work around (I think). The website says that you can enter Austria if you have proof of neutralising antibodies within 90 days of entry. One can now get antibody tests (I’m on the ONS trial so get them routinely). So get an antibody test and you are all good (if you’ve had CoViD or the vaccine)
    https://www.austria.info/en/service-and-facts/coronavirus-information/entry-regulations#who-can-enter-austria

  • GrumpyChicken81 says:

    The worry here is what happens next year if other countries start introducing requirements such as this. I can see trying to arrange a trip with a group of friends or a family being a logistical nightmare where final doses could be months apart. What are the plans for additional vaccines in 2022 if countries start to insist the 2nd dose needs to have been administered within 12 months. That will catch a lot of people out in summer 2022 if we don’t start planning.

    • Bagoly says:

      I think you are right that it will be tricky until countries reach a consensus.
      But as with many things Covid, that might be much quicker than in pre-Covid times.
      On current trajectory the outcome may be boosters available every six months, with validity being for nine months.

  • Matarredondaaa says:

    For sure travel is not going to get any easier in the coming months as it appears most countries are seeing increasing cases.

  • LessCleverAndrew says:

    Does anyone have a crystal ball as to whether other European countries do something similar? We are due to go to Norway end of December and if you thought the UK system was once complicated think again. Norway has a positive kaleidoscope of a system: purple countries, red countries, dark red countries – all complicated by various other factors.

    • Alex Sm says:

      Just returned from Norway, no one checked anything on the way in or out of the country. No forms or proofs required

      • John says:

        My vaccine pass was scanned and everyone on my flight not an EU/EEA citizen was extensively questioned for 3 to 4 minutes about our holiday plans.

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