With Austrian ski resorts available to overseas tourists for the first time in two years, the government is putting measures in place to prevent the headline-grabbing covid-19 outbreaks of 2020. They will require covid passes and masks to be able to use lifts, reports Reuters.
“This year there will definitely be winter holidays in Austria. We have developed strict rules for a safe winter.”
– Tourism Minister Elisabeth Koestinger
The government extended its “3G” rule to include ski lifts, meaning anyone over the age of 12 must be vaccinated, recovered, or have an antigen test within 24 hours or a PCR test within 72 hours. It is still unknown how they plan to police these measures.
The Italian government is likely to follow suit this week. Italian ski resorts remained closed last season.
If cases and hospital admissions rise, local authorities will have to power to tighten the rules and allow only vaccinated guests to board lifts.
- Related: First Lawsuit Against Austrian Government for Handling of Ischgl Ski Area Covid-19 Outbreak Begins Friday
The new measures also brought attention to après-ski bars and nightclubs, where rules will be tightened. Only those who are vaccinated or who have recovered from covid-19 will be allowed entry. In 2020 Austria’s biggest covid-19 outbreak was traced back to an après-ski bar in Ischgl, in the Tirol province. Lawsuits against the government for its handling of that outbreak began last week.
“There will no longer be apres-ski as before the pandemic.”
– Guenther Platter, the governor of Tirol province
The government announced the rules at a news conference earlier this week, where they outlined the importance of reviving their tourism industry. The Swiss government has yet to make a ruling, but after the success of last year’s season it is hoped they can avoid implementing the same rules as its neighbors.