The Austrian Government has adopted various amendments to the current coronavirus rules which take effect from the month of May. This includes that the initial restrictions will be abolished as of 1 May. The changes also have an impact on the tourism industry, because it was also decided that hotels in Austria may open. In public, a distance of one meter must still be kept, as Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Grüne) announced. A maximum of ten people may gather in public spaces. In order to prevent hotels in Austria from spreading Corona and becoming so-called “hot spots”, the opening of hotels will be linked to special concepts for the safety of guests and staff. More details on the requirements are expected soon. German tourists are now waiting for the news that Austria will open its borders, at least those with Germany.
Austria’s hotels open again
As the number of infections has decreased there is hope for an improvement of the overall situation. Minister of Tourism Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) has therefore announced that Austria’s hotels will be allowed to open from 29 May. This is very positive for the respective businesses. Many hotels have their own or affiliated gastronomy facilities, for which new regulations are also arising. It has been decided that the maximum number of adults sitting at a table is four. Any children are automatically included regardless of how many there are. There should not be distance rules at the tables themselves, but between the tables. Persons belonging to the staff, including the service personnel, must wear face masks. Guests sitting at the tables are not affected by this obligation. However, masks must be kept ready for the corridors to and from the tables, including for visits to the toilets. A special feature will also be that, for reasons of hygiene, no breakfast buffet will be allowed to be offered when hotels are opened in Austria. Family celebrations with more than four adults as well as other group gatherings are still not allowed.
Opening of hotels, Swimming pools and leisure facilities
Until now, hotels were only allowed to accept guests who were travelling for professional reasons. In total, hotels, guesthouses and holiday apartments in this popular holiday destination had 68 percent fewer guests than usual in March due to the Coronavirus. The decrease in the number of holidaymakers was particularly noticeable in the popular holiday resorts and the capital. When Austria’s hotels are allowed to open from 29 May, this will have a positive effect on the entire tourism industry. Attractions, leisure facilities and public swimming pools can also be visited again from this day onwards, albeit with certain conditions. When hotels open in Austria, businesses that have wellness areas will also have to think about appropriate safety and hygiene precautions. There will also be requirements for intensive cleaning in all areas of hotel complexes, pensions and holiday homes.
Austria’s borders will not open yet
Tourism will initially be limited to Austria. This means that no foreign guests will be able to come yet, as the opening of the border is not yet planned but is in the works. Especially when German tourists will be allowed to come again, Tourism Minister Köstinger left open. Here, however, there could soon be a corresponding regulation. It is important to Köstinger, that “the freedom of travel and partial opening of the borders happens only takes place where infection rates are low and similar to those in Austria.” This is the case in the Czech Republic and also in Germany. Since many Germans come to Austria every year to spend their holidays there, it would be of great importance for the troubled industry that Austria’s borders open. Many guests from abroad had already booked their accommodation for the summer. It is important that security measures are implemented as well as possible. If the number of infections continues to fall, the borders in Austria will certainly open soon. And the opening of the hotels in Austria will probably only be valid as long as the corona infection figures do not increase. Citizens, business people and event organisers must always be prepared for new regulations.