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Are you ready for the winter sports season?

Austria is getting ready for a Covid-safe skiing season

Austria is getting ready for a Covid-safe skiing season

Authorities have launched a comprehensive package of measures to ensure the safest environment for winter sports

Today, the Federal Executive Council in Austria laid out the COVID-19 rules and guidelines for the winter sporting season. The rules will come into effect on 15 November and make broad use of the 3-G rule, as well as FFP2 masks in certain areas. There will be no capacity restrictions with the notable exception of apres-ski – the activities and entertainment following a day of skiing.

Season passes with a 3-G certificate

The 3-G certificate is Austria and Germany’s version of a Covid-pass. The Gs stand for the German geimpft (vaccinated), genesen (recovered) and getestet (tested).

All skiing areas will require visitors to present their certificate, however, instead of having to check it on the queue of every lift, authorities will verify it during ticket purchases. Consequently, season tickets will only be active for as long as the respective 3-G certificate is active.

Currently, there are no plans to limit the number of passengers on lifts and gondolas, however, people will have to wear an FFP2 mask when on them, especially in the covered ones.

The 3-G rule applies to apres-ski as well, though the Tourism Minister, Elisabeth Köstinger, explained that authorities are treating it as restaurant activity. This means that any restaurant guidelines could apply to after-ski activities, like clubs, huts and tea-houses.  

The government also issued guidelines for Christmas markets as part of winter sports. They are available to everyone with a valid 3-G certificate. Instead of checking it on every individual stall, markets should have checkpoints.

Built with flexibility in mind

The government presented a step by step plan in the unfortunate event the pandemic starts getting out of hand. The additional restrictions that come into effect are linked to the number of available intensive care beds. It also allows for municipalities to institute further restrictive measures.

For example, the plan regulates which 3-G certificate is valid and for how long. So, if there is an increase in infectious rates, the ‘tested’ option will become unavailable. At the same time, apres-ski could have stricter rules, like curfews, capacity curbs and so on.   

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