Last year, skiing vacations in Austria were almost impossible: foreign tourists were banned from accommodation and quarantined, among other things, making a day trip impossible. In the coming winter season 2021/22, however, things are to be quite different: Austria is planning to open up in line with the 3G rule.
Skiing in Austria with 3G Rule on the Slopes
In the 2021/22 ski season, the 3G rule (Getestet, Geimpft, Genesen) will apply on Austria's slopes. This means that cable car operators may only transport those who have been vaccinated, tested, or recovered. In addition, an FFP2 mask must be worn on ski lifts. Distance rules and capacity restrictions will no longer apply this year. In restaurants and hotels, a 3G certificate must also be presented.
Due to the 3-step plan set by the Austrian government, these rules may be tightened if the utilization of intensive care beds in the country increases. Unvaccinated skiers in particular must then expect restrictions: Stage 1 takes effect from 200 occupied intensive care beds and has therefore already been in force since September 15. Among other things, it stipulates that antigen tests are only valid for 24 hours. As soon as 300 intensive care beds are occupied, self-administered antigen tests will no longer be accepted in cable cars, restaurants and hotels. In addition, unvaccinated people will then no longer be allowed to visit après-ski venues, as Austrian Health Minister Wolfgang Mückenstein has explained. Not even with a negative test result.
From stage 3 onwards, i.e. with an intensive occupancy rate of 400 beds, only negative PCR tests will suffice as test evidence. If the situation worsens, there is also the possibility that a 2G rule will be introduced in some areas. Then only vaccinated and recovered persons would be allowed.
So far, it is still unclear how the 3G rule will be controlled at the cable cars without causing major delays and queuing. According to the Ministry of Tourism, online sales of lift tickets could be linked to one’s Corona status.
Regarding Christmas markets, they will be held again during the Advent period and may thus be a pleasant part of skiing vacations. Visitors to the markets must present a health pass (according to the 3G rule). If phase 2 of the measures to combat the coronavirus epidemic were to come into force, the antigen self-tests will no longer be considered sufficient. In phase 3, only PCR tests will be recognized as valid.
Skiing vacations in Austria 2021/22: The 3-stage plan at a glance:
Stage 1 (from 200 occupied intensive care beds): antigen tests only valid for 24 hours.
Stage 2 (from 300 occupied intensive care beds): self-administered antigen tests for 3G no longer valid. No more visits to après-ski venues for the unvaccinated.
Stage 3 (from 400 occupied intensive care beds): access only for the vaccinated and convalescents. Unvaccinated require PCR test. Expansion of 2G rule to other areas possible.