Travel News

Austria Returns to a Covid-19 Lockdown with Mandatory Vaccinations to Follow

Written by Charlie

Austria has returned to a Covid-19 lockdown for all their residents. These rules are in effect now and will follow with mandatory vaccination for all residents.

As we approach the 2 year mark of Covid-19, Austria today returned to a nationwide lockdown for at least the next 20 days. This is a big blow to the country that gets a boost from tourism around the Christmas holiday season. Will other European countries follow?

Austria’s New Lockdown and Mandatory Vaccinations

Anyone that has spent time in Europe during non-summer tourism time likely knows a little bit about the lockdowns that have come and gone. We have gone through three separate lockdowns in Greece but at present only have increased restrictions on anyone not vaccinated (basically, unvaccinated can only enter grocery stores, places that sell food, and churches).

New Lockdown Rules

But, Austria has re-entered into the state of lockdown today, November 22. The plan is to keep it in place for all residents until December 13 at which point the restrictions are scheduled to end for the vaccinated. That date could get pushed out further if their numbers do not drop.  For the unvaccinated, those restrictions are set to continue past that date.

During this period, all nonessential businesses will be closed. There are exceptions for people to go out, for things like exercise, walking a pet, going to an office, or to supermarkets. Christmas tree shopping and skiing are also on the approved list. Police checkpoints are being established to check and make sure that people have a valid reason for going out, should they venture out. If they do not have a valid reason, fines up to €1,450 will be issued.

New Vaccination Mandate Issued

Starting February 1, Austria has mandated that all residents of the country will be required to be vaccinated. During the next few weeks, the the authorities in Vienna will start sending out appointment notices to those unvaccinated (the country has a detailed vaccination database to track all of the vaccinations in the country) residents. Anyone that does not show up to their appointment will be fined up to €3,600. Over the weekend, the government also made it clear that if these individuals do not pay or are unable to pay the fines, jail time will be used.

So, if you had plans to visit Austria in the next few weeks, I would certainly rethink that! Sure, there are some beautiful hotels but you really do not want to spend your time in Austria in a hotel. Keep an eye on the US Embassy site in Vienna for more information.

Other European Nations to Follow?

There is already some noise that Germany may follow suit. Other countries in Europe are in phases of restrictions just behind where Austria was before they enforced the new lockdown. Also, while Austria has the lowest vaccination rate in Europe, there are other countries or regions of countries with similarly low-ish rates. So, which country will be next to enforce a new lockdown?

Before this lockdown in Austria, it was similar to how it is in Greece – no cafes, gyms, restaurants or public venues of any kind for people unvaccinated. Even going to work requires two tests per week. These are the same restrictions that are currently in place for Greece as they say they are trying to “save Christmas” this year with the new rules.

The authorities keep saying they have ruled out a nationwide lockdown again but with numbers climbing weekly and deaths and hospital rates also inching upward, many already think that it is inevitable that a new lockdown will come. The government sites the intense strain on the economy as the reason for avoiding the lockdown but many sections of the economy are already hurting from the restrictions already.

With schools getting breaks in less than a month and travel picking up a lot as we get closer to Christmas, I think we may see more restrictions or cancellations of events throughout Europe. We may even see many places, likely regions in countries instead of whole countries, go into a short lockdown after the first of the year.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.