“The winter is long. We are only at the beginning. If we could start in mid-January, there would be a lot more ahead of us, ”says Ernst Schöpf, Mayor of Sölden and President of the Tyrolean Association of Municipalities, in the Tyrolean daily newspaper. More than 70 percent of the countries of origin of the Tyrolean winter guests are currently occupied with travel warnings. “Not all hoteliers have the longing to unlock,” says Schöpf. And he should know what he is talking about: Sölden is one of the communities with the most overnight stays in Austria, a slim two million in one winter.
Salzburg’s governor Wilfried Haslauer said a few days ago that the hotels would open again on December 20, but there is currently nothing to suggest.
Hotel business Above all, hotels need to be able to plan: not only do guest bookings have a lead time, but also the hiring of staff. Here, too, it is questionable whether the many foreign seasonal workers from their home countries are even allowed to travel to Austria.
The government wants to present a timetable this week for the opening of the hotels in order to guarantee this planning. Since Austria’s infection rate is far from lifting travel warnings, despite tough lockdowns, insiders do not expect hotels and tourism to open until 2021. The worst thing that could happen to tourism companies would be a third wave in the middle of the season, says Scoop.
Ski lifts The opening of lift operations is independent of this. According to reports, the ski areas should be allowed to open to day visitors. The Austrians should be able to do sports and exercise outdoors during the Christmas holidays.
In all areas that are currently restricted or closed, the opening steps will be very tentative. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz definitely wants to avoid a third lockdown. Since vaccinating large parts of the population will take months, months will have to be held out.
What is certain is that on Monday, December 7th, retail and schools will be allowed to reopen – but subject to conditions.
School opening Plans are also being rolled out for the school – all variants, from full opening to an extension of home schooling and distance learning – are in the drawer. Depending on how the infection develops by Wednesday or Monday in a week, the plans are then implemented. The Ministry of Education emphasizes that for better planning of the education sector with its 1.1 million students, 125,000 teachers and 5,500 schools, the marching orders for everyone will be determined on Wednesday.
It is currently likely that the school will open, at least for children from 6 to 14 years of age, albeit under strict hygiene regulations. Optionally, there are regulations to “thin out” school operations, the aim is to reduce the number of contacts: For example, staggered opening and lesson times or the possibility of holding lessons in non-school buildings (empty event rooms to empty bars).
gastronomy The government wants to announce the timetable for gastronomy on Wednesday. One of the variants is that the restaurants have to close in the evening. It is ruled out that bars and discos open.
Exit restrictions Individual exit restrictions will also continue to apply. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has already indicated this several times. The thrust should be: Christmas celebrations should be possible, but only in the immediate family circle.
Christmas markets In Innsbruck, which has not given up hope for Christmas markets until the end, they have now apparently lost them. “As far as the Christmas markets are concerned, we hear from Vienna that it will probably not be possible,” says VP Vice Mayor Johannes Anzengruber. If the regulations go in this direction, “there will definitely be no Christmas markets this year”.
trade When retail opens, at least the reasons for leaving the apartment have to be adapted. Because “buying gifts” does not fall under “essential errands”. There could be strict requirements for trade, for example to avoid crowds in shops and shopping centers.
On Monday it was said on Ballhausplatz that the government was in permanent talks about the opening steps. The provincial governors – this time also the Social Democrats – have moved in. A video conference was held on Monday by the Chancellor, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober and all nine heads of state. It was also about the mass tests. “The mood was perfect, very constructive and without any arguments,” the KURIER was reported.