Czech commuters must now show a negative COVID test at the Austrian border

Austria is tightening its rules at the border ahead of a slight easing of some domestic restrictions.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 02.02.2021 14:57 (updated on 02.02.2021)

Austria has tightened some of its anti-coronavirus rules, and eliminated an exception for commuters.

Czech cross-border workers commuting to Austria will have to register online in advance and provide a negative antigen or PCR test for COVID-19 once a week, Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer announced at a press conference. The test can be no more than seven days old.

People will need to take proof of registration with them, either in printed or electronic form.

Exceptions to this obligation to register in advance include people who are only transiting through Austria or people who travel to Austria for urgent family matters, such as a funeral.

The Austrian government also announced that a 10-day coronavirus quarantine is required for arrivals to Austria. It can no longer be ended by a negative PCR test after five days as it used to be.

Nehammer said the Czech Republic in particular has very high numbers of new infections.

The Austrian Ministry of Health is working on a new regulation that will spell out out how border controls will be carried out, Nehammer said. Almost 3 million border checks have taken place since Dec. 19, 2020.

Nehammer also said checks by police and health officials in Austrian ski resorts will be increased following the discovery of scores of foreign visitors in illegally booked accommodations. In ski resort village of St. Anton alone, almost 100 reports were filed over the weekend.

The fine for not keeping proper distance will increase to EUR 90 from the previous EUR 25 or 50. Ski lift operators are responsible for ensuring a mask and distance are observed. The police could help with this, for example by making sure “that not everyone arrives at the parking lot at the same time, and that the traffic jam starts at the valley station,” Nehammer said.

The toughened border regulations and ski area checks come ahead of a general loosening of anti-COVID rules that will occur on Feb. 8 in Austria. Schools, museums, and shops, which closed Dec. 26, are set to reopen but customers and visitors will have to wear medical-grade face masks.

Students will face frequent coronavirus testing. Customers for hairdressers and beauticians will have to show proof of a negative coronavirus test.

Meetings of people from more than two households will once again be allowed but authorities urge people to keep contacts to a minimum.