More and more states are becoming high-risk areas again. Does the ski vacation have to be canceled?
Basically, more is possible for vaccinated and convalescent people than for unvaccinated people – including children. This can be seen on the return trip to Germany. Anyone who comes from a high-risk area, including the Alpine countries Austria, Switzerland and France as well as all neighboring countries of Germany except Luxembourg, must be in quarantine, unless recovery or double vaccination can be proven.
The quarantine lasts ten days, but can be shortened by a test from the fifth day. It is always five days long for children under the age of twelve. For families who are planning to ski until the end of the holiday, this means that their children are not allowed to go to school directly, but have to separate themselves. That is why customers are already canceling trips.
Travel anyway? What can visitors to Austria expect on site?
Gastronomy, hotels and cable cars are open, nationwide exit restrictions have ended. Evidence of vaccination and recovery is required for entry, with the exception of children. A PCR test or a booster test is required. Vaccination certificates are only recognized if the second appointment was a maximum of 270 days ago or if a booster took place. Single vaccinations with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are only accepted until January 3, 2022.
An FFP2 mask is required in indoor public spaces and in cable cars, as well as in restaurants on the way to the square and in generally accessible hotel areas. Après-ski is prohibited, curfew is at 11 p.m. So far there has been no rush of guests, but those responsible express optimism and speak of increasing demand for New Year’s Eve.
Great Britain is virus variant territory. Is it possible to travel there?
On the way there, visitors must take an antigen or PCR test on the second day after entry and remain in quarantine until the result is available. The big hurdle follows on the way back: You need a negative test, and everyone – including those who have been vaccinated – is required to quarantine for two weeks, which cannot be shortened. The travel industry on the island complains that the season before Christmas and over the New Year was practically destroyed by the steep increase in the number of infections and new restrictions. According to the Tourism Alliance, there was a deep slump in December. 58 percent of the companies reported a cancellation rate of at least a quarter.
What do I have to consider when traveling home?
All returnees must be able to prove their vaccination, recovery or a negative test, a negative test is mandatory when returning from variant areas. For flights abroad, proof must be presented before boarding – usually at check-in. Returnees from high-risk and variant areas must also register their entry digitally. Violations are considered administrative offenses, which are punished with fines if discovered.
Are there any further requirements?
This is what the health ministers of the federal states demand from the federal government. A PCR test should be compulsory for people returning from variant areas, a rapid test should no longer suffice. The Robert Koch Institute recommends stricter rules for long-distance flights from variant areas – such as South Africa – than for short flights.
Do Germans still want to travel at all at the moment?
According to a Yougov poll, one in five plans to leave for Christmas. This also includes visits to grandparents and friends. According to figures from tourism market researcher TDA, holiday bookings at the end of October were 31 percent below the level reached at the same time in 2019. And in November the gap to travel normality should have grown. From the point of view of market researchers, the holiday industry may well be facing “difficult winter months” again.
What applies domestically?
In no federal state is it currently possible to take a vacation without restrictions, in hotels and restaurants mostly 2-G rules apply, vaccinated and convalescent people are allowed to come. There are differences in the details. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, for example, requires vaccinated holidaymakers to submit a test on arrival and then every three days, provided they have not yet received a booster vaccination. During the holidays, Baden-Württemberg suspends the rule that evidence of regular tests at school is sufficient for children. In Bavaria and Thuringia, bars close at 10 p.m. The Federal Tourism Competence Center offers an overview of the country rules at tourismus-wegweiser.de.
The hotel and restaurant association Dehoga is sounding the alarm because of the variety of rules. “With 2 G, sales in our restaurants and hotels have already collapsed by more than half,” says President Guido Zöllick. Closure hours and regional lockdowns led to additional losses in sales. Politicians demand planning security and “adequate compensation”.
Are there also bans on accommodation?
These apply until January 9th in Saxony for “all forms of accommodation for the purpose of private pleasure”. Business trips, visits to relatives at Christmas or to funerals are allowed under 3G rules. Bavaria holidaymakers also have to remain vigilant. In some circles, bans come back into effect if the 7-day incidence rises again above 1000. On Monday, Coburg had the highest value with 705.