Austria to Open Borders to All Neighbors – Except Italy

Starting on June 4, Austria will open the borders to Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czechia and Hungary. Travelers from these countries won’t need to go into quarantine or present a negative COVID-19 test result.

Update: On June 16, 2020, Austrian opened its borders to 31 European countries in total, including neighboring Italy. Restrictions for travelers from or trips to regions with higher cases numbers within some of these countries are still in place.

The Austrian government announced Wednesday that borders with all neighboring states except Italy would be open as of tomorrow, Thursday, June 4, 2020. This means all COVID-19 preventative health and border measures will be halted for travelers coming into Austria from these countries. “The figures do not yet permit travel with Italy,” said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP).

For travelers coming from Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czechia and Hungary, pre-pandemic border policies will be put back into place. There will no longer be quarantine or testing requirements when entering or leaving Austria. However, each country will have its own regulations for incoming travelers.

For travelers going to and coming from Italy, COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, but will be evaluated again next week. Minister Schallenberg said that the situation in Italy has improved significantly and that individual regions – for example South Tyrol – have manageable numbers of COVID-19 cases. The provincial government in Bolzano suggested to Rome that opening up individual Italian regions to Austria and other neighbors first could be possible, and this is being “taken very seriously,” according to Schallenberg. The aim is “to open up to Italy as soon as the number [coronavirus] cases allows it.”

Health & Holidays

“The coronavirus does not take holidays,” cautioned Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens). Nevertheless, Austria and its neighbors have made “great progress,” he said, concluding that further steps towards opening up are anticipated soon.

Still, Italy’s coronavirus cases vary greatly from region to region and the “virological situation” is not without threats despite the progress made. The intention is now to examine and continuously evaluate regional differences. A rapid opening is the goal, but in a responsible manner.

Personal responsibility

“We appeal to [each and everyone’s sense of] personal responsibility,” said Minister Schallenberg. Anyone who wants to go abroad must prepare and take precautions. “Who will I come into contact with? And how do I get back?” should be questions people should consider. Common sense, said Schallenberg, is the best protection for travelers. The Foreign Minister also underlined that full freedom of travel is the goal as soon as possible.

Benjamin Wolf
Benjamin studied Journalism, History and International Affairs. After stints with Cafébabel in Paris and Arte in Strasbourg, he is now working as managing editor and COO for Metropole in Vienna. Fields of expertise are politics, economics, culture, and history.Photo: Visual Hub

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